Michael Gaynor
Smart Sarah Palin, yes! Catty Kathleen Parker, no!
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By Michael Gaynor
February 18, 2010

Alas, the befuddled Ms. Parker considers Mrs. Palin bedazzling, but not "rightful heir to the presidency," and will resort to literary lunacy to punish McCain for not choosing Romney and Mrs. Palin for being bedazzling and not being Romney (or at least dropping out, purportedly to do more for Trig, in favor of Romney).

Full disclosure: I wanted Mitt Romney to be the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, not John McCain. Nevertheless, I believed that McCain, despite his significant failings, was much better for America than the radical "Senator from ACORN" nominated by the Democrats. (Glenn Beck's terrifying assertion that McCain would have been worse than Obama suits Beck's purposes, but is assinine, as the differences between the running mates chosen by McCain (Sarah Palin) and Obama (Joe Biden) demonstrate.) I would have preferred Romney as McCain's running mate, especially given Romney's economic expertise and debating performances during the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. But I was pleased that McCain's chosen running mate, Mrs. Palin, was ready, willing and able to do what McCain was reluctant to do: challenge Obama's personal fitness to be president. (I think the best speech during the primary season was Romney's speech on religion and the best one during the presidential campaign was Mrs. Palin's acceptance speech.)

In 2008, experience seemed to be a liability rather than an asset. The candidate with decades of military experience (McCain) lost, and the other presidential candidate and the vice presidential candidates had none. The rookie United States Senator with no executive experience and little legislative accomplishment (and a tendency to vote "present" as an Illinois state senator) won. The candidate with the most executive experience was...Mrs. Palin. The liberal media establishment preferred not to scrutinize Obama and slime McCain and Palin.

Kathleen Parker flip flopped on Mrs. Palin so fast that John Kerry must have taken note. Mrs. Palin went from "Palin the Impaled" to "Palin the Impaler" and her resume from "impressive" to "thin" as it became obvious that Mrs. Parker really wasn't eager to have McCain/Palin win.

Ms. Parker's articles during the 2008 campaign are available at Townhall.com. They show that Ms. Parker wanted Romney so much that she foolishly undermined the McCain/Palin ticket and was blind to the reality about Obama. They also show the depths Ms. Parker was willing to plumb to try to discredit Mrs. Palin, probably for 2012 as well as 2008.

So, with CPAC 2010 to be held this week, it's not a surprise that Mrs. Parker chose to write that Mrs. Palin has been a bad mother to Trig, the child Palin chose not to abort after learning that he had Downs syndrome. Mrs. Palin's "sins"? Publicly discussing her fleeting consideration of having an abortion and not treating the uses of the word "retarded" by Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and radio commentator Rush Limbaugh as the same.

Ms. Parker and Mrs. Palin have different views about religion and Ms. Palin's willingness to espouse religious values in the public square makes Ms. Parker uncomfortable...and critical.

After Election Day 2008, in "Heresies and Other Truths" (November 19, 2008), Ms. Parker opined that "[a]rmband religion is killing the Republican Party," the Republican Party had "become increasingly beholden to an element that used to be relegated to wooden crates on street corners" and "surrendered its high ground to its lowest brows" and "the Republican Party and conservatism with it eventually will die out unless religion is returned to the privacy of one's heart where it belongs."

Ms. Parker:

"Suffice it to say, the Republican Party is largely comprised of white, married Christians. Anyone watching the two conventions last summer can't have missed the stark differences: One party was brimming with energy, youth and diversity; the other felt like an annual Depends sales meeting.

"With the exception of Miss Alaska, of course."

It's not a surprise that Ms. Parker proceeded in that article to target former Republican vice presidential candidate and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (a former Miss Alaska).

Ms. Parker:

"Even Sarah Palin has blamed Bush policies for the GOP loss. She's not entirely wrong, but she's also part of the problem. Her recent conjecture about whether to run for president in 2012 (does anyone really doubt she will?) speaks for itself:

"I'm like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is. ... And if there is an open door in (20)12 or four years later, and if it's something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door.

"Let's do pray that God shows Alaska's governor the door."

