They Said WHAT?! The 25 Most Unlikely Palin Fans – #10 Camille Paglia

Show of hands. How many of you know feminists who support Governor Palin? All right, hands down. Now, how many of you know feminist Democrats who support Governor Palin? Hmm, fewer this time. All right, hands down. Okay, how many of you know feminist Democrats who support Governor Palin who are Obama voters, atheist, bisexual, voted for Jesse Jackson and Bill Clinton, love pornography and loathe Hillary Clinton? Anyone? No-one? Bueller? Bueller?

Thought so.

Now that we’re down to the final 10 selections in our series, it’s time to bring out the big guns. We start with Camille Paglia because she is that rarest of specimens: An Obama voter who loved Palin from the start.

Don’t believe me? After the Guv was introduced to the world as the 2008 GOP VP nominee, Paglia admitted: “We may be seeing the first woman president. As a Democrat, I am reeling.” Paglia was commenting on Palin’s introductory speech in Dayton, Ohio. She continued: “That was the best political speech I have ever seen delivered by an American woman politician. Palin is as tough as nails.” The speech, as you all know, took place mere hours after Obama formally accepted his party’s nomination for President. Paglia noted, “Good Lord, we had barely 12 hours of Democrat optimism. It was a stunningly timed piece of PR by the Republicans.”

Before we continue our timeline, we must note that Paglia is no fan of John McCain, so keep that in mind when reading her first Palin column, in which she has many kind words for the Alaska Governor but not the Arizona Senator:

In a bold move I would never have thought him capable of, McCain introduced Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his pick for vice president. I had heard vaguely about Palin but had never heard her speak. I nearly fell out of my chair. It was like watching a boxing match or a quarter of hard-hitting football — or one of the great light-saber duels in “Star Wars.” This woman turned out to be a tough, scrappy fighter with a mischievous sense of humor.

[…]

The gun-toting Sarah Palin is like Annie Oakley, a brash ambassador from America’s pioneer past. She immediately reminded me of the frontier women of the Western states, which first granted women the right to vote after the Civil War — long before the federal amendment guaranteeing universal woman suffrage was passed in 1919. Frontier women faced the same harsh challenges and had to tackle the same chores as men did — which is why men could regard them as equals, unlike the genteel, corseted ladies of the Eastern seaboard, which fought granting women the vote right to the bitter end.

[…]

Over the Labor Day weekend, with most of the big enchiladas of the major media on vacation, the vacuum was filled with a hallucinatory hurricane in the leftist blogosphere, which unleashed a grotesquely lurid series of allegations, fantasies, half-truths and outright lies about Palin. What a tacky low in American politics — which has already caused a backlash that could damage Obama’s campaign. When liberals come off as childish, raving loonies, the right wing gains. I am still waiting for substantive evidence that Sarah Palin is a dangerous extremist. I am perfectly willing to be convinced, but right now, she seems to be merely an optimistic pragmatist like Ronald Reagan, someone who pays lip service to religious piety without being in the least wedded to it. I don’t see her arrival as portending the end of civil liberties or life as we know it. (Emphases added)

Perhaps the most telling passage came when Paglia discussed Governor Palin’s stances on social issues. Paglia is a firm supporter of legal abortion, but she admits that she not only understands the pro-life position, she thinks that stance may actually hold the moral and intellectual high ground. To that end, she wrote:

The gigantic, instantaneous coast-to-coast rage directed at Sarah Palin when she was identified as pro-life was, I submit, a psychological response by loyal liberals who on some level do not want to open themselves to deep questioning about abortion and its human consequences.

Following the 2008 Vice-Presidential debate, Paglia again heaped praise on Palin and showed scorn for Biden. She also attacked the way the media distorted her image, dismissed the Left’s sexualisation of her and rebutted allegations of her lack of intelligence:

Although nothing will sway my vote for Obama, I continue to enjoy Sarah Palin’s performance on the national stage. During her vice-presidential debate last week with Joe Biden (whose conspiratorial smiles with moderator Gwen Ifill were outrageous and condescending toward his opponent), I laughed heartily at Palin’s digs and slams and marveled at the way she slowly took over the entire event. I was sorry when it ended! But Biden wasn’t — judging by his Gore-like sighs and his slow sinking like a punctured blimp. Of course Biden won on points, but TV (a visual medium) never cares about that.

The mountain of rubbish poured out about Palin over the past month would rival Everest. What a disgrace for our jabbering army of liberal journalists and commentators, too many of whom behaved like snippy jackasses. The bourgeois conventionalism and rank snobbery of these alleged humanitarians stank up the place. As for Palin’s brutally edited interviews with Charlie Gibson and that viper, Katie Couric, don’t we all know that the best bits ended up on the cutting-room floor? Something has gone seriously wrong with Democratic ideology, which seems to have become a candied set of holier-than-thou bromides attached like tutti-frutti to a quivering green Jell-O mold of adolescent sentimentality.

And where is all that lurid sexual fantasy coming from? When I watch Sarah Palin, I don’t think sex — I think Amazon warrior! I admire her competitive spirit and her exuberant vitality, which borders on the supernormal. The question that keeps popping up for me is whether Palin, who was born in Idaho, could possibly be part Native American (as we know her husband is), which sometimes seems suggested by her strong facial contours. I have felt that same extraordinary energy and hyper-alertness billowing out from other women with Native American ancestry — including two overpowering celebrity icons with whom I have worked.

