| | | |
By Jeffrey Bell
Posted September 15, 2008
For months John McCain has apparently been hoping to use his selection of a running mate to shake up the presidential race. By picking Alaska governor Sarah Palin, McCain has accomplished that--and very likely a lot more than that, more than he or anyone else could have imagined.
I'm not talking about the widely remarked fact that if Palin performs well, and regardless of whether McCain wins or loses, she becomes a future Republican presidential prospect. Given the end of the remarkable 28-year run of the Bush family--present on six of the last seven GOP national tickets, a record that could stand forever--and McCain's own status as a pre-baby boomer, this was baked in the cake no matter what younger Republican politician McCain chose to elevate.
But even apart from its political implications, the rollout of the Sarah Palin vice presidential candidacy may be regarded decades from now as a nationally shared Rorschach test of enormous cultural significance.
From the instant of Palin's designation on Friday, August 29, the American left went into a collective mass seizure from which it shows no sign of emerging. The left blogosphere and elite media have, for the moment, joined forces and become indistinguishable from each other, and from the supermarket tabloids, in their desire to find and use anything that will criminalize and/or humiliate Palin and her family. In sharp contrast to the yearlong restraint shown toward truthful reports about John Edwards's affair, bizarre rumors have been reported as news, and, according to McCain campaign director Steve Schmidt, nationally known members of the elite media have besieged him with preposterous demands.
The most striking thing in purely political terms about this hurricane of elite rage is the built-in likelihood that it will backfire. It's not simply that it is highly capable of generating sympathy for Palin among puzzled undecided voters and of infuriating and motivating a previously placid GOP base, neither of which is in the interest of the Obama-Biden campaign. It also created an opening for Palin herself to look calm, composed, competent, and funny in response.
In her acceptance speech last Wednesday night, anyone could see the poise and skill that undoubtedly attracted McCain's attention months ago, when few others were even aware that he was looking. But it was precisely the venom of the left's assault that heightened the drama and made it a riveting television event. Palin benefited from her ability to project full awareness of the volume and relentlessness of the attacks without showing a scintilla of resentment or self-pity.
This is a rare talent, one shared by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. For this quality to have even a chance to develop, there must be something real to serve as an emotional backdrop: disproportionate, crazy-seeming rage by one's political enemies. Roosevelt was on his party's national ticket five times and Reagan sought the presidency four times. Each became governor of what at the time was the nation's most populous state. It took Roosevelt and Reagan decades of national prominence and pitched ideological combat to achieve the gift of enemies like these. Yet the American left awarded Sarah Palin this gift seemingly within a microsecond of her appearance on the national stage in Dayton, Ohio. Why?
The most important thing to know about the left today is that it is centered on social issues. At root, it always has been, ever since the movement took form and received its name in the revolutionary Paris of the 1790s. In order to drive toward a vision of true human liberation, all the institutions and moral codes we associate with civilization had to be torn down. The institutions targeted in revolutionary France included the monarchy and the nobility, but even higher on the enemies list of the Jacobins and their allies were organized religion and the family, institutions in which the moral values of traditional society could be preserved and passed on outside the control of the leftist vanguard.
Full human liberation always remained the ultimate vision of the left--Marx, for one, was explicit on this point--but the left in its more than 200-year history has been flexible and adaptable in the forms it was willing to assume and the projects it was willing to undertake in pursuit of its anti-institutional goals. For more than a hundred years, the central project of the global left was socialism.
It's hard to credit today, but as recently as the 1940s most Western political elites believed government ownership of business and national planning were the keys to economic modernization. Even when socialism's economic prestige was eroded by the West's capitalist boom after World War II, socialism retained credibility as a means of income redistribution.
It was the turbulent 1960s that proved a strategic turning point for the left. The worldwide social and cultural upheavals that culminated in 1968 were felt as a crisis of confidence by institutions in the West. Some institutions (universities, for example) defected to the rebels, while others saw their centuries-long influence on the population greatly weaken or drain away virtually overnight.