A review of the snide Ms. Parker's articles during the 2008 presidential campaign dispels any doubt that the door that Ms. Parker wants God to show Mrs. Palin is NOT the door to the White House.

That review also shows that Obama fooled Ms. Parker (as well as millions of others).

Ms. Parker, in "The Final Hours" (October 31, 2008):

"In the midst of Halloween season, there was nothing scary about That One [Note: a reference to Obama made by McCain].... The perfect choice....doesn't exist. The clear path is dappled with doubt. The telling clue is buried in the hearts of Col. Mustard, who worries about Iraq and taxes under Obama, and Miss Scarlet, who can't get past McCain's age and the winking wonderwoman of Wasilla. A friend's late-night call cast light on the undecided's milieu. She was filling out her ballot at home and had made every choice but one. The presidential ticket. 'I just can't quite bring myself to do it. I hate Sarah Palin. Help me out here.' I laughed. I refilled my glass. And why not? Life in these United States, as Reader's Digest used to say, isn't perfect, but neither is it [in] Somalia. Here's what I told her. Make two lists one of tangibles (war, taxes, health care) and one of intangibles (to be discussed) assign a value (1-5) to each, and take out your calculator. Discount race unless it really matters, in which case, shred your ballot. If McCain gets the highest score, then pray he inherited his mother's longevity gene. If Obama is your man, then otherwise vote all Republican.... Four years ago, Obama famously described his vision of America as neither liberal nor conservative, neither black, white, Latin nor Asian. 'There's the United States of America,' he said. 'We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.' Should he win on Tuesday, let's hope he meant it."

Mrs. Palin knew better, as her superb vice presidential nomination acceptance speech signified, yet Ms. Parker soon tried to drive her off the Republican ticket yet was oblivious to the reality that Obama had repeatedly lied and was really a radical intent on imposing "fundamental change" to suit ACORN, SEIU and La Raza.

Ms. Parker, in "Palin the Impaled" (September 3, 2008), seemingly welcomed Obama despite her "hardcore" position on abortion (while lauding Obama as "manly and gentlemanly").

Ms. Parker:

"A notable exception to the ugliness has been Barack Obama, who was both manly and gentlemanly in reiterating his position that candidates' families and especially their children are off-limits. Bravo. He also reminded Americans that his own mother gave birth to him when she was 18."

"Palin is everything liberals have always purported to want for women freedom to choose, opportunities for both career and family, a shot at the top ranks of American political life. With five children and an impressive resume, Palin should be Miss July in the go-girl calendar.

"There's just one hitch: She doesn't believe in abortion except to save a mother's life. That's hardcore, even for pro-life Republicans, most of whom allow for abortion in cases of rape and incest."

"While we're exhausting irony, Palin would have been excoriated as a hypocrite had she or her daughter had abortions. That would have been legitimate and, probably, deal-breaking criticism. By choosing life, the Palins acted in accordance with their public positions and were ridiculed for their honesty.

"There may yet be reasons to find Palin an unacceptable vice presidential choice, but making pro-life decisions shouldn't be among them. Her candidacy, meanwhile, has cast a bright light on the limitations of our old ideological templates.

"Should Palin and McCain prevail come November, feminism can curtsy and treat herself to a hard-earned vacation. The greatest achievement of feminism won't be that a woman reached the vice presidency, but that a woman no longer needed feminists to get there."

A week later Ms. Parker was express major concern about, not enthusiastically supporting, Ms. Palin.

Ms. Parker, in "Arugula Fatigue" (September 10, 2008):

"McCain isn't a redneck, but his running mate meets most of the criteria from the elitist's perspective. She hunts, fishes, loves driving four-wheelers, making babies and beating up the boys.

"She gets small-town America because she is small-town America. The question is, does she get the Great Big World? And can she lead it, if necessary?

"McCain seems to think so. Or does he? Whatever the case, his political judgment in selecting the Alaska governor was keen. With that singular flourish, he signaled the Republican base that he isn't a RINO (Republican In Name Only) after all. And, he co-opted the Democrats' claim to represent women's interests by picking a woman who makes feminists look like sissy-girls.

