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Camille Paglia Weighs In

Camille Paglia writes the definitive summation on the Sarah Palin 2012 story (after dissecting Bill Ayers and his fellow terrorist wife):

Given that Obama had served on a Chicago board with Ayers and approved funding of a leftist educational project sponsored by Ayers, one might think that the unrepentant Ayers-Dohrn couple might be of some interest to the national media. But no, reporters have been too busy playing mini-badminton with every random spitball about Sarah Palin, who has been subjected to an atrocious and at times delusional level of defamation merely because she has the temerity to hold pro-life views.

How dare Palin not embrace abortion as the ultimate civilized ideal of modern culture? How tacky that she speaks in a vivacious regional accent indistinguishable from that of Western Canada! How risible that she graduated from the State University of Idaho and not one of those plush, pampered commodes of received opinion whose graduates, in their rush to believe the worst about her, have demonstrated that, when it comes to sifting evidence, they don’t know their asses from their elbows.

Liberal Democrats are going to wake up from their sadomasochistic, anti-Palin orgy with a very big hangover. The evil genie released during this sorry episode will not so easily go back into its bottle. A shocking level of irrational emotionalism and at times infantile rage was exposed at the heart of current Democratic ideology — contradicting Democratic core principles of compassion, tolerance and independent thought. One would have to look back to the Eisenhower 1950s for parallels to this grotesque lock-step parade of bourgeois provincialism, shallow groupthink and blind prejudice.

. . .

As for the Democrats who sneered and howled that Palin was unprepared to be a vice-presidential nominee — what navel-gazing hypocrisy! What protests were raised in the party or mainstream media when John Edwards, with vastly less political experience than Palin, got John Kerry’s nod for veep four years ago? And Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, for whom I lobbied to be Obama’s pick and who was on everyone’s short list for months, has a record indistinguishable from Palin’s. Whatever knowledge deficit Palin has about the federal bureaucracy or international affairs (outside the normal purview of governors) will hopefully be remedied during the next eight years of the Obama presidencies.

The fact that a week after the election the chattering class is still arguing, debating and mulling over Palin says something. I don’t dispute that the “something” includes an element of boredom — oh, how to fill the gap left by resolution of the political horserace! Some of the “something” is the never ending culture war and the media bias dilemma which rivets the attention of conservatives (perhaps unwisely, to the exclusion of more central issues). But ultimately it does boil down to personality and intrigue. Is she smart or dim, a flash in the pan or the next star, the last of the old guard or the first of the new?

We don’t know and those who claim to (without any first-hand interaction with her) clearly have an agenda. But love her or hate her, the Palin habit is a hard one to break. Eventually she will recede into the political landscape, especially once the new administration ramps up. But the entire episode is a reminder — as if any were really needed in the year of Obama — that with the appearance of a single individual, political fortunes can rise and fall. And you have to stay until the end to find out how it all comes out.


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