All the glaring defects so blatantly on display in her debate with Joe Biden -- and that make her candidacy so darkly comical -- would be the same if she were a hockey dad instead of a "hockey mom." In fact, the cynical attempt to foist Palin on the nation as a symbol of feminist progress is an insult to all women regardless of their political orientation.
...As Biden showed quite convincingly when he spoke about his modest background and his continuing connection with Main Street, perceptive, intelligent discourse is in no way identical with elitism. Palin's phony populism is as insulting to working- and middle-class Americans as it is to American women. Why are basic diction and intellectual coherence presumed to be out of reach for "real people"?
And why don't we expect more from American conservatives? Indeed, why don't they demand more from their own movement? Aren't they disgusted that their party would again nominate a person devoid of qualifications for one of the nation's highest offices? Some, like Michael Gerson and Kathleen Parker, have expressed discomfort with this farce -- and been subjected, in Parker's case, to abuse from many of the same numbskulls whom Palin undoubtedly delights.
The ultimate irony of Palin's rise is that it has occurred at a moment when Americans may finally have grown weary of pseudo-populism -- when intelligence, judgment, diligence and seriousness are once again valued, simply because we are in such deep trouble. We got into this mess because we elected a man who professed to despise elitism, which he detected in everyone whose opinions differed from his prejudices. That was George W. Bush, of course. Biden was too polite and restrained to say it, but the dumbing down is more of the same, too.
And then, too, of course: Sarah Palin, the Ultimate Right Wing Success Story
Palin likewise depended on the Religious Right in her run for governor: the “Alaska Family Council, a group that formed that year and is loosely affiliated with Focus on the Family, distributed a voter guide showing Palin's alignment with its ideology.” And when a GOP state representative prematurely left office last year, Palin used the opportunity to shore up her base:
Sarah Palin appointed Wes Keller, an elder in her church, to replace him. He introduced a bill to make the performance of intact dilation and extraction abortions – so-called “partial-birth abortions” – a felony, and…plans to introduce legislation mandating the teaching of intelligent design in public schools.
Palin’s rise from a small right-wing church in Alaska to a slot on a major party ticket gives lie to the notion that the Religious Right is fading away. Or as Goldberg puts it, “the Christian right often has its greatest triumphs just after it's been pronounced moribund.”