"Both a frontier woman and beauty queen, the square-jawed Palin not only neutralized the sisterhood, but she animated the brotherhood. Men are suddenly riveted as never before by the frontal lobes of the vice presidential candidates.

"Like all caricatures, the elitist and the redneck are based on partial truths, but there's enough substance to justify some of the contempt from both sides. Obama does have that little chin-lifted, smile-down-his-nose, teacher-pet look that says, 'I know better than you.' Palin does exude the kind of biblical certitude last observed in a president by the name of George W. Bush.

"It was Obama who said that small-town Americans, embittered by a lack of jobs and government accountability, 'cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.'

"A big game hunter like Palin couldn't ask for better ammo. She knows that her neighbors don't cling to guns or religion because there's nothing left on which to hang their hopes. They cling to guns to hunt and to protect their families; and they cling to religion because they believe in a power higher than themselves.

"On the other hand, another confession: Palin is so comfortable in that whompum-stompum, good ol' girl way that one really wouldn't mind catching her doodling in her journal, 'Madame Bovary, c'est moi.'"

Wikipedia: "Madame Bovary is Gustave Flaubert's...masterpiece. The story focuses on a doctor's wife, Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life."

Apparently Mrs. Palin's "biblical certitude" protects her from imagining herself to be a Madame Bovary wannabe.

In "A Time to Worry" (September 19, 2008), Ms. Parker was no longer writing about Mrs. Palin's "impressive resume." Instead, Ms. Parker was in "worry" mode. Ms. Parker professed to love both Obama and Mrs. Palin, but it's clear now that she had a crush on Obama but wanted Mrs. Palin to go home to Alaska.

Ms. Parker:

"We live in a world of emotional excess and so are left to ponder the qualifications of two relatively young, relatively inexperienced candidates even if one of them isn't running for president.

"Confession: I love Barack Obama and I love Sarah Palin both for different reasons. They both also scare me to death.

"I love Obama for his style, grace, intellect and his way with words. I want the healing power that an Obama presidency could deliver to this country.

"I love Palin for her chutzpah, courage, maverickness and her authenticity. As a woman, I want her to be fantastic. I want her to expose the fraudulence of identity politics and show the world that Woman is not just one thing.

"But my inner eye is watching. And my inner voice is saying: These are not good enough reasons.

"I worry.

"I worry that Obama isn't serious enough about terrorism and free markets. I worry about his out-of-touchness with the people who, he says, cling to guns and religion because of frustration and anger. I worry about a worldview that may have been shaped in part by a spiritual mentor who damns America in church and thinks the government invented the AIDS virus to kill blacks.

"I worry about Obama's over-intellectualizing that he will get lost in a maze of deep thoughts and fail to be decisive when necessary.

"I worry that Sarah Palin won't set foot in that maze.

"I worry that she won't intellectualize enough. I worry about her certitude and her slight offness. Whatever her charms, anyone in public office who thinks out loud about banning books might be missing some aces in her deck.

"I worry about a worldview that might have been shaped in part by a minister who believes that Alaska someday will be home to Christian renegades arriving for the Rapture.

"I do not worry about her small-town values, which are mostly Main Street's values. Or even her social conservatism, which is driving Democrats insane. Most Americans are more worried about a crumbling economy and the next terrorist attack than they are about what motivates Palin to have a baby others would abort.

"Even were Palin to become president and be in a position to fill Supreme Court openings with pro-life justices, the likelihood that Roe v. Wade would be overturned is slim. Such a dramatic shift in U.S. law would require an unlikely alignment of stars, including Senate confirmation of the nominees. Moreover, it is not clear that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito would line up with such a campaign.

"With so much to worry about, we are left with two not-great choices that, frankly, do not lend themselves to sound sleep. There is still much to know about Palin and not much time to know it. Was she the most qualified person in McCain's field of running mates?

"Clearly not. There was once a man named Mitt Romney who might have been handy to have around as the economy collapses.

Clearly, Ms. Parker's love for Romney trumped whatever positive feeling she had for Mrs. Palin.

Ms. Parker continued:

"As for Palin, thanks be to Obama. He passed on Clinton and then McCain stole the ball. In a political season of feminist angst, Palin was a rimless swish.

