The other day, Atlantic blogger Andrew Sullivan decided to be “nice” to Sarah Palin, in the course of a meditation on the “new spirit of civility” in politics. “How about my long treatment of Sarah Palin?” Sullivan asked. “Here, there is no conceivable way in which, in my judgment, her presence on the national stage can improve our discourse, help solve our problems or improve public life. But that does not forbid one from noting the great example she has shown in rearing a child with Down Syndrome, whatever his provenance, or noting her effectiveness as a demagogue, or from admiring her father’s genuineness or her skill in exploiting new media.”
“Whatever his provenance? What the hell does that mean?” you ask. Well, for the benefit of those who didn’t start rolling their eyes the moment they saw his name, Sullivan’s “long treatment of Sarah Palin” is a psychotic obsession. For years, the Atlantic has allowed this raving loon to question whether Palin is actually the mother of her Down-syndrome boy, Trig. In a February 2010 column, he floated the idea that Trig’s name is a contraction of the medical term for Down Syndrome, “Trisomy-g,” which Palin chose as an insult to the child.
It is difficult to imagine the Atlantic humiliating itself by publishing the work of such a madman, if his psychosis were focused on virtually any other public figure. But, with Sarah Palin, it’s okay. You can say anything about her. After all, the entire mainstream media just spent a couple of weeks trying to indict her for incitement to murder.
In the wake of this effort, CNN took a poll in partnership with Opinion Research, and found Palin’s disapproval numbers had reached 56%. (How many other private citizens have “disapproval ratings,” by the way?) Another CNN poll earlier this week, however, indicated that only 35% were prepared to assign some degree of blame to Palin for the Tucson shootings. The gap between these numbers measures the volume of the media megaphone.
Now America has enjoyed a few days of “new tone” civility, in which Democrat Steve Cohen called his Republican opponents Nazis, while Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee said they wanted to kill Americans by repealing ObamaCare. The painful dishonesty and stupidity of the “Climate of Hate” narrative has devolved back to its origins: pitiful whining about Sarah Palin and her “crosshairs” electoral map. She’s the target they won’t let go of, no matter how foolish it makes them look… because Palin sits in a free-fire zone, where there is no penalty for deploying the most toxic or radioactive ordinance. The ugly “comedian” Kathy Griffin paid no price for announcing her intention to “target” Palin’s 16-year-old daughter. Heck, Griffin’s scheduled to appear in the next Muppet movie.
CNN just spent a week telling people Palin inspired that Loughner boy to shoot twenty people in Tucson, then asked how they felt about the bloodthirsty hatemongering kill-billy. Imagine what Barack Obama’s approval ratings would be, if the media had invested similar effort highlighting Loughner’s interest in the 9/11 “Truther” conspiracy, while reminding everyone that Obama once tried to appoint a Truther to his cabinet.
Palin has been designated the Unfavorable Woman, by a Left that believes (and has some of the Right convinced) it can still select and target one enemy at a time for utter destruction. Before Palin it was George W. Bush and Newt Gingrich, in a line stretching back to Ronald Reagan. Imagine some member of the Kennedy clan hawking a book in which Ted Kennedy is portrayed as a mental incompetent during the last years of his life, his mind ruined by alcohol. The media reaction to this would be a deafening howl of outrage… but it’s perfectly acceptable to put out a book that says Ronald Regan had Alzheimer’s during the latter years of his presidency.
Reagan wasn’t supposed to have a chance at the Oval Office, any more than Palin does. Carter was ahead of him by double digits in early opinion polls. There was no way the reviled George Bush could retain his stolen White House against war hero John Kerry. The Left loves to stick opinion-poll thermometers into its designated Unfavorable Man or Woman, take the temperature of its contempt, and pronounce their goose cooked.
Look at it this way: according to CNN’s analysis, 35% of the public is foolish or venal enough to think Sarah Palin used black magic to control Jared Loughner with a map graphic he never saw… but 38% still view her favorably. Those are even battle lines, not a lost cause. If Palin doesn’t end up with the Republican nomination in 2012, then whoever gets it will instantly become the next Unfavorable Man, or Woman. May they acquit themselves as well as she has, when the all-out assault begins.