Camille Paglia's losing her mind
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.First, if "worn-out partisan dogma" is responsible for people suggesting Sarah Palin isn't qualified to be president, then how does that explain the views of the many, many, many, many, many conservative Republicans who expressed a similar belief? In the days before the election, in fact, a majority of independents felt Palin was unqualified, as did 3 in 10 Republicans. On election day, she still couldn't convince a quarter of her own party she was qualified and lost ground among independents--only 35 percent of them thought she was ready to take the reins of government.
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.
But the craziest thing Paglia says is that Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius's biography is "indistinguishable from Palin's." I know it's all elitist and shit to suggest education is important, but Sebelius holds a bachelor's in political in science from Trinity Washington University and a Master's in Public Administration from the University of Kansas. Sarah Palin's educational career is somewhat different: Hawaii Pacific College (1 semester); North Idaho Community College (2 semesters); University of Idaho (2 semesters); Matanuska-Susitna Community College (1 semester); University of Idaho (3 semesters) and graduated with a degree in journalism.
When Palin was first elected to the city council of Wasilla, Alaska, a town of 5,000-6,000 people at the time, Sebelius was halfway through her second term in the Kansas House of Representatives. As Palin moved into the Wasilla mayor's office in 1996, Sebelius was being sworn in as Kansas's first Democrat in 100 years to head the state's Insurance Commission. Her reforms in the Insurance Commission won her recognition as one of Governing magazine's 2001 Public Officials of the Year. Palin, meanwhile, spent less than a year as chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and served from 2003 to 2005 as a director of a 527 group, the ironically named "Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc."
Despite the fact Republicans outnumber Democrats 2-1 in Kansas, Sebelius won the gubernatorial election in 2002 by an eight point margin and was named one of the five best governors in the United States by Time magazine in 2005. Sebelius won re-election in 2006 by a landslide 17 points. Palin was elected to the Alaska governorship in 2006, which means she had 20 months of (dubious, somewhat scandalous) experience in the office before being named as John McCain's running mate.
To suggest that these women have comparable résumés is ludicrous, but, then again, I have to admit it's growing more and more ludicrous to bother arguing with Camille Paglia.