"In a final bit of irony, those who have attacked Palin may ensure her victory.

"Challenging Palin on her policies and her public record is legitimate.

"But when self-identified feminists call Palin a 'cutthroat Texas cheerleader stage mom(s)' and ideologically a 'hardcore pornographic centerfold spread' just to pull a few recent comments they hurt their cause and their own candidate.

"Whatever happens, we may deserve what we get. On the other hand, maybe there's still time to wise up: Obama boots Biden and taps Clinton; McCain dumps Palin and picks Romney. It's a concept."

No doubt about it: Ms. Parker loves Romney, not Palin.

In "The Palin Problem" (September 26, 2008), Ms. Parker whined that her dump Palin idea had earned her strong criticism.

Ms. Parker:

"If at one time women were considered heretical for swimming upstream against feminist orthodoxy, they now face condemnation for swimming downstream away from Sarah Palin.

"To express reservations about her qualifications to be vice president and possibly president is to risk being labeled anti-woman.

"Or, as I am guilty of charging her early critics, supporting only a certain kind of woman.

"Some of the passionately feminist critics of Palin who attacked her personally deserved some of the backlash they received. But circumstances have changed since Palin was introduced as just a hockey mom with lipstick what a difference a financial crisis makes and a more complicated picture has emerged.

"As we've seen and heard more from John McCain's running mate, it is increasingly clear that Palin is a problem. Quick study or not, she doesn't know enough about economics and foreign policy to make Americans comfortable with a President Palin should conditions warrant her promotion.

"Yes, she recently met and turned several heads of state as the United Nations General Assembly convened in New York. She was gracious, charming and disarming. Men swooned. Pakistan's president wanted to hug her. (Perhaps Osama bin Laden is dying to meet her?)

"And, yes, she has common sense, something we value. And she's had executive experience as a mayor and a governor, though of relatively small constituencies (about 6,000 and 680,000, respectively).

"Finally, Palin's narrative is fun, inspiring and all-American in that frontier way we seem to admire. When Palin first emerged as John McCain's running mate, I confess I was delighted. She was the antithesis and nemesis of the hirsute, Birkenstock-wearing sisterhood a refreshing feminist of a different order who personified the modern successful working mother.

"Palin didn't make a mess cracking the glass ceiling. She simply glided through it.

"It was fun while it lasted.

"Palin's recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

"No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I've been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I've also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.

"Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there's not much content there. Here's but one example of many from her interview with Hannity:

"'Well, there is a danger in allowing some obsessive partisanship to get into the issue that we're talking about today. And that's something that John McCain, too, his track record, proving that he can work both sides of the aisle, he can surpass the partisanship that must be surpassed to deal with an issue like this.'

"When Couric pointed to polls showing that the financial crisis had boosted Obama's numbers, Palin blustered wordily: 'I'm not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who's more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who's actually done it?'

"If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.

"If Palin were a man, we'd all be guffawing, just as we do every time Joe Biden tickles the back of his throat with his toes. But because she's a woman and the first ever on a Republican presidential ticket we are reluctant to say what is painfully true.

"What to do?

"McCain can't repudiate his choice for running mate. He not only risks the wrath of the GOP's unforgiving base, but he invites others to second-guess his executive decision-making ability. Barack Obama faces the same problem with Biden.

"Only Palin can save McCain, her party and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

"Do it for your country."

What is "painfully true" is that gullible Ms. Parker was beguiled by Obama and jealous of Mrs. Palin too.

The "Parker Plan" was rejected, and Ms. Parker responded with an exercise in self-pity titled "Speak Correctly or Build a Bigger Bunker" (October 1, 2008):

Ms. Parker:

"Allow me to introduce myself. I am a traitor and an idiot. Also, my mother should have aborted me and left me in a dumpster, but since she didn't, I should 'off' myself.

"Those are just a few nuggets randomly selected from thousands of e-mails written in response to my column suggesting that Sarah Palin is out of her league and should step down.

"Who says public discourse hasn't deteriorated?