In the short run, most political elites weathered the storm. A big reason, the left gradually realized, was that socialist economics had become an albatross. Increasingly, the democratic parties of the left in Western countries downplayed socialism or even decoupled from it, leaving them free to pursue the anti-institutional, relativistic moral crusade that has been in the DNA of the left all along.
This newly revitalized social and cultural agenda made it possible for the left to shrug off the collapse of European communism and the Soviet Union nearly two decades ago. Even in countries like China where the Communist party retained dictatorial power, socialist economics became a thing of the past. Attempts to suppress religion and limit the autonomy of the family did not.
For the post-1960s, post-socialist left, the single most important breakthrough has been the alliance between modern feminism and the sexual revolution. This was far from inevitable. Up until around 1960, attempts at sexual liberation were resisted by most educated women. In the wake of the success of Playboy and other mass-circulation pornographic magazines in the 1950s, men were depicted as the initiators and main beneficiaries of sexual liberation, women as intolerant of promiscuity as well as potential victims of predatory "liberated" men.
With the introduction of the Pill around 1960, things abruptly began to change. Fears of overpopulation legitimated a contraceptive ethic throughout middle-class society in North America, Europe, Japan, and the Soviet bloc. China, which discouraged contraception and welcomed population gains under Mao Zedong, flipped to the extreme of the One Child policy in 1979, shortly after pro-capitalist reformers took charge and fixed on strict population control as an integral and unquestioned part of the package of Western-style development.
The fact that the Pill was taken only by women gave them a greater feeling of control over their sexual activity and eroded their social and psychological resistance to premarital sex. "No fault" divorce, a term borrowed from the field of auto insurance, in reality amounted to unilateral divorce and began to undermine the idea of marriage as a binding mutual contract oriented toward the procreation and nurturing of children. Contrary to nearly every prediction, the ubiquity of far more reliable methods of contraception and the growing ideological separation of sex from reproduction, coincided with a huge increase in unwed pregnancies.
Though earlier versions of feminism tended to embrace children and elevate motherhood, the more adversarial feminism that gained a mass base in virtually every affluent democracy beginning in the 1970s preached that children and childbearing were the central instrumentality of men's subjugation of women. This more than anything else in the menu of the post-socialist left raised toward cultural consensus a vision in which the monogamous family was what prevented humanity from achieving a Rousseau-like "natural" state of freedom from all laws and all bonds of mutual obligation.
If this analysis is correct, the single most important narrative holding the left together in today's politics and culture is the one offered--often with little or no dissent--by adversarial feminism. The premise of this narrative is that for women to achieve dignity and self-fulfillment in modern society, they must distance themselves, not necessarily from men or marriage or childbearing, but from the kind of marriage in which a mother's temptation to be with and enjoy several children becomes a synonym for holding women back and cheating them out of professional success.
On August 29, in the immediate aftermath of the announcement by the McCain campaign, all that was widely known of the governor of Alaska was that she was married with five children, the last one of whom had been carried to term with Down syndrome, and that she was pro-life. No one knew that her oldest daughter was pregnant. No one knew much about what she had done as governor or in her previous career. No one knew how she had been drawn into politics, or that her sister had had a reckless husband and a contentious divorce. Above all, with the possible exception of John McCain, no one knew that Sarah Palin was both a married mother of five and a brilliant political talent with a chance not just to change the dynamics of the 2008 election but to rise to the top level of American politics, whatever happens this year.
The simple fact of her being a pro-life married mother of five with a thriving political career was--before anything else about her was known--enough for the left and its outliers to target her for destruction. She could not be allowed to contradict symbolically one of the central narratives of the left. How galling it will be to Sarah Palin's many new enemies if she survives this assault and prevails. If she does, her success may be an important moment in the struggle to shape not just America's politics but its culture.
Jeffrey Bell, author of Populism and Elitism: Politics in the Age of Equality (1992), is completing work on Social Conservatism: The Movement That Polarized American Politics. He is a visiting fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
By James Lewis
Posted September 2, 2008
Former Democrat national chairman Don Fowler admitted to ABC News that he rejoiced at the prospect of Hurricane Gustav hitting New Orleans during the Republican National Convention.
