Where’s the Gratitude, Sarah?

One of the most amusing tropes of the past few weeks in relation to the release of Sarah Palin’s book has been the notion that, among everything else that is wrong and terrible about her, Palin should be ashamed of herself for her ingratitude. After all, she was plucked from obscurity and made world famous, and yet she has the nerve in the course of her book to take shots at those she feels didn’t do well by her during the election campaign last year. Evidently, it seems, Palin should have been grateful to “the McCain campaign” for “the McCain campaign’s” supposed kindness toward her. Michiko Kakutani, on the New York Times website this morning, offers the most complete rendition of this:

The most sustained and vehement barbs in this book are directed not at Democrats or liberals or the press, but at the McCain campaign. The very campaign that plucked her out of Alaska, anointed her the Republican vice-presidential nominee and made her one of the most talked about women on the planet — someone who could command a reported $5 million for writing this book. … [She is] thoroughly ungrateful toward the McCain campaign for putting her on the national stage.

The thing is, the “McCain campaign” is not a person; it was a bureaucratic organization, and an uncommonly confused and dysfunctional one at that. Perhaps the greatest mark of that dysfunction was the stream of unnamed McCain advisers who went out of their way to criticize Palin in remarks they were too cowardly to deliver for attribution. It was, to say the least, highly peculiar for them to have acted as they did. The only conceivable defense for it was that some of them might have been working to protect John McCain’s reputation by somehow downgrading Palin by comparison; but of course, political advisers to Republican campaigns do not talk to reporters on background for such selfless reasons. They do so to hedge their own bets, to maintain relationships they want to last after the campaign is over. The best way to do that is to reflect the same cultural and theoretical priorities as the journalists to whom they speak, as a means of distancing themselves from the dysfunction and receiving kind post-mortem treatment.

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Where’s the Gratitude, Sarah?

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