They can't help it, Part II

Considering the way the vicious attacks on Sarah Palin generated sympathy for her (with a resultant backlash reflected in earlier polls), I would have thought that her attackers would by now have learned to control themselves, at least for the few weeks that remain in this increasingly ugly campaign.

Almost ten days ago, I opined that her critics just can't help it:

....the media feeding frenzy results from the fact that they find Palin irresistible for a variety of reasons. She's new, she's a woman (which in their twisted way of thinking makes her a traitor), she didn't go to Harvard (or Princeton, like Charlie Gibson), and she belongs to the wrong church. As Andrew Sullivan says, the mere fact that she belongs to the Assembly of God justifies the use of the Dowdification method of quotation falsification:
She is a long-time member of the Assemblies Of God. That's all you need to know.
Imagine the reaction if someone said that about membership in the Catholic Church.

So, they just cannot help themselves. That libertarians like David Harsanyi, Vin Suprynowicz, and Radley Balko (link via Glenn Reynolds) have praised her only makes them angrier....

While I was talking about the media, it's become clear that Palin Derangement Syndrome goes a lot deeper than that. Her email account was hacked (to a chorus of enormous left-wing approval by people who would howl over the monitoring of email of al Qaeda operatives), and most recently, she was first invited, then disinvited, to an anti-Ahmadinejad protest. (Such a lack of American unity no doubt delighted Ahmadinejad and the mullahs.)

The highly emotional "Disinvite Palin" campaign has all the earmarks of the "can't help it" mentality I described.

Sources say the axes were out for Palin as soon as Sen. Clinton pulled out because she did not want to attend the same event as the Republican vice presidential candidate. "I have never seen such raw emotion -- on both sides," said someone close to the situation. The groups sponsoring the rally against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaking at the UN were reportedly told, "it could jeopardize their tax exempt status" if they had Palin and not Clinton or Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden on hand. . . ."It's an absolute shame that this has happened," Hikind said. "To threaten organizations ... to threaten the Conference of Presidents that if you don't withdraw the invitation to Gov. Palin we're going to look into your tax exempt status ... that's McCarthyism."

The same story quoted President of "Hillary Now" Bob Kunst: "I'm absolutely appalled at the behavior of the Democrats. I'm a Democrat and for the first time in my life I'm going to vote Republican. I can't take it anymore."

I am quite familiar with Kunst, a gay activist with solid left-wing credentials. To see him talking that way is a real eye-opener.

I don't know how much damage this will cause the Obama campaign. Noting that the activists demanding Palin's withdrawal included a man fired from the Obama campaign over his negotiations with Hamas, Jennifer Rubin asks some good questions:

It remains to be seen whether this issue will plague Obama as he continues to struggle to establish both his foreign policy credentials and his support for Israel. One supporter of the McCain-Palin ticket on Capitol Hill remarked ruefully, "Has it occurred that the reason that neither Obama nor Biden would show up is maybe that they would rather meet with Ahmadinejad without preconditions than protest his presence at the UN?"

This week culminating in the Friday's presidential debate will reveal whether the McCain camp intends to pressure Obama directly to explain why his supporters nixed the event and why his VP declined to attend in Clinton's absence.

Meanwhile, the controversy will continue to ricochet through the Jewish community. There is no shortage of questions: Why were specific groups with a partisan agenda allowed to prevail? Why did presidential politics overtake the larger issue of Iranian nuclear weapon acquisition? And why were the member groups of the Conference not all consulted?

For now, the only point on which most can agree is that those involved -- the rally sponsors, those who pressured the cancellation and the Obama campaign -- have brought unwanted scrutiny and provided ammunition for Ahmadinejad to claim that opponents of Iran's nuclear ambitions are neither serious nor united.

Pajamas Media founer Roger L. Simon thinks it is time for Jews to reexamine their traditional kneejerk ties to the Democratic Party:
From the days of FDR, the vast majority of American Jews have identified with the Democratic Party almost if it were their religion. This included most especially secular Jews like me whose blasé attitude toward their faith and toward religious observance in general made such a replacement all the more important emotionally. This same Jewish majority also identified with the cause of social justice and, as Barack Obama among many others has noted, were some of the most active participants in the civil rights movement of the Fifties and Sixties. That was all how it should have been and was a perfectly logical and praiseworthy epoch in the development of our country.

Hello - those days are over! The events leading up to Monday's anti-Ahmadinejad demonstration by Jewish organizations at the UN put the final nail in an already long-moldering coffin. Jews should no longer align themselves with the Democratic Party any more than they should align with the Republicans. They should act and think for themselves, devoid of ideological or partisan bias. They should first be Americans, not Democratic Party Americans.

The virtual night of the long knives played out between the Democratic Party and various Jewish organizations surrounding the Iran demonstration, including allegations that party operatives were threatening the loss of tax exempt status over Sarah Palin's appearance, with more unpleasant revelations undoubtedly to come, is obviously causing people to reconsider this allegiance to the Democratic Party that approaches fealty.

I urge my fellow Jews to keep thinking about this and not to retreat into the cocoon-like safety of an outmoded tradition. Change is difficult. But remember that Hillary Clinton - that paragon of the Democratic Party, a woman who calls herself a "progressive" (oh, desecration of the English language!) - was willing to forego the protest of the man who is arguably the most significant enemy of the Jews since Hitler for partisan and (most likely) personal pique reasons. How morally repellent is that!

Plenty, I'd say. Roger is right. (Read it all.)

It is amazing that Sarah Palin is continuing to cause so many people on the left to miscalculate on such a grand scale, but for a lot of reasons, she is. The disinvition to an Ahmadinejad protest is proof that she triggers an emotional reaction which her enemies cannot control -- even when (as here) she agrees with them! Incredible.

Once again, they really can't help it.

AFTERTHOUGHT: This whole incident makes me wonder what other issues Sarah Palin's enemies won't allow her to agree with them on. (The more reasonable she sounds, the more they hate her. What would they do if she dared advocate separation of church and state?)

UPDATE: Thank you, Sean Kinsell for linking this post! Adds Sean:

The hysterical detractors are succeeding admirably--if that's the word--at getting the public to associate opposition to Palin with derangement.
Be sure to read Sean's thoughts.

posted by Eric on 09.22.08 at 09:37 AM


Yes, maybe Palin is confusing her enemies by her very reasonableness. But she aids and abets them by staying, generally speaking, hidden. Except for the unsatisfying Gibson interview, she is kept behind glass or under wraps, without even a single genuine press conference at this point. I find this both disappointing and suspicious. If there is some reason she can't deal with the rough and tumble of national politics, I'd like to know now.

italtrav   ·  September 22, 2008 7:06 PM

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