One of the most idiotic allegations batting around out there among urban media insiders is that Palin is “dumb.” Are they kidding? What level of stupidity is now par for the course in those musty circles? (The value of Ivy League degrees, like sub-prime mortgages, has certainly been plummeting. As a Yale Ph.D., I have a perfect right to my scorn.) People who can’t see how smart Palin is are trapped in their own narrow parochialism — the tedious, hackneyed forms of their upper-middle-class syntax and vocabulary. (Emphases added)

Soon after Obama’s victory in 2008, Paglia continued supporting Palin. Other than her assertion that our current Chief Executive will serve out two full terms, it is a solid article:

Liberal Democrats are going to wake up from their sadomasochistic, anti-Palin orgy with a very big hangover. The evil genie released during this sorry episode will not so easily go back into its bottle. A shocking level of irrational emotionalism and at times infantile rage was exposed at the heart of current Democratic ideology — contradicting Democratic core principles of compassion, tolerance and independent thought. One would have to look back to the Eisenhower 1950s for parallels to this grotesque lock-step parade of bourgeois provincialism, shallow groupthink and blind prejudice.

I like Sarah Palin, and I’ve heartily enjoyed her arrival on the national stage. As a career classroom teacher, I can see how smart she is — and quite frankly, I think the people who don’t see it are the stupid ones, wrapped in the fuzzy mummy-gauze of their own worn-out partisan dogma. So she doesn’t speak the King’s English — big whoop! There is a powerful clarity of consciousness in her eyes. She uses language with the jumps, breaks and rippling momentum of a be-bop saxophonist. I stand on what I said (as a staunch pro-choice advocate) in my last two columns — that Palin as a pro-life wife, mother and ambitious professional represents the next big shift in feminism. Pro-life women will save feminism by expanding it, particularly into the more traditional Third World.

As for the Democrats who sneered and howled that Palin was unprepared to be a vice-presidential nominee — what navel-gazing hypocrisy! What protests were raised in the party or mainstream media when John Edwards, with vastly less political experience than Palin, got John Kerry’s nod for veep four years ago? And Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, for whom I lobbied to be Obama’s pick and who was on everyone’s short list for months, has a record indistinguishable from Palin’s. Whatever knowledge deficit Palin has about the federal bureaucracy or international affairs (outside the normal purview of governors) will hopefully be remedied during the next eight years of the Obama presidencies.

The U.S. Senate as a career option? What a claustrophobic, nitpicking comedown for an energetic Alaskan — nothing but droning committees and incestuous back-scratching. No, Sarah Palin should stick to her governorship and just hit the rubber-chicken circuit, as Richard Nixon did in his long haul back from political limbo following his California gubernatorial defeat in 1962. Step by step, the mainstream media will come around, wipe its own mud out of its eyes, and see Palin for the populist phenomenon that she is. (Emphases added)

Paglia was asked by a reader if Governor Palin could ever come back following her resignation in 2009. Her response showed genuine concern for Palin’s decision to step down, but in doing so, she noted that Palin’s lack of a larger team of advisers and other politicos…

… is part of her virtues — her complete freedom from routine micromanagement and business as usual. She does her own thing with seat-of-the-pants gusto. It’s why she remains hugely popular with the Republican grass-roots base — as I know from listening to talk radio. Callers coming fresh from her rallies are always heady with infectious enthusiasm.

Of course you’d never know that from reading hit jobs like Todd Purdum’s sepulchral piece on Palin in the current Vanity Fair. Scurrying around Alaska with his notepad, Purdum still managed to find comically little to indict her with. Anyone with a gripe is given the floor; fans are shut out. This exercise in faux objectivity is exposed at key points such as Purdum’s failure to identify the actual instigator of Palin’s extravagant clothing bills (a crazed, credit-card-abusing stylist appointed by the McCain campaign) and his prissy characterization of Palin’s performance at the vice-presidential debate as merely “adequate.” Hey, wake up — Palin cleaned Biden’s clock! By the end, Biden was sighing and itching to split. (Emphasis added)

Finally, Paglia, the Yale doctoral graduate, agreed with another reader who was disgusted by the Left’s attacks on the Guv’s attendance at five different colleges before graduating with her bachelor’s in communications:

I too have been repulsed by the elitist insults flung at Sarah Palin in the massive, coordinated media effort to destroy her. Hence I have been thoroughly enjoying the way that Palin, despite all the dirt thrown at her by liberal journalists and bloggers, keeps bouncing back as if unscathed. No sooner did the gloating harpies of the Northeastern media think they had torn her to shreds than she exploded into number one on Amazon.com with a memoir that hadn’t even been printed yet! With each one of these amusing triumphs, Palin is solidifying her status as a bona fide American cultural heroine.

Yes, the snobbery about Palin’s five colleges is especially distasteful, given the Democratic party’s supposed allegiance to populism. Judging by the increasingly limited cultural and factual knowledge of graduates of elite schools whom one encounters working in the media, blue-chip sheepskins aren’t worth the parchment they’re printed on these days. Young people forced through the ruthlessly competitive college admissions rat race have the independence and creativity pinched right out of them. Proof? Where are the major young American artists, writers, critics or movie-makers of the past 20 years? The most adventurous and enterprising minds have gone into high tech. We’re in a horrendous cultural vacuum because our status-besotted education industry is geared toward producing not original thinkers but docile creatures of the system. (Emphases added)

Governor Palin has yet to announce a Presidential run for 2012; Obama has announced his re-election effort. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see someone as ideologically eclectic — if not a tad erratic — as Dr. Paglia switching allegiances for the Guv? Given what a tremendous disappointment this President has been to much of his base, it’s certainly not out of the question.



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