"The hurricane's going to hit New Orleans about the time they (the GOP) start. The timing is -- at least it appears now that it'll be there Monday. That just demonstrates that God's on our side. [Laughter] Everything's cool."
In customary Leftist fashion, Fowler half-way apologized when he was caught on tape.
"If this offended anybody, I personally apologize," Fowler told ABC News. "It was a mistake, and it was a satirical statement made in jest. And one that I clearly don't believe ... One doesn't anticipate that one's private conversation will be surreptitiously taped by some right-wing nutcase," said Fowler. "But that's the nature of what we're dealing with."
"If this offended anybody?" I wonder if a million people fleeing New Orleans felt offended. But it wasn't Don Fowler's fault, you see. It was the fault of "some right-wing nutcase" who caught him saying it on videotape.
You see, Senator O is entitled to the presidency. You may not think so, but millions of Leftists do. He's black, he's cool, he makes the Left drool. As the fringe likes to say, "It's only justice." Think about that word "justice" and try filling in "revenge." "Social justice" means the revenge of the poor against the rich, of the radical women against the men who've stood them up and hurt their feelings all their lives, and the revenge of black people finally doin' down the whites -- as Jeremiah Wright makes so abundantly clear.
"Social justice" is the revenge of the psychologically oppressed against people who look happier and more satisfied with their lives.
The Left always counts its presidential chickens before they're hatched. They did it with Algore, they did it with Kerry. They think they have victory in their grasp, and when reality says otherwise they feel robbed and betrayed. They have to find dark plots and conspiracies to explain the impossible; the Supreme Court was corrupt in stopping the Al Gore assault on the election rules in Florida. Ohio's voting machines were hacked to give George W. Bush his win there. Today, Algore is still bulking up with rage, eight years after Florida. Kerry still thinks he was "swiftboated" -- when his Swiftboat chain of command finally got its chance to tell the truth. Rapper P. Diddy was on YouTube yesterday going "Alaska? Alaska?" and "McCain, you're getting the *** out of town."
It's the gangster theory of electoral democracy. They're all counting on victory. It's theirs already. Like the Obama campaign keeps telling us, the election is just a formality. We have a new president, and his name starts with an O.
The Left is entitled to power, because in their own eyes they have Truth and Morality on their side. They are Mahatma Gandhi, they are Dr. King, they are the vanguard of the marching proletariat. It's not just Big O who has the incomprehensible egomania. His inner circle and vast numbers of his supporters do, too. Entitlement, grandiosity, narcissism: In psychiatric thinking they all suffer from secret feelings of inferiority, narcissistic wounds to their self-esteem. Every time they lose, those nagging feelings come up again. So they are always overcompensating, trying to bully reality into the shape they need.
So shrewd old McCain picks Sarah Palin for Veep, and steps on the Obama victory with devastating timing, the day after the launch. No big bounce in the polls for O. Within hours the Left feels cheated and betrayed. Why? Because they are entitled to victory. Because they have been in a rage for the last eight years and can just feel that aching need for revenge. Because Governor Palin is a traitor to her gender, in their eyes, just as Justice Thomas is a traitor to his race. This is the language of the Klu Klux Klan and the Nazis, of course; "race traitor" was their name for whites who supported civil rights for blacks. But it's ok to be a racist if you're a liberal. In fact you are supposed to be a racist, a sexist, and a heterophobe: It's practically mandatory to take on all the sins of racial fascism as long as you flip the targets.
What's more, Sarah Palin is pretty, well-spoken, smart, athletic, normal and middle aged. She made it to the governorship of Alaska on her own, bringing down corrupt Republicans on the way. But the Left has the exclusive rights to all the good-looking young women (or men) in Hollywood. You may think that's mad, but they secretly really believe it. Madonna told the world that O is just like Gandhi. You may think that's funny or annoying, but millions of her Obot fans fall for it. They are emotionally immature, to say it nicely.
Senator O's campaign started with an attack on Sarah Palin, but caught itself fast and backed off. Attacking the lady without careful planning would have been disastrous. Instead, unattributed rumors are circulating in the Leftosphere: Palin's Down Syndrome baby wasn't really hers, there is secret corruption in her past, and more. These wild, vicious slanders are trotted out mainly to satisfy the emotional needs of their authors. The nasty, vicious quality is a signal of irrational, narcissistic rage.
