The Cumberland Post

The Cumberland Post
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Podhoretz on Sarah Palin and Class Bias

Norman Podhoretz is a member of the Hudson Institute and Editor at Large of Commentary magazine. In his most recent article in the Wall Street Journal, he analyzes public reaction to Sarah Palin, particularly that from conservative intellectuals.

Podhoretz says that what conservative intellectuals say today reminds him a lot of what they said about Ronald Reagan before he became President. They referred to him as this "'airhead,' this B movie star who was not only stupid but incompetent." The values and beliefs Reagan had were similar to their own but he embarrassed them with the primitive way he articulated these views.  The conservative intellectuals believed Reagan's primitivism further undermined the credibility of those values and beliefs.

Podhoretz doesn't claim that Palin is the next Reagan and he doesn't say that she "would necessarily make a great president but that the criteria by which she is being judged by her conservative critics—never mind the deranged hatred she inspires on the left—tell us next to nothing about the kind of president she would make."

He says,
What she does know—and in this respect, she does resemble Reagan—is that the United States has been a force for good in the world, which is more than Barack Obama, whose IQ is no doubt higher than hers, has yet to learn. Jimmy Carter also has a high IQ, which did not prevent him from becoming one of the worst presidents in American history, and so does Bill Clinton, which did not prevent him from befouling the presidential nest.
Podhoretz analyzes the hatred that liberals feel toward Palin and says it is a continuation of their animosity toward Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush and
It was a hatred that had less to do with differences over policy than with the conviction that these men were usurpers who, by mobilizing all the most retrograde elements of American society, had stolen the country from its rightful (liberal) rulers. But to a much greater extent than Nixon, Reagan and George W. Bush, Sarah Palin is in her very being the embodiment of those retrograde forces and therefore potentially even more dangerous.
Podhoretz points out that many conservative intellectuals while not taking their dislike of Palin to this liberal extreme, do make essentially the same argument against her. And that argument, he "reluctantly" has to admit, is based on "class bias." 

Barack Obama's intellect and his oratorical skills actually appealed to some conservative intellectuals, among them Christopher Buckley, William Buckley's son, who gave Obama his endorsement.
But Podhoretz says,
As for me, after more than a year of seeing how those "prodigious oratorical and intellectual gifts" have worked themselves out in action, I remain more convinced than ever of the soundness of Buckley's quip[that he would rather be ruled by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than by the combined faculties of Harvard and MIT], in the spirit of which I hereby declare that I would rather be ruled by the Tea Party than by the Democratic Party, and I would rather have Sarah Palin sitting in the Oval Office than Barack Obama.
Whatever your views of Sarah Palin, you have to admit that she is a force to be reckoned with. And if you're like me, one who hasn't yet made up his mind about her, you should read this entire article. Part of Palin's appeal to me personally is that she is not from some wealthy prestigious family and she did not attend an elite university. Let's face it. She's more like the rest of us whose families were low or middle class and who, if we got the chance to go to college, had to work our way through at a state university. This article made me feel much more comfortable with the possibility that she might be the standard bearer in 2012 or 2016.

1 comment:

  1. If there were a liberal version of Palin, the MSM would be singing her praises all day long.