July 28, 2009

I’ve never been a big fan of Sarah Palin not because I ever thought she was exceptionally bad but because she never struck me as exceptional, period. By 2008, George W. Bush’s Republican Party had wrecked the Right and that Palin became famous by spending four months parroting the same, discredited agenda for John McCain didn’t exactly make her a credible conservative in my eyes, much less a new champion for the Right. Yet, I understood why grassroots conservatives’ desire for such a hero would lead them to Palin, whose beauty and backwoods charm, made her the perfect symbol for so many frustrated, middle-class Americans to rally around.

Palin’s primary appeal, however accurate or inaccurate the perception, is that so many mostly white, middle-class Americans see her as one of their own. “She’s one of us” Palin supporters would repeat time and again, much to the elite media’s chagrin. Of course, when black Americans saw some sort of representation of themselves in Barack Obama, this was all wonderful and inspiring and even gave Chris Matthews a thrill that ran right up his leg. Yet it’s almost impossible to imagine Matthews’ jubilation for black Americans on election night being shown for voters of the same class but of a different, lighter skin color. If McCain and Palin had come out on top, Matthews would not have been thrilled.

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