“Sarah Palin gets the spiteful Margaret Thatcher treatment”

The Daily Telegraph has a perspective on Sarah Palin different from the one that shows up here. Interestingly enough, its author graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1965 with a BA degree in philosophy. She was also a member of the Free Speech Movement, which was one of the initial student protests of the sixties. And she taught philosophy in England (for example, as a tutor for the Open University) for 20 years.

Given that background, readers may find the following comments from the article a bit surprising, though she has been an arch conservative journalist for some time:

There are few sights more bloodcurdling than the liberal pack in full cry. The viciousness of the attacks on Sarah Palin is a testimony to the degree of panic her appointment has generated in Leftist circles.

It would seem that it is only sexist to trash a woman candidate if she is a Woman Candidate, which is to say a liberal.

Like Margaret Thatcher before her, Mrs Palin is coming in for both barrels of Left-wing contempt: misogyny and snobbery. Where Lady Thatcher was dismissed as a “grocer’s daughter” by people who called themselves egalitarian, Mrs Palin is regarded as a small-town nobody by those who claim to represent “ordinary people”.



The life of small-town USA is based on the principles of those Protestant colonial settlers who founded the nation: hard work, self-improvement, personal faith and family devotion. Mrs Palin speaks to and for them in a way that patronising “liberal” elitists find infuriating.

On the other hand, New Yorker columnist Jane Mayer was on Democracy Now discussing her NYer article on SP and how SP was chosen.  It turns out that Washington insiders sometimes take cruises in Alaska.  Outsider anti-DC-elitist Sarah Palin entertained a number in the governor’s house and they loved her.  As Mayer says,

[To pick the running mate,] they’re sort of going down a checklist. They’re looking far-right politics, female, and then attractive. And one of the things that all of the Republican political pundits who came through the governor’s mansion were—it was funny to interview them. They were just smitten by her. They described her wearing high heels and saying, “Hi, I’m Sarah,” and introducing herself charmingly. And they talked, almost to a man, how gorgeous she was. They called her a “honey.” Bill Kristol called her “my heartthrob.” I mean, they sounded like guys with schoolboy crushes, practically.

O dear.  Mayer also says, “They could still be elected, so don’t count her out yet.”  Panic indeed!

6 thoughts on ““Sarah Palin gets the spiteful Margaret Thatcher treatment”

  1. I am always curious how it happens that a former lefty/progressive goes 180 degrees to become an avid right winger/conservative. Does anyone have any ideas? Does it happen in reverse?

  2. Yes, it does. Leading examples are David Brock of Media Matters, who used to write right-wing hack jobs on e.g. Anita Hill and now devotes his career to fighting such things; and ex-Republican Arianna Huffington. But I must say that I’m pretty baffled by such transformations, too.

  3. The transition of the author of the article may depend some on her move from the States to England. At least she says that the state welfare system in England makes working people passive and dependent (more exactly, I think she’s said that). That’s hard to evaluation as a reason, though, since one might say it is a conservative understanding itself. It is also a long transition from that to defending the Republicans, though there are also a lot of reasons to do that if one wants to be a journalist with the Telegraph.

    I have myself encountered a passiveness in some English, but that’s often due to growing up without many alternatives available, I would have thought. E.g., my husband grew up in depressed Newcastle after WWII and generally much of one’s fate was decided by the eleven-plus.

    Apparently Palin’s family is dropping out of high school like flies (I exaggerate a bit), so one might discern a certain lack of ambition there too.

  4. Readers shouldn’t forget the second part of the post about Mayer’s work.

    I also regret not pointing out the idealization of the early settlers in the first article.

  5. all i can say is that…neither hillary nor palin are good enough to be presidents….when will we find a woman good enough??????????

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