Although I personally found the sarcastic tone of Sarah Palin’s recent vice presidential acceptance speech to be a total turn-off, I can appreciate the fact that many find her blunt and honest style refreshing, even enjoyable to listen to.
Palin is currently a darling of the media, and according to at least one poll, more “popular” than either John McCain or Barack Obama.
But it won’t last.
What we’re seeing is Palin’s appealing, no-nonsense style eclipsing, for the moment, her record, her lack of experience, and the fact that she’s a far-right ideologue.
I trust that in the next few weeks it will be the things that Palin believes in and hopes to advance that the American people will focus upon and decide against. Eight years of what I half-jokingly refer to as the “folksy fascism” of George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, et. al. has surely taught us something! And if not, than we really are in trouble.
I hope that people come to recognize that when it comes to debating the real issues, the Republicans can’t win on realities. Hence someone like Palin. As George Lakoff perceptively notes: “Her job is to speak the language of conservatism, activate the conservative view of the world, and use the advantages that conservatives have in dominating political discourse.”
Conservative . . . values are strict and apply via metaphorical thought to the nation: good vs. evil, authority, the use of force, toughness and discipline, individual (versus social) responsibility, and tough love. Hence, social programs are immoral because they violate discipline and individual responsibility. Guns and the military show force and discipline. Man is above nature; hence no serious environmentalism. The market is the ultimate financial authority, requiring market discipline. In foreign policy, strength is use of the force. In fundamentalist religion, the Bible is the ultimate authority; hence no gay marriage. Such values are at the heart of radical conservatism. This is how John McCain was raised and how he plans to govern. And it is what he shares with Sarah Palin. . . . Yes, the McCain-Palin ticket is weak on the major realities. But it is strong on the symbolic dimension of politics that Republicans are so good at marketing. Just arguing the realities, the issues, the hard truths should be enough in times this bad, but the political mind and its response to symbolism cannot be ignored. The initial Democratic response to Palin - the response based on realities alone - indicates that many Democrats have not learned the lessons of the Reagan and Bush years.
Here’s hoping that we’re all fast learners so that the unAmerican and dangerous ideology of extreme conservatism really won’t last.
Recommended Off-site Links:
Democrats and Media Cower in Face of Republicans' Right-Wing Demagogy - Bill Van Auken (World Socialist Web Site, September 5, 2008).
The Palin Choice - George Lakoff (CommonDreams.org, September 2, 2008).
Are Evangelicals Really Sold on Palin? - Amy Sullivan (Time, September 6, 2008)
Historic White House Race Enters Final Stretch - Jim Kuhnhenn (Associated Press, September 7, 2008).
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Sarah Palin’s “Theocratic Fascist” Affiliations
All Those Community Organizers? Who Needs Them!
Progressives and Obama (Part 1)
Progressives and Obama (Part 2)
One of Those Moments
An American Prayer