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Posted by on Sep 27, 2008 in Politics | 6 comments

The Liberal Palin Pity Party, Lies & Self-Esteem

Andrew Sullivan finds it odd that Palin lies. As I’ll explain below, I don’t. What may be a little odd is the liberal Palin pity party going on. Ta-Nehisi Coates (also via Andrew):

There are lot of us lefties who are guffawing right now and are happy to see Palin seemingly stumbling drunkenly [a cloaked reference to last night?] from occasional interview to occasional interview. I may have been one of them. But I’m out of that group now.

The Palin pick was the most crassest, most bigoted decision that I’ve seen in national electoral politics, in my–admittedly short–lifetime. There can be no doubt that they picked Palin strictly as a stick to drum up the victimhood narrative–small town, hunters, big families and most importantly, women. Had Barack Obama picked Hillary Clinton, there simply is no way they would have picked Sarah Palin. To the McCain camp, Palin isn’t important as a politician, or even as a person. Her moose-hunting, her sprawling fam, her hockey momdom, her impending grandmother status are a symbol of some vague, possibly endangered American thing, one last chance to yell from the rafters “We wuz robbed.” Lineup all your instances of national politicians using white victimhood to get into offices–Willie Horton, White Hands, Sista Souljah, Reagan in Philadelphia etc.–they were all awful no doubt. But I have never seen a politician subject an alleged ally to something like this.

Judith Warner (Andrew gets this one too):

[O]n Tuesday afternoon when I went to The Times Web site and saw the photo of Sarah Palin with Henry Kissinger, a funny thing happened. A wave of self-recognition and sympathy washed over me.

That’s right — self-recognition and sympathy. Rising up from a source deep in my subconscious. I saw a woman fully aware that she was out of her league, scared out of her wits, hanging on for dear life. I saw this in the sag of her back in her serious black suit, in the position of her hands, crossed modestly atop her knees, and in that “Mad Men”-era updo, ever unchanging, like a good luck charm.

DemFromCT on DailyKos:

McCain brought her up from the minors way too early, and ruined her career because of it?

I am not without empathy for Palin; I understand what she is up against. I agreed with James Fallows’ predictions on the day of the announcement that Palin would be McCain’s running mate:

The smartest person in the world could not prepare quickly enough to know the pitfalls, and to sound confident while doing so, on all the issues she will be forced to address.

All of which takes me back to a Tech Nation podcast conversation from a couple years ago with Dr. Carol Dweck, the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. At the time she was promoting her book, Mindset—The New Psychology of Success. She spoke of a couple of famous plagiarism cases:

There are these famous cases of Janet Cook and Stephen Glass, famous young reporters who made up stuff. Had to give back a Pulitzer Prize. Had to leave the New Republic in shame. What was that about? Were they just cheaters with deep down bad qualities? I think they were like the children in my studies who received lavish praise for their intelligence or talent and then didn’t feel that they had the luxury of learning. Maybe Janet Cook and Stephen Glass felt they had to be brilliant right away. They couldn’t take the time to learn the ropes and do the legwork and yes, they came out with these great stories right away, but they weren’t true.

And of self-esteem:

Self-esteem per se is just fine, but I think we have a misguided model of what it is and how to promote it. We think it’s something that you can just pump into a child the way you inflate like a tire. And we think we can do that by telling them how great they are. That’s the misguided part.

In our work we’ve shown that telling children how great they are… makes them very happy for a few minutes, but it makes them completely unable to cope with setbacks.

John McCain has pumped Sarah Palin up like a tire. She’s sprung a leak. Many leaks. We’ll all see (and probably read in a best-selling autobiography some day) how she copes.

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  • JSpencer

    Shortly after the pick of Palin it was easy to see there was something amiss. I mean Alaska IS a state and it’s geographic distance stopped being an obstacle to news and information a long time ago. What I’m getting at is this: If Sarah Palin had been the bright and capable up and comer, meaning Major League up and comer, we would have heard a lot more about her before this year. She may not have been a household name, but she would at least have enjoyed the notoriety a young female republican, rising star would be expected to garner among political junkies. So yes, she is now swimming with the big fish, and the more she realizes this, the more she may wish she had never left Alaska – where SHE was a big fish. Do I feel sympathyt for her? In a way I do. A few weeks ago I posted the following comment:

    “I too think this is a diservice McCain has done Palin. I don’t agree with her ideology, but I think she deserves better. It’s like throwing a freshman college quarterback into a pro game. Maybe she can pull it off, but if she can’t, then who is to blame? Not so much her I think. ”

    I’ve seen nothing from her since that changes that sentiment. A lot is riding on her debate with Biden this Thursday, and it needs to go MUCH better than her interviews have so far. I hear she is taking a crash course in “debate school” right now. Could it possibly be enough?

  • CStanley

    She’s actually quite a good debater when she is prepared; the big question obviously is whether or not she can crib for this big league national debate quickly enough.

    My prediction is that Obama’s camp will coach Biden to go on the offensive against McCain, not Palin herself. At least, if they’re smart that’s what they’ll do, because this is the way he can be aggressive while skirting (pun intended) the gender based inclination for backlash against those who bully a woman. And we’ve already seen that Palin was completely unprepared for that line of attack even when Couric asked her a fair question about McCain’s record.

    As a McCain supporter, I hope that his team is smart enough to see this coming, and that along with catching Palin up to speed on ALL issues, they also provide her with a primer on McCain’s voting record and positions. Biden apparently can afford to make gaffe after gaffe, contradicting Obama repeatedly, without being called on it. Palin doesn’t have that luxury (and that’s not just because of bias, but also because she’s an unknown entity and she does have a higher burden to prove herself.)

  • kritt11

    They really need to stop hiding Palin from the press, because when she DOES do an interview, more attention is paid to the gaps in her knowledge and preparation.

    BTW, SNL did another funny Tina Fey skit on the interview with Couric.

  • JLM

    It is pretty obvious that an awful lot of the commentators did not attend their Senior Prom. Sheesh!

    Listen, losers, this woman is simply extraordinary and she hasn’t done it on the basis of having gotten an Ivy League affirmative action education. She did it with her own grit and determination.

    You have obviously never been a point guard entrusted with the “rock” and holding the fate of the entire team in her hands. Of walked out in a swim suit because you needed college money. Or sighted, killed and field dressed a freakin’ moose. Or challenged your political party’s entrenched, corrupt leadership and, hell, field dressed them also. LOL

    Get comfortable that Saracuda is not just OK, she’s the woman you would not dare to go talk to across a smokey bar. She is the gal who marries the prom king and lives happily ever after. She is why you are a loser and she is the most popular Governor in the US.

    Oh, yeah, she can beat the guys at their own game and she will only get better and better and better.

    In your heart you know how much total bullsh!t a “community organizer” really is and you know that BO is truly not ready for much of anything. Your vicious assault on Sarah Palin is simply the compensation for the sum of your fears on BO.

    Good luck to all and particulary good luck to President John S McCain.

  • Rambie

    JLM: “Listen, losers, this woman is simply extraordinary and she hasn’t done it on the basis of having gotten an Ivy League affirmative action education.”

    Careful there JLM, you’re starting to sound like an elitist. Do you have a craving for arugula yet?

  • Guest

    @JLM: Senior prom? Carry the “rock”?! HA HA HA! I just had to register here in order to log my amusement at your comments.

    Someone obviously knows what it’s like to have nothing to show for one’s life since leaving (note: I do not assume one’s graduation from high school) high school. Age and success shows you those things are a freakin’ JOKE.

    Thanks for the laugh, JLM.

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