"The fierce reaction to my column has been both bracing and enlightening. After 20 years of column writing, I'm familiar with angry mail. But the past few days have produced responses of a different order. Not just angry, but vicious and threatening.

"Some of my usual readers feel betrayed because I previously have written favorably of Palin. By changing my mind and saying so, I am viewed as a traitor to the Republican Party not a 'true' conservative."

Ms. Parker insisted that Mrs. Palin was the problem, but Ms. Parker was deluded about Obama.

Ms. Parker:

"Some of Palin's interview responses can't even be critiqued on their merits because they're so nonsensical. But even that is someone else's fault, say Palin supporters. The media make her uncomfortable.

"Or, it's the fault of those slick politicos who are overmanaging her. 'Let Sarah be Sarah' has become the latest rallying cry among my colleagues on the right. She'll be fine if we just leave her alone, they say. Between prayers, I might add."

Then Mrs. Palin debated Joe Biden and even Ms. Parker admitted that "the wonderwoman from Wasilla" did wonderfully.

Ms. Parker, in "Sarah Palin's Bridge to Somewhere" (October 4, 2008):

"What did they do with the other Sarah Palin?

"I mean the one who bases foreign policy experience on the proximity of Russia to Alaska and who speaks cutely about Vladimir Putin poking his little head into American airspace. Where did they put her?

"The Palin who performed so miserably in one-on-one media interviews was nowhere to be seen during Thursday night's debate with Joe Biden. Instead, the affable, tough, determined pit-bull-hockey mom presented to the GOP convention was back with a jaw-jutting, happy-warrior vengeance.

"So, yes, I am relieved. I had been concerned that she would stumble badly and humiliate herself. No fair-minded person wanted that. In fact, she managed to control the debate in many respects by bridging from the question asked to the talking point she wanted to hammer."

Ms. Parker does not like Mrs. Palin's style though.

"She was often too cute by half winking and gosh-darning her way through the debate but she did what she needed to do. Among other things, she declared a populist war of Us vs. Them everyday, honest, hardworking Americans against Wall Street, greed, corrupt politicians, liberals and, of course, the media.

"Poor Gwen Ifill was irrelevant a second-tier actor in Palin's morality play. Over and over, Palin skipped past Ifill, as well as Biden, to speak directly to the American people. I am one of you, she told them. And these people Democrats and the media are neither of us, nor for us.

"And she said it in the nicest, gosh-darn way, bless her little heart. The GOP loved it, but did anyone else? Did Palin change hearts and minds? Probably not. My suspicion, bolstered by early polls, is that people left the debate with their original impressions intact.

"To Democrats, she's still a dangerous lightweight, though possibly more so than they suspected because she is also a charming and effective manipulator. To Republicans, she's a bright light, a change agent, a reformer and a maverick who identifies with real people around the kitchen table.

"With the very first question about the bailout bill was this the worst of Washington or the best of Washington? Palin went straight to her hockey mom narrative, though she switched to the more mainstream soccer field.

"'As we try to figure out has this been a good time or a bad time in America's economy...go to a kid's soccer game on Saturday, and turn to any parent there on the sideline and ask them, "How are you feeling about the economy?" And I'll betcha you're going to hear some fear in that parent's voice.'

"Of course, if you go to a Starbucks today and ask the iPodder blogging on her Apple about Sarah Palin, you're gonna hear some fear in that person's voice, also. Betcha!

"Palin's strategy throughout the evening was to avoid questions to which she didn't have answers and rely on the American people to like her so much they didn't care.

"'I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also,' she said when asked to respond to a Biden comment about deregulation.

"Repeatedly, Palin moved the debate to her own territory to her record as a mayor and governor, her message of reform and, yes, that she and McCain are mavericks.

"The governor of Alaska had an excellent night, there's no question about it, though the early debate polls showed Biden winning by a healthy margin.

"Before we relax into giddiness or cynicism, however, it's important to consider that a debate differs from an interview in significant ways. A debate is a point-counterpoint exercise that allows little opportunity for probing or follow-up. An interview requires that a candidate explain an idea in depth and offer specifics.

"The Katie Couric interview that was such a disaster for Palin and that prompted me to conclude that she was out of her league and should leave the ticket was awful precisely because Palin couldn't explain anything. For whatever reason, she couldn't even speak coherently.

