She was the first female governor of her state; she was the second ever female vice presidential nominee; she’s a working mother; she does the best she can to raise five children, including one with Down Syndrome, and graciously suffered through a daughter giving birth to a bastard child; she spoke out lustily against the politically incorrect use of the slang term “retard.” Superficially, Sarah Palin is the kind of gal the Left would fall over itself to support – if only she would agree that dismembering a fetus in the womb is constitutional. And if only she would sign off on gay marriage. And if only she weren’t so dumb. Right? Isn’t it that simple?
For an ideology that claims free expression is its cornerstone, liberalism sure does react badly when confronted with the knowledge there are people who think differently than it does. In the majority of cases, when someone disagrees with the Left, it is enough for liberals to say that so-and-so is a dope, a racist, a sexist, a reactionary, and all the rest. But it is something different with Palin – why? If Sarah Palin is so harmless, why does the Left obsess over her?
The cookie cutter explanation is that she is too dumb to take seriously, and they are distressed that so many people do. Those making this point would be hard pressed to distinguish between Palin’s slip-ups and, say, Joe Biden’s numerous missteps. Or Barack Obama, who did once say there are 57 states, pronounced “corpsman” as “corpse-man,” said Israel would continue being a strong ally under a McCain administration, said 10,000 people died in a Kansas tornado where 12 had died, and who just this week partially blamed ATM machines for Americans not being able to find jobs. So it cannot be just that Palin sometimes comes off harebrained, because everyone does sooner or later.
Palin Derangement Syndrome – the popular name given to the angry, sputtering rage that overtakes so many liberals when it comes to Palin – exists, and McCain Derangement Syndrome doesn’t. Once you understand why, you’ve basically solved the mystery of the Left versus Sarah Palin. Liberals will not bother themselves with a man who cares what they think of him, especially if the man agrees with them a lot of the time. Thus no one is (or was) deranged when it came to McCain; he was just another feckless obstacle to get around.
But John McCain chose Sarah Palin because he needed desperately to impress conservatives, and because she in many ways neutralized Obama. You could not say that Palin was unqualified for high office without admitting Obama was, as well; you could not praise Obama as a young, attractive, enthusiastic candidate while ignoring the fact Palin was younger, just as attractive, and just as enthusiastic.
To the degree Palin fostered the same feelings in much of the Right as Obama did in much of the Left, and to the degree she posed a real threat to Obama’s march to the presidency, liberals never forgave her. And because those feelings for Palin have mostly remained while Obama has squandered so much goodwill, the Left continues to view her as a threat.
This is why, when a Lefty nut shot Gabrielle Giffords, liberals seized upon her congressional district maps with pictures of crosshairs on them (ignoring Democratic examples of the same). This is why media outlets spent a fortune sending reporters to Juneau, Alaska in hopes of uncovering something politically fatal in the 24,000 emails released from her administration. This is why the conspiracy theory over who gave birth to her youngest child still exists.
These (and so many others) are not the actions of a movement that believes Sarah Palin is a non-event. They are the actions of a movement that believes she is so dangerous that she must be neutralized, whatever the cost. Ultimately, that fact speaks of her worth to conservatism.