Palin’s “Actual Responsibilities” for Race Resentment Politics

12 07 2009

Frank Rich today: She Broke the GOP, Now She Owns It:

Most important, she stands for a genuine movement: a dwindling white nonurban America that is aflame with grievances and awash in self-pity.

. . .The essence of Palinism is emotional, not ideological. Yes, she is of the religious right, even if she winks literally and figuratively at her own daughter’s flagrant disregard of abstinence and marriage. But family-values politics, now more devalued than the dollar by the philandering of ostentatiously Christian Republican politicians, can only take her so far. The real wave she’s riding is a loud, resonant surge of resentment and victimization . . .

That resentment is in part about race, of course. . . her state’s tiny black and Hispanic populations are unrepresentative of her nation.

. . . Her convention speech’s signature line was a deftly coded putdown of her presumably shiftless big-city opponent: “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.” (Funny how this wisdom has been forgotten by her supporters now that she has abandoned her own actual responsibilities in public office.)

The latest flashpoint for this kind of animus is the near-certain elevation to the Supreme Court of Sonia Sotomayor, whose Senate confirmation hearings arrive this week. Prominent Palinists were fast to demean Sotomayor as a dim-witted affirmative-action baby. . .

The politics of resentment are impervious to facts.

Last summer going into the Republican nominating convention when Hurricane Gustav crashed their party’s party, the time was right for the Right to put her money and mouth where their actual responsibilities claimed to be, which I enthusiastically suggested to the Right as the right idea, free of charge!

But sadly as we all know by now, the right idea was never the Right’s idea in the first place:

Consider this: President Bush could’ve named Palin to head the National Guard and Homeland Security Gustav command. All the Gustav governors (of states larger in population than she’s ever commanded) are Republicans, so who would complain? They would trust her and follow her because she’s so experienced as a leader and commander in chief, with such proven judgment and character, right?

. . .The entire population of the state she’s briefly governed is barely half the total number of Americans currently without power because of Gustav, much less the millions who evacuated. What an opportunity for her to show what she can really do! Her teenaged pregnant daughter recovering from months of mononucleosis had the family’s four-month-old Down syndrome baby’s care covered round the clock [with as we’ve since seen constantly, the help of seven-year-old Piper], so what would’ve stopped her, Country First, charge!

Not all her own fault though. You could say she and her whole family were taken by storm even as they took our politics by storm:

. . .my most searing judgment I reserve for the partisan operatives who cynically put these women in in office treating governance as a game in which winners get rich, sex and looks are exploited, and real ability to govern is irrelevant.



2 responses

12 07 2009
Mike Licht

Governor Palin’s record of resentments was chronicled by Noam Scheiber before the election.


Sarah Palin has only one member of the media to blame for her treatment: herself.

She has a degree in journalism and worked as a reporter and TV sportscaster.


12 07 2009

Thanks Mike. To return the favor I bet you haven’t seen these yet . . .

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