"The debate format clearly worked better for her because she could control her message and keep pounding well-rehearsed talking points. Does that mean she's ready to lead the free world should circumstances warrant?

"That question remains. Right next to same question about Barack Obama."

It's a pity that Ms. Parker did not pursue that question about Obama competently.

Instead, in "Put the Gloves Back On" (October 8, 2008), Ms. Parker wrote very critically of Mrs. Palin going after Obama:

"When Sarah Palin said she was taking off the gloves, she wasn't just whistling 'Onward, Christian Soldiers.'

"Or was she?

"In the wake of the vice presidential debate, Palin has trained her moose-hunting sights on bigger trophies Barack Obama and the media.

"In Colorado a few days ago, she told fans that Obama pals around with terrorists. Later in Clearwater, Fla., resplendent in white against a backdrop of red, white and blue, she said, 'This is not a man who sees America the way that you and I see America, as the greatest source for good in this world. I'm afraid this is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country.'

"'Booooooooooooo!

"On Monday, Bill Kristol wrote in his column that Palin thinks Obama's association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright needs to be discussed more. Because hardly anyone ever mentioned it?

"Palin also took the opportunity in Clearwater to deflect criticism of her interview with Katie Couric. First she joked that she was only working for Tina Fey's job security. Then she said the reason she did so poorly in the interview was that she was annoyed.

"We are to infer that the reason Palin gave answers that ranged from ridiculous to nonsensical was that she was merely withholding her insights to demonstrate her pique? Right.

"Nevertheless, 'Yaaaaaaaaaaaay.'

"The real Sarah Palin is free at last. She's not just a hockey mom after all. She's Palin the Impaler. Pit bulls beware.

"No one who watched the vice presidential debate should be surprised. Palin's performance, notwithstanding her adorable dodges of questions she didn't like, was essentially a cri de coeur to America's non-elite.

"Democrats and other critics distracted by her winks may have missed the message, but Palin's target audience heard it loud and clear. She is like the high-pitched whistle only dogs can hear. While Democrats heard non-answers, superfluous segues and cartoon words shout-out, I'll betcha, doggone, extra credit Republicans heard God, patriotism, courage, victory.

"It's called code, and Republicans are fluent.

"It isn't just the 'maverick' word, which we now may consign to the Cliche Crematorium. Sprinkled throughout Palin's remarks were phrases that set the free associative mind in motion.

" 'Say it ain't so, Joe, there you go again' was Ronald Reagan all over again.

" 'I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and God bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right?" Every evangelical Christian heard her rallying cry Onward, Soldiers!

" 'Because here you voted for the war and now you oppose the war.' Did anybody hear flip-flop?

"A television audience won't remember facts and most won't race to FactCheck.org but they'll remember impressions. Palin successfully conveyed to those she was targeting that she is a Ronald Reagan-ish outsider who puts God and country first. And The Other is just like that elitist, flip-flopping John Kerry.

"That's a plateful of imagery and a buffet of touchstones familiar to those who distrust 'elitists' and who recognize in Palin a kindred regularness.

"Time magazine examined voting habits and concluded that most people do not vote for issues, but rather for the candidates. Specifically, they vote for people who are most like themselves. Which is why McCain and Palin have amped up their rhetoric of difference.

"Neither McCain nor Palin would dare mention Obama's middle name, Hussein, but they can play up Obama's past associations and let others connect the dots. Terrorist. Muslim. Dangerous. Other.

"It is legitimate to question character and dubious associations and Ayers is certifiably dubious. The truth is, Obama should have avoided Ayers, and his denouncement of Wright was tardy. But this is a dangerous game.

"The McCain campaign knows that Obama isn't a Muslim or a terrorist, but they're willing to help a certain kind of voter think he is. Just the way certain South Carolinians in 2000 were allowed to think that McCain's adopted daughter from Bangladesh was his illegitimate black child.

"But words can have more serious consequences than lost votes and we've already had a glimpse of the Palin effect.

