Friday, November 20, 2009
Who Ya Got?
A couple of humorous dueling quotes as the week of the Sarah Palin media assault hopefully draws to a close. First up, from Christopher Hitchens in his Newsweek cover story:
"The Palin problem, then, might be that she cynically incites a crowd that she has no real intention of pleasing. If she were ever to get herself to the nation's capital, the teabaggers would be just as much on the outside as they are now, and would simply have been the instruments that helped get her elected. In my own not-all-that-humble opinion, duping the hicks is a degree or two worse than condescending to them.
This is not a small matter for the Republican Party. (And again: it was senior Republican operatives, and not jeering liberals, who told my Vanity Fair colleague Todd Purdum about the hectic atmosphere, of hysteria and collapsing scenery, that accompanied their lame attempt to present Sarah Palin as plausible during the last campaign.) The United States has to stand or fall by being the preeminent nation of science, modernity, technology, and higher education. Some of these needful phenomena, for historical reasons, will just happen to concentrate in big cities and in secular institutions and even—yes—on the dreaded East Coast. Modernity can be wrenching, as indeed can capitalism, and there will always be 'out' groups who feel themselves disrespected or left behind. The task and duty of a serious politician, as Edmund Burke emphasized so well, is to reason with such people and not to act as their megaphone or ventriloquist. Sarah Palin appears to have no testable core conviction except the belief (which none of her defenders denies that she holds, or at least has held and not yet repudiated) that the end of days and the Second Coming will occur in her lifetime. This completes the already strong case for allowing her to pass the rest of her natural life span as a private citizen."
And Palin's response to such criticism -- any criticism really, as from what I've read of her book (and no, I didn't pay for it), much of it, not surprisingly, is about settling petty personal vendettas:
"These are probably some lonely people, some shallow people who want to take a shot like that and we need to pray for these people."