The Left v. Sarah Palin

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.

Author Bio:

Brian S. Wise used to be the lead columnist at and a fairly well known pundit; now he’s just some dude. He has cool ideas for books and columns, but hardly ever stays out of bed long enough to get started on any of them. He is available via email at and via The Twitter at @BrianSWise
  • hope

    I think the chance that Sarah Palin would be elected President is small, but the fact that the chance does exist, is enough to scare the liberals.

    I think liberals beat up their opponents to the extent they need to in order to destroy them. So, less strong candidates like McCain and others don’t get beat up as much, because it doesn’t take as much to bring them down. It takes a greater degree of effort to knock down Palin, and so they have to work at it that much harder. And they do.

    I think you are spot on about your point that Palin commited the one unforgiveable sin: she beat Obama in the polls (destroying his moment of glory after his convention speech in the process).

    I think she would be a good President. I like her leadership style. In an ideal world, she would have stayed on as Governor for 2 terms, became a Senator, then Secretary of Defense, and then VP and then ran for President…but this is far from an ideal world.

  • John Scotus

    If Palin had murdered her unborn child, she would now be a hero to those on the left, but she didn’t. Her life holds up their own rhetoric as a lie, and they can’t stand that.

  • Farmrdave

    I may be part of the hardcore Rightwing. I feel that in matters of personal freedom there is no middle ground, that there is right and wrong and a little bit of wrong is completely wrong. I am happy that Sarah Palin is gathering so much support at the expense of the left. I have a google alert set for her and receive maybe a dozen damning articles aimed at her each day. What a path for achieving notoriety. I am not claiming that she is a presidential candidate. Do you know of any candidate for Prez that was so thoroughly vetted by the media and no charge? I think it is wonderful that she is “allowing” the libs to pay for her exploits. They are giving to her notoriety, when she comes to my area to speak I am willing to pay to listen :) Then I learn from her directly that she is much more intelligent than I have been led to believe.
    About killing unborn people….it is not different than killing after birth people, (no pun intended). Gay Marriage? There is no such thing. Marriage, “A union between a man and a woman”. I feel sorry for those persons who are gay and wish be married because it must be that one of them wishes to be of the opposite sex. I am sure there is a different type of union that would be acceptable to all that would allow those persons who are gay the same rights as married persons. I do not think anyone has a serious problem with recognizing gay couples as family units, only do not call it marriage.
    Back to Sarah Palin. I am glad she is campaigning for civil rights and human rights all on her own. Reminds me of Martin Luther King. Neither of them running for office. Both of them traveling around the country addressing serious problems in our Republic and attempting to fix it. I did not imagine the far reaching effects of Kings speakings. Only future history will tell if Palin will be remembered.

  • JohnInMA

    Anyone who believes Palin can win the national election is not thinking, just being emotional. I’m with Bernie and others who, using rational thought, see her problems outweigh what makes her an attractive candidate. You don’t have to “hate” her to arrive at such a conclusion.

    Adding to Mr. Wise’s opinion, I don’t think the left fears that she will be successful as a candidate necessarily. They fear that she will stay in the spotlight in any context, demonstrating the viability of a world view that is nearly in complete opposition to the progressive, feminist view.

  • Rick Patel

    Banal Bernie & Blustering Buffoon BillO are FOX’s designated Sarah-bashers, along with Rove & Krauthammer. Shake them up in a sack with David Corn & Chris Matthews, and you couldn’t recognize who crawled out first.

  • Paul

    Good article. Spot on.

    Now if you could please go kick Mr. Goldberg in the a$$ and tell him to get on board with Palin. She will be the nominee for the GOP, no one else out there can get the base excited to beat Obama like she can.

    All conservatives have to wake up to this and get their arms around it.

    Palin’12 – Believe it

  • gah

    Good column Mr. Wise. Now, if you can get Godberg to read it, you may help him get over his severe case of PDS.

    Among 0bama’s multitude of gaffs you could throw in his recent mangling of the history of the Statue of Liberty where he spoke from a prepared speech no less, and credited Emma Lazerus with raising money to build the statue, completely missing the fact that the statue was a gift from France. If Palin had said that, the media would have feasted upon it for weeks.

    Palin knows that in order for her to make a successful run for the nomination, she must neutralize the media. To that end she has adopted Mohammed Ali’s “rope a dope.” She gets them to chase her all over the East Coast, and forces them to fly to Alaska for her emails, knowing full well that there was nothing in them. The media has, over the last 3 years, helped her by totally discrediting themselves.

    It will be fun to watch them chase her through IA and SC when she resumes her bus trip in the coming weeks. She is also going to Sudan and London, I’ll bet they will be chasing her there as well.

    • Ron

      Emma Lazarus did help raise funds for the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. She contributed a sonnet, “The New Colossus” to an auction to raise funds to build the pedestal. The lines of the sonnet are on a plaque on the pedestal.