The saner Left, including the O campaign, is trotting out lines of more plausible attack: Inexperience? Heart-beat from the presidency? Can she be intimidated like Dan Quayle, who was media-whipped to the point of stuttering incoherence? "Fix and destroy" is the old Alinsky rule. The attack-hound media will try its damnedest over the next two months.
Governor Palin can probably handle it, but had better bring along that big-game hunting rifle to the campaign. There are Leftie grizzlies out there waiting to ambush her, regardless of her gender.
Suddenly the Left cares about competence in a woman. Hillary never needed it. Eight years as First Lady qualified her to be Senator from New York. Obama never needed to show foreign policy experience; he could get away with amazing gaffes.
For the moment all the attention is off Obama and McCain. McCain, they thought, would be an easy target. A normally sane leftist friend of mine literally screeched "Old! Old! Old!" about John McCain, like an enraged chimp doing a threat display. If he'd had any bushes within reach he would have pulled off the branches and brandished them, or thrown them around in his personal fireworks display. "Old!" was going to be the line of attack on McCain, ageist prejudice considerations be damned. The Left can be as ageist as it wants, because they have the higher morality, you see. They were sure it would work. They earned the right to have it to work after all these years of impotent rage.
This is going to be tough election for the Left, barring suprises. They don't handle the uncertainties of a neck-and-neck race very well. They have too much of their sizable emotional needs riding on the outcome. That's why they looked forward to Hurricane Gustav drowning New Orleans again.
Rarely has the inner life of the Left been so exposed to public view. Look for a lot of uncontrollable rage if the McCain/Palin ticket sweeps to victory.
I don't enjoy watching people go Daffy Duck-style mad with rage -- but given the track record, who deserves it more than our buds on the Left? But watch your step, or they'll chew up your nice new carpet.
By Pamela Meister
Posted September 9, 2008
I grew up in the wake of the feminist revolution during the 1970s. More and more middle-class women were going out to work while humming the new feminist anthem "I am Woman" by Helen Reddy. Of course, throughout the centuries poor women had often been compelled to work for financial reasons, but they didn't represent the new "girl power" idea that the bra burners espoused. Toiling to put food on the table isn't nearly as exciting as working for the cause.
My own mother went back to work when I was in elementary school. She was fortunate that my father was a teacher at the very school my sisters and I attended, and so except for the year before my younger sister was in kindergarten, daycare was not much of an issue. It's not clear to me whether she went back to work because she had to or whether it was because of a need to "keep up with the Joneses," but regardless, I don't recall any kind of zeal on her part to prove herself in a man's world. She simply did what she had to do at the time.
Growing up, I was under the impression that feminism meant a woman now had a choice: she could pursue a career - provided she met the qualifications for it - or she could stay home with her children. It was all about choice and what was best for the individual.
Boy, was I wrong.
The selection of Sarah Palin for vice president on the John McCain ticket has sent feminists and their supporters into a frantic tizzy. First there was outrage because the media, safe in their liberal cocoon, had no idea that Palin was even under consideration -- something conservative blog readers and talk radio listeners had been aware of for several months. And so to punish the "mushroom" (a phrase from the days of the British Regency that means "social upstart"), rumors, condescension and hand wringing replaced honest reporting. The gamut ran from her faking her recent pregnancy to cover up for her oldest daughter to her glasses being "vanity glasses" to her being married to a guy who - gasp - likes to race snowmobiles and is a union member who works with his hands. Even worse, she dares to have five children and enjoy hunting.
No, the latte sipping, self-anointed elite could not let this affront go unanswered.
So the very people who had once championed Geraldine Ferraro's vice presidential bid and Hillary Clinton's more recent bid for the presidency closed ranks and suggested that, in addition to her inadequacy for the job based on her prior experience of being mayor of Wasilla (ignoring her current status as Governor of Alaska), we began hearing how, as the mother of five, it would be irresponsible for Sarah Palin to assume the rigorous schedule and duties of vice president. Why, she has a 17-year-old daughter who's pregnant and is keeping the baby! And her youngest child has Downs syndrome! My gosh, how could any woman, in this day and age, even think about stepping one foot out of the house when she has her family to care for?