"Dana Milbank of The Washington Post reported that media representatives in Clearwater were greeted with taunts, thunder sticks and profanity. One Palin supporter shouted an epithet at an African-American soundman and said, 'Sit down, boy.'

"McCain may want to call off his pit bull before this war escalates."

In "To Appalachia with Respect" (October 10, 2008), Ms. Parker even implied that Ms. Palin was a Lady Macbeth":

"But sometimes you can learn more about a people and their place through literature than by hiring consultants. So I called Ron Rash, poet, author and purebred Appalachian whose newest novel, 'Serena,' should be at the top of Barack Obama's reading list.

"Sarah Palin might enjoy it as well. Described by one blurber as 'an Appalachian retelling of Macbeth,' the story features a strong woman who hunts rattlesnakes with an eagle. An Academy Award nomination awaits the woman who plays Serena, predicts novelist Pat Conroy."

Wikipedia:

"Lady Macbeth is a character in Shakespeare's Macbeth (c.1603-1607). She is the wife to the play's antagonist, Macbeth, a Scottish nobleman. After goading him into committing regicide, she becomes Queen of Scotland, and later suffers pangs of guilt for her part in the crime. She dies off-stage in the last act, an apparent suicide."

"Analysts see in the character of Lady Macbeth the conflict between feminine and masculine, as they are impressed in cultural norms. Lady Macbeth suppresses her instincts toward compassion, motherhood, and fragility associated with femininity in favor of ambition, ruthlessness, and a lust for power...."

In "Mainstream Media Look for Love" (October 15, 2008), Ms. Parker amazingly wrote: "Whereas the mainstream media (MSM) are widely viewed as being pro-Obama, the same MSM are viewed as being hostile toward Palin. It is possible to be critical of Palin's lack of qualifications and experience without conveying contempt, but that hasn't always been the case. Early attacks on Palin's personal life and family values were perceived as unfair by those who already viewed the media skeptically."

Note to Ms. Parker: The MSM WAS pro-Obama and anti-Palin and those attacks on Mrs. Palin (such as charging that she's really Trig's grandmother) WERE unfair.

In "It's Not the Economy; It's the Ugliness" (October 22, 2008), Ms. Parker not only expressed her concern that Obama might not win because whites might be lying to pollsters about supporting him, but played the race card for Obama by accusing Mrs. Palin of serving as McCain's instrument in playing the race card slyly.

Ms. Parker:

"While some have minimized the impact of a Bradley effect in this election, we'd be wrong to discount it. Anti-black has morphed to some degree into anti-foreigner and anti-Muslim.

"'Palling around with terrorists,' as Sarah Palin said of Obama, gets to an underlying xenophobic, anti-Muslim sentiment. Using surrogates who strategically use Obama's middle name, Hussein, feeds the same dark heart.

"This tactic, denied but undeniable, has been effective with target audiences, some of whom can be viewed on YouTube entering a Palin rally in Pennsylvania. One cherubic older fellow totes a stuffed Curious George monkey wearing an Obama sticker as a hat.

"To McCain's credit, he has tried to correct his audience when, for example, a woman said she couldn't trust Obama because he's an Arab. Gosh, wonder where she ever got that idea? But the McCain-Palin bad cop-good cop routine is what it is. The hot babe lathers the crowd; the noble soldier hoses them down. This isn't a campaign; it's a sideshow.

"Nevertheless, it is fair to concede that a few fruitcakes those who yell epithets or make racial slurs are not representative of Republicans, any more than those now Photoshopping ugly (and violent) depictions of Palin should be considered typical of Democrats.

"Should Obama win, it will be in part because some number of quiet, mostly white-collar men and women who speak Republican in public voted Democratic in private.

"Whatever the final tally, Obama should not interpret his victory as a mandate. Many of the Reverse-Bradley ballots won't have been votes cast for Obama, but against a campaign turned ugly. They also will have been delivered with solemn prayers that Obama will govern as the centrist, pragmatic leader he is capable of being."

Ms. Parker neglected to note that governing as a centrist was NOT on Obama's agenda.

