An Orgy of Hate


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This weekend gave rise to perhaps the worst feeding frenzy that I have seen in my young life.  The whole odyssey of the Sarah Palin pick for Vice President, from her surprise selection, to the indecent internet rumors, to the confirmation that her 17 year-old daughter is pregnant has been the biggest political rollercoaster ride I can remember.  It was one part “West Wing”, one part “Juno”, one part “Northern Exposure”.  While you could view this from the detached perspective of amusement over the soap opera that has developed, I haven’t ever been this disillusioned about the political process.

First, the media was woefully ignorant of the reaction of the religious right to the Bristol Palin pregnancy.  The media believes in the caricature of a social conservative who is harshly judgmental of personal conduct, especially on sexual matters.  Like any caricature, there are some elements of truth to this (I have a hard time thinking the religious right would’ve had the same reaction to a candidate’s teenage daughter getting pregnant in say, 1988).  But what the media thought would be a repeat of 2000’s October surprise (the Bush DUI story, which most likely depressed evangelical turnout) didn’t happen.  Instead, every available conservative Christian leader issued a statement of support.  The media, whose only church exposure is derived from funeral services for politicians, knew nothing about how the religious right would feel about the pregnancy story.

Because of these misplaced hopes, the New York Times ran THREE page one stories on the pregnancy.  This was more than they ever ran on John Edwards and his love child, where in his case he was an adult politician.  But that would require basic fairness.

But the Times were only kid’s stuff compared to what was online.  Daily Kos reached yet another low in its Palin coverage.  One quote illustrates the blackness of their souls:

If health insurance for all, an end to the Iraq War, an end to torture and illegal wiretapping, and a sane energy policy can be obtained at the price of destroying one teenage girl, her family, and the surrendering our self-respect I see that as a cheap trade.

That is straight out of a Dostoyevsky novel.

But you can almost expect these pathetic human beings to be this vicious.  But what was so offensive as to make me question if my computer screen was working properly was the conduct of Andrew Sullivan.  He completed his long decline from original, provocative commentator to Obama tool this weekend.  His breathless reporting of rumors deriving from the bowels of Daily Kos readers was so far over the line for a well known blogger that I can’t see how he wouldn’t be disciplined for it.  The Atlantic needs to come out and condemn his scurrilous posts.  If they don’t, I hope his fellow Atlantic bloggers do.  I hope a President Obama is worth your soul Andrew.

One person who was above this was  Obama himself.  This has been Obama’s most honorable moment in the entire campaign.  He stated in unambiguous terms (a rarity for him) that this topic was “entirely off limits”.  In cynical political terms, Obama was never going to make this an issue.  But there was heart felt sincerity to the comment that didn’t have to be there.  I think that is because Obama was born in nearly the exact same circumstance as this pregnancy.  Joe Biden also reiterated the same stance, so some small measure of thanks should also extend to him.    

So what is this hubbub all about?  It’s quite simple.  The left are running scared because this has been the best moment for conservatism in the past five years.  When was the last time that both Bill Kristol and Pat Buchanan raved over a public official?  There is something afoot amongst the right because of the Palin pick.  The massive fundraising boost since the pick (over $10 million since Friday) is a testament to the revival of the conservative base.  The left understands the promise of Sarah Palin and how damaging she could be to their aims.  The goal of the left in this case is the shameful modus operandi of modern day politics: throw everything at the wall and see if something sticks.

Palin is Clarence Thomas part II.  He received his “high-tech lynching” because he was the first prominent black conservative on the national stage.  Palin is receiving the same treatment because she is the first prominent woman conservative on the national stage.  They are so damaging to the left because they undermine the left-wing narrative that only rich white guys are conservative.  If Palin is allowed to succeed, she could in the future bring millions of women into the Republican Party, making left-wing power a nearly unattainable goal.  So she must be destroyed.

After the media hyenas have pretty much determined that the entire Palin family is open to merciless attacks, I have to ask: why would anyone want to run for office these days?  I’m only four years older than Bristol Palin.  I couldn’t imagine being pregnant at 17, and then having the entire country find out.  The real tragedy of the past few days is that I’m pretty sure some future pillars of our society decided they will never run for office after this orgy of hate. 

 

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