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August 30, 2010

Tunku Varadarajan: Release the Palin

Moderate the message? Tunku cautions against such a dangerous approach. (Mostly.)

But what about “independents”—won’t Palin make the GOP much less attractive to them? I put the question to John Zogby, the pollster, who told me: “It is important to be reminded just who the ‘independents’ are. Almost half of them describe themselves as politically moderate and lean heavily toward President Obama and the Democrats.” So this group, it would seem, would spurn the GOP in November, with or without a Palin thrust.

“Of the remaining 52 percent,” Zogby continued, “two in three describe themselves as politically ‘conservative’ but weary of Republicans on issues like spending, civil liberties, and the war in Iraq during the Bush and Republican congressional years. So a conservative message can win their support except they don’t trust the Republicans.”

That would, of course, be the Republican Establishment; and here, precisely, is where Palin can make a difference: I am prepared to wager that many of these “conservative independents” have some inclination toward the Tea Party and its small-government message. So staying “on message”—especially on the need for fiscal conservatism—is more likely to win their vote than a Republican lurch to the center. And since any such lurch will have the inevitable effect of driving the base to distraction, I see the GOP embracing a version of the Palin-Tea Party message.

The Palin Primaries are now behind us. Make way for the Palin Midterms.

At the New York Times, feminster writers wonder where their Palin is.

It’s easy of course, for liberals to laugh off Ms. Palin’s “you go, girl!” ethos and increasingly aggressive co-optation of feminist symbols. We progressives discount her references to the women’s movement — not to mention her validity as a candidate — by looking down on her as a dim, opportunistic, mean-girl prom queen, all spunk and no policy muscle.

But the sad truth is that Democrats often prefer their women fulfilling similarly diminutive models for behavior. Consider how Hillary Clinton has been treated, at times, by those in her own party: Democratic leaders never really celebrated Mrs. Clinton’s nation-altering place in history as the first female candidate to get so close to a major party’s presidential nomination. Indeed, she is most appreciated when she plays well with others in the Senate or the State Department; when she behaves like a fierce competitor, she is compared to Glenn Close’s bunny-boiling virago from “Fatal Attraction.”

The left’s failure to nurture and celebrate female politicians has had a significant effect on its policies.....

An older generation of female Democrats, including Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Pelosi, are about as eager to mount a Palin-style girl-powered campaign as they are to wear a miniskirt on the House floor. For them, proudly or aggressively touting one’s feminist credentials (if you’re actually a feminist, that is) is taboo. It’s considered too, well, female.

But as women of a different generation — of, gulp, Sarah Palin’s generation — we wonder if Democrats shouldn’t look to her for twisted inspiration, and recognize that the future of women in politics will be about coming to terms with (and inventing) new models....

If Sarah Palin and her acolytes successfully redefine what it means to be a groundbreaking political woman, it will be because progressives let it happen — and in doing so, ensured that when it comes to making history, there will be no one but Mama Grizzlies to do the job.

What the writers seem to lament, without realizing it, is that there are no brash female liberal leaders. They are safe, drab, and gray, the female counterparts to their male technocrats that fill the party.

Sarah Palin is attractive partly because she lives such a dangerous life -- flying solo, taking fire. Female liberals can't ever live dangerous lives like this in their cushy think-tanks and nicely taken care of by the still-mostly-male establishment that will see to it they always have a job, somewhere.

Risk-taking is usually called a male behavior; females have it, too, of course, but women are usually considered more risk-averse. As the establishment has become more feminized, it has also become risk-averse, to the point where no one working within it can really be any kind of gutsy maverick. The establishment -- both wings of it -- attacked Palin ferociously and drove her as far as possible out of any sort of safe career trajectory.

Ironically, though, this now puts Palin in the position of an Amelia Earhart, a Teddy Roosevelt -- someone living the vigorous, dangerous life. Which makes her all the more attractive to a public which can't help but notice that most of the vitality, most of the blood seems drained from public life and public ambition.

The feminist writers of the article (in parts I didn't excerpt) long for a ballsy sort of female liberal -- but how can one actually be ballsy in protective womb of establishment support?

Thanks to tmi3rd.

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posted by Ace at 11:06 AM

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