Just a few years ago, Lawrence Summers was ousted from his tenure as president of Harvard University for daring to suggest that innate differences in the makeup of men and women could contribute to fewer women than men entering the fields of math and science. (I happen to agree with him.) Yet today, we're being told that Sarah Palin can't possibly juggle the demands of family and career. It's an interesting paradox.
If Sarah Palin needs to stay home with her children, then I suggest Katie Couric be given the pink slip from CBS News on the same grounds. Granted her poor performance should be reason enough, but of course, it's not her fault -- it's sexism. Couric claims Palin is too inexperienced for the job. The argument could also be made that Couric's gig as a morning show host did not lend the kind of gravitas needed or give her the necessary experience to host the evening newscast, a horse of a different color. But let's not go there, lest we be accused of being sexist.
The National Organization of Women even went so far as to declare that Sarah Palin is more like a man than a woman because even though, as a working mother juggling career and family she can speak to many women, her pro-life stance means she cannot speak FOR women.
It just goes to show that feminism is a crock.
You see, Sarah Palin is the "wrong kind" of woman for several reasons. She didn't attend elite colleges. She didn't abandon her small-town roots in search of more enlightened climes, like New York or Los Angeles. (I mean, Alaska...who the heck would want to live out there in the boondocks? Do they even have Starbucks?) She believes all life is sacred and therefore doesn't approve of abortion unless it is to save the mother's life. And finally, she got where she is today not only by not following the rules set forth by feminists, but she did it without bashing men. She understands that to play successfully in the big boys' sandbox, whining and crying about sexism and being treated differently isn't going to cut it. She even suggested in an interview with Newsweek earlier this year that Hillary Clinton put too much emphasis on the flack she received from the media during the Democrat primary:
"When I hear a statement like that coming from a woman candidate with any kind of perceived whine about that excess criticism or, you know, maybe a sharper microscope put on her, I think, man, that doesn't do us any good. Women in politics, women in general wanting to progress this country. I don't think it's, it bodes well for her -- a statement like that."
Bring out the torches and pitchforks!
Tammy Bruce puts it into even better perspective:
Palin's candidacy brings both figurative and literal feminist change. The simple act of thinking outside the liberal box, which has insisted for generations that only liberals and Democrats can be trusted on issues of import to women, is the political equivalent of a nuclear explosion.
What I used to think was feminism, isn't. Feminists don't believe in allowing women to choose what's right for them. Women need to walk in lockstep, bent achieving not even equality but domination of men. In their eyes, women were horribly oppressed by bearing children and raising families and now they need to get their own back. It's not about a real, working partnership with men; it's about domination of men. And it's difficult to achieve domination with a child clinging to one's pantsuit, which is why the abortion question is so critical for feminists.
NOW may not think that Sarah Palin speaks for all women, but the polls and crowds say differently. Self-described feminists do not speak for the majority of American women, or men for that matter. In Sarah Palin we see a woman who isn't afraid to reach for the brass ring while embracing her role as a wife and mother.
To the rest of us, it's a breath of much-needed fresh air. To the feminists and the left, it's the death knell of feminism as we know it.
Feminism is dead. Long live the new feminism!
By Thomas Lifson
Posted September 3, 2008
Liberals have long lamented the existence of two nations in America. They are right to do so today, but in a way they never meant. It is not the divide between rich and poor which soon will be causing serious pain on the left. Sarah Palin's pending nomination for Vice President is exposing the depth of the cultural divide between Middle America and the leftists who have taken over the education, media, and cultural establishment of our country.
The announcement of Palin's selection by Senator McCain last Saturday reportedly triggered outright laughter in newsrooms across the land, a nearly unanimous opinion that she would be a disaster for McCain. To the sort of people who believe themselves sophisticated citizens of the world and feel a sense of pride at saving the planet by purchasing carbon offsets, a woman who has borne five children is incomprehensible. Add in moose-hunting, a champion snowmobiler husband and a pregnant 17 year old daughter, and the phrases "white trash" and "trailer trash" are deployed.
