Two events in the past week highlighted yet again the outrageous double standard that the mainstream media and the political Left apply to Sarah Palin.
When it was reported that Sen. John Edwards relied on his wife Elizabeth for advice on everything from public policy to haircuts, it was universally hailed as both sweet and savvy. She’s the smarter one anyway, some would even whisper. Similarly, when President Obama said he consulted his wife Michelle on important matters, it was treated as the sage decision of an intellectually curious man who loved his wife. Bill Clinton was praised for consulting with his wife and putting her in charge of health care reform – the latter especially viewed by the mainstream media as the greatest executive decision since Lyndon Johnson launched the Great Society.
And then there’s Sarah Palin. When recently released e-mails revealed that Palin sought her husband Todd’s advice on numerous issues while she was governor of Alaska, the media gasped in horror. Why, he’s just a snowmobile racer!
Darker musings soon surfaced. The Washington Post “reported” that the e-mails “sent and received by Todd Palin further illuminate the personal quirks, machinations and frustrations of the Palins....” Machinations? Apparently, when male Democratic politicians consult their wives, it’s a sign of wisdom and humility. When a female Republican governor consults her husband, there must be a sinister plot afoot.
For the politically correct Left, gender makes all the difference. Thus, it was appropriate for powerful men such as Obama and Clinton to consult their wives because it fit the leftist notion that these men were sharing power with their wives. This transfer of power from males to females, no matter how slight, was progress. By contrast, Palin was transferring power to her husband. That’s bad because, you know, he’s a guy. Power has to run the other way.
One also detects an element of liberal elitism. Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama are all lawyers, while Todd Palin is a high-school graduate who worked as a production supervisor for an oil company. In the view of the media and liberal elites, what could he possibly know?
The other Palin-related controversial non-controversy this past week happened when she was shown to have written a few notes on her hand for her Tea Party Convention speech last Saturday. The Left went bonkers: Oh, she’s so dumb she has to crib her speech!
But if that’s so, what conclusions should we draw from President Obama’s teleprompter habit? Four words on her palm show Palin is dumb, but President Obama can’t deliver a short speech to elementary school kids without reading the whole thing off a Teleprompter – and he’s a genius?
I don’t know if Palin had a full copy of her speech or more complete notes to read from during her Tea Party Convention speech. But I’d wager that most of the people criticizing her for writing on her hand don’t, either. They have no idea if she jotted bullet points on her hand to remind herself how to order her notes later or if those were her only notes. Either way, as silly as it does seem for a major political figure to use a middle-school note-taking method, it is proof of nothing. Yet, the Left pronounced it a sign of Palin’s imbecility without stopping to consider that she can’t be that dumb if she can deliver an entire speech with no prompts other than four words scribbled on her palm.
I’m not a Sarah Palin groupie. I don’t consider her a savior for the GOP or a top presidential prospect. I just hate the double standards used by the media and the Left to discredit conservatives and Republicans. And these double standards are never more evident than when Sarah Palin makes news.
Andrew Cline is editorial page editor of the New Hampshire Union Leader.