In "Maverick's Tragic Flaw" (October 24, 2008), Ms. Parker's love for Obama and loathing for Mrs. Palin exploded, with Ms. Parker attributing Palin's nomination to her sexual attractiveness to McCain (while crediting her husband and a "75-year-old scholar" for that "insight"):

"My husband called it first. Then, a brilliant, 75-year-old scholar and raconteur confessed to me over wine: 'I'm sexually attracted to her. I don't care that she knows nothing.'

"Finally, writer Robert Draper closed the file on the Sarah Palin mystery with a devastating article in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine: 'The Making (and Remaking) of McCain.'

"McCain didn't know her. He didn't vet her. His campaign team had barely an impression. In a bar one night, Draper asked one of McCain's senior advisers: 'Leaving aside her actual experience, do you know how informed Governor Palin is about the issues of the day?'

"The adviser thought a moment and replied: 'No, I don't know.'

"Blame the sycamore tree.

"McCain had met Palin only once in February, at the governor's convention in Washington, D.C. before the day he selected her as his running mate. The second time was at his Sedona, Ariz., ranch on Aug. 28, just four days before the GOP convention.

"As Draper tells it, McCain took Palin to his favorite coffee-drinking spot down by a creek and a sycamore tree. They talked for more than an hour, and, as Napoleon whispered to Josephine, 'Voila'!'

"One does not have to be a psychoanalyst to reckon that McCain was smitten. By no means am I suggesting anything untoward between McCain and his running mate. Palin is a governor, after all. She does have an executive resume, if a thin one. And she's a natural politician who connects with people.

"But there can be no denying that McCain's selection of her over others far more qualified and his mind-boggling lack of attention to details that matter suggests other factors at work. His judgment may have been clouded by ... what?

"Science provides clues. A study in Canada, published in New Scientist in 2003, found that pretty women foil men's ability to assess the future. 'Discounting the future,' as the condition is called, means preferring immediate, lesser rewards to greater rewards in the future.

"Drug dealers, car salesmen and politicians rely on this affliction and pray feverishly for its persistence.

"The Canadian psychologists showed pictures of attractive and not-so attractive men and women to students of the opposite sex. The students were offered a prize either a small check for the next day or a larger check at some later date.

"The men made perfectly rational decisions, opting for the delayed larger amount after viewing the average-looking women. You know where this is going. (Women, by the way, were rational no matter what.)

"That men are at a disadvantage when attractive women are present is a fact upon which women have banked for centuries. Ignoring it now profits only fools. McCain spokesmen have said that he was attracted to Palin's maverickness, that she reminded him of himself.

"Recognizing oneself in a member of the opposite sex (or the same sex, as the case may be) is a powerful invitation to bonding. Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in the river, imagining it to be his deceased and beloved sister's. In McCain's case, it doesn't hurt that his reflection is spiked with feminine approval.

"As my husband observed early on, McCain the mortal couldn't mind having an attractive woman all but singing arias to his greatness. Cameras frequently capture McCain beaming like a gold-starred schoolboy while Palin tells crowds that he is 'exactly the kind of man I want as commander in chief.' This, notes Draper, 'seemed to confer not only valor but virility on a 72-year-old politician who only weeks ago barely registered with the party faithful.'

"It is entirely possible that no one could have beaten the political force known as Barack Obama under any circumstances. And though it isn't over yet, it seems clear that McCain made a tragic, if familiar, error under that sycamore tree. Will he join the pantheon of men who, intoxicated by a woman's power, made the wrong call?'

"Had Antony not fallen for Cleopatra, Octavian might not have captured the Roman Empire. Had Bill resisted Monica, Al Gore may have become president and Hillary might be today's Democratic nominee.

"If McCain, rightful heir to the presidency, loses to Obama, history undoubtedly will note that he was defeated at least in part by his own besotted impulse to discount the future. If he wins, then he must be credited with having correctly calculated nature's power to befuddle."

Alas, the befuddled Ms. Parker considers Mrs. Palin bedazzling, but not "rightful heir to the presidency," and will resort to literary lunacy to punish McCain for not choosing Romney and Mrs. Palin for being bedazzling and not being Romey (or at least dropping out, purportedly to do more for Trig, in favor of Romney).

© Michael Gaynor

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)

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