A desperate race is underway, with the liberal media scampering to define Sarah Palin to the public as a dangerous religious fanatic and na´ve hick, some kind of back woods primitive incapable of effectively discharging the awesome job of president, soon to be thrust upon her as John McCain expires right after his inauguration. Tonight, Governor Palin will have her opportunity to speak directly to the American people, and thanks to the blizzard of critical coverage, she will be no doubt attract an enormous audience.
She has the rarest of qualities: authenticity. Media and Beltway types can't fathom what that is. It goes right over their heads. Not even on the radar screen. Her multiple facets -- beauty queen, moose hunter, mother, member of an Assembly of God Church, and ferocious reformer of corrupt politics may baffle sophisticates, but ordinary Americans see all the pieces fitting together, and they recognize a type of person they know and love.
Think of Marge Gunderson, the fictional chief of police of Brainerd, Minnesota in the Oscar«-winning movie Fargo, taken as a comic send-up by the swells in New York and Hollywood, with her Midwestern twang (shared by Sarah Palin), funny hat, and kitsch-artist husband. The kind of woman who probably rides snowmobiles with her husband, for crying out loud. Yet in the end, Marge Gunderson solved the murder despite the sneers of her betters in the Big City (Minneapolis), and won the hearts of movie audiences. Americans like their heroines full of common sense and spunk.
Sarah Palin is the ultimate All-American Girl, beautiful but not glamorous, powerful but unpretentious, high-powered but down-to-earth, a reformer who speaks up while others cower in fear of rocking the boat. Like Ronald Reagan, she can reach right through the television camera into people's minds and hearts. We recognize one of us.
The left, so wrapped in artifice and fakery, are driven crazy by this. Her behavior appears bizarre, inexplicable. In their minds, she is a disaster and they pretend to be gleeful, asking when McCain will dump her. All while panicking, because they can see the energized GOP base and the failure of Barack Obama to garner the ten-to-fifteen point post-convention bounce to be expected after his speech before the multimillion-dollar Greek temple set and fireworks at Invesco Field only 5 days ago. Those who planned the classical Greek theatrical stage never for second contemplated the possibility of a deus ex machina named Sarah.
So now they hurl ridiculous, self-discrediting accusations (the fantasy that Palin was not the mother of her baby Trig and was covering for her daughter was published by The Atlantic) and cannot understand that they won't work on a mom who's about to become a grandma while caring for a Down syndrome baby. They regard the public as fools to be manipulated, and know that with the MSM megaphone, they can sell practically anything. They turned Ken Starr from a vigorous prosecutor into a sex-obsessed fanatic, didn't they? The Chicago Annenberg Challenge remains unknown to the vast majority of voters.
Sarah Palin, a woman who took down the corrupt politicians dominating her state, may be a tougher nut to crack. She simply doesn't know her place, at least as others have constructed it. She does what's right and tells people what's on her mind. When you believe in the founding principles of the land and see yourself answerable to God, it reinforces an already steely will. If you happen to be gifted with brains, beauty, energy, health, and the charisma of a star, you might just pull off genuine reform.
Republicans are thrilled by what they see in Sarah Palin. Reform Republicanism with a younger generation in charge could knock the left out of power for a generation. The genius Bobby Jindal, out to reform Louisiana as Palin reformed Alaska, awaits the 2012 VP nomination with Sarah at the top of the ticket, if McCain wins this election. Suddenly the Republicans have a claim on being the vote for change.
Despite having been written off as a hopeless cause by political insiders and media know-it-alls, the Grand Old Party is about to renew itself amidst catcalls from the opposition. The same sort of swells who laugh at Sarah Palin as trailer trash categorized Ronald Reagan as an amiable dunce when in a charitable mood, spelled his name Ray-Gun, and felt ashamed to have a graduate of Eureka College, not some Ivy League campus, representing America on the world stage.
Ronald Reagan never let the contempt of the cultural, literary and journalistic elites bother him. He simply spoke over their heads directly to the American people. And changed the world. In Sarah Palin, we may well have a figure able to do the same. All eyes will be on her tonight.
