Whenever people catalog the perceived shortcomings of Sarah Palin one of the most commonly used words is “divisive”, which is just another way of saying some people like her and some people don’t. It never seems to occur to those who apply such labels that not only is this a perfectly normal state of affairs but the absence of it usually means the person in question is either a cult-leader or has nothing to say.
Indeed, in order to figure out who a person really is, it is often instructive to examine the enemies he or she has cultivated – and Sarah has cultivated some of the best. Anyone beaming down from the planet Twilo, knowing nothing about Palin or her politics, could reasonably survey the Mos Eisley Cantina collection of characters who stand in opposition to her and conclude she was worth a second look.
1. The Republican Establishment
Barbara Bush is only the latest in a long line of GOP patricians who have damned Palin with faint praise then suggested, with varying degrees of subtlety, that she quietly depart the stage so the grownups can take over.
This transcends Palin’s presidential ambitions, if in fact she has any. Although this has become the lightning-rod of recent commentary – because her book’s been out a while and there’s only so much you can misrepresent and fabricate – what really exercises her critics (and their name is Legion, though more often than not “Parker” or “Sullivan”) is her general popularity among the hoi polloi and her unquestionable influence in conservative politics. When they say “go away” they don’t mean “don’t run for president,” they mean “go away.”
Scant mention is made of the fact these are the same grownups who presided over the frittering and fumbling away of the same Reagan legacy they rhapsodize about on the Sunday shows – but perhaps the message is: “No, really, this time the grownups have grown up. We can take it from here.”
For those of us with reservations about this particular line of reasoning – like anyone who understands the Zen-like wisdom of Charlie Brown and the football – such assurances only reconfirm the wisdom of keeping Sarah around.