By Jonah Goldberg
Posted September 13, 2008
Whether or not Sarah Palin helps John McCain win the election, her greatest work may already be behind her. She's exposed the feminist con job.
Don't take my word for it. Feminists have been screaming like stuck pigs 24/7 since Palin was announced as McCain's running mate. (Are pig metaphors completely verboten now?)
Feminist author Cintra Wilson writes in Salon (a house organ of the angry left) that the notion of Palin as vice president is "akin to ideological brain rape." Presumably just before the nurse upped the dosage on her medication, Wilson continued, "Sarah Palin and her virtual burqa have me and my friends retching into our handbags. She's such a power-mad, backwater beauty-pageant casualty, it's easy to write her off and make fun of her. But in reality I feel as horrified as a ghetto Jew watching the rise of National Socialism."
And that's one of the nicer things she had to say. Really.
On Tuesday, Salon ran one article calling Palin a dominatrix ("a whip-wielding mistress") and another labeling her a sexually repressed fundamentalist no different from the Muslim fanatics and terrorists of Hamas. Make up your minds, folks. Is she a seductress or a sex-a-phobe?
But this any-weapon-near-to-hand approach is an obvious sign of how scared the Palin-o-phobes are.
Gloria Steinem, the grand mufti of feminism, issued a fatwa anathematizing Palin. A National Organization for Women spokeswoman proclaimed Palin more of a man than a woman. Wendy Doniger, a feminist academic at the University of Chicago, writes of Palin in Newsweek: "Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman."
It's funny. The left has been whining about having their patriotism questioned for so long it feels like they started griping in the Mesozoic era. Feminists have argued for decades that womanhood is an existential and metaphysical state of enlightenment. But they have no problem questioning whether women they hate are really women at all.
Since we know from basic science that Palin is a woman -- she's had five kids, for starters -- it's clear that these ideological thugs aren't talking about actual, you know, facts. They're doing what people of totalitarian mind-sets always do: bully heretics, demonize enemies, whip the troops into line.
The academic feminist left has scared the dickens out of mainstream men and women for so long, the liberal establishment is terrified to contradict feminists' nigh-upon-theological conviction that female authenticity is measured by one's blind loyalty to left-wing talking points. This is a version of the Marxist doctrine of "false consciousness," which holds that you aren't an authentic member of the proletariat unless you agree with Marxism.
It works like this: If you don't agree with feminist scolds, you're not a real woman, even if you're a very feminine working mom. But even if you're an actual man -- never mind a childless feminist who looks like a Bulgarian weightlifter in drag -- you're a "real woman" solely because you nod your head like a windup clapping monkey every time you read the latest editorial in Ms. Recall how they christened Bill Clinton the "first female president," too.
But here's the fun part. Feminists are hooked on their own Kool-Aid; they actually believe the stuff they say. The shrill, angry women you see on MSNBC claiming to speak for all women actually think they do. But they don't. They speak for a few left-leaning women in faculty lounges, editorial boardrooms and that's about it.
Mainstream liberals have been in captivity for so long, eagerly accepting their ritual beatings, that they've gotten Stockholm Syndrome and convinced themselves that Gloria Steinem and Co. are the authentic voices of women everywhere.
The reality is that there is an actual reality out there, and it doesn't look anything like what feminists see beyond the rims of their ideological blinders.
For instance, immediately after the Palin announcement, the priestesses not only ruled it "sexist" for McCain to pick a woman but also said it was strategically dumb -- "insulting to women!" -- to think any real women would switch support from the beatified Obama to that old devil McCain.
Well, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, there's been a 20-point swing among white women from Obama-Biden to McCain-Palin. Did this "ideological brain rape" suddenly induce an epidemic of false consciousness?
Of course not. Nor are women mindlessly switching loyalties because there's a woman on the ticket. What the Palin pick has demonstrated, however, is that the Feminist-Industrial Complex is a fraud. Disagreeing with self-described feminists doesn't mean you're anti-woman. Usually it just means you're sensible.
And for that lesson alone, we should all be grateful.