Doug Thompson

Redneck woman blues
Palin pulls voters who identify with her rootsy personality
By Doug Thompson
Give Karl Rove his due. He recently wrote that of all the advantages Gov. Sarah Palin brings to the GOP ticket, the biggest might be that she has messed with Sen. Barack Obama’s mind.
The Democratic presidential nominee doesn’t know what to do about her nor understand why she’s so popular.
Throw in the minds of Obama’s biggest supporters. She’s unhinged a number of them.
Sen. John McCain picked the Alaska governor as his choice for vice-president on Aug. 29. I wrote this column on Sept. 15. Here are a few headlines from “Real Clear Politics” and “Huffington Post” from Sept. 15, 17 days after Palin was named:
“Palin Ignites Serious Debate About Governance”
“Why Feminists Hate Sarah Palin”
“Dem Surrogates Get Tough w/Palin”
“How Stupid Do They Think We Are? I Dunno. How Stupid Are We?”
“Sarah Palin: The Beauty Queen Video You’ve Been Waiting For”
Then there was Sunday’s New York Times article headlined: “Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes”
Name a successful politician who doesn’t.
Palin has an approval rating in Alaska of 86 percent. At least she has plenty of friends to choose from.
Picking Palin was an insult to the nation, a friend told me. The nation appears to disagree, I pointed out. She’s reinvigorated the Republican ticket and taking the country by storm. My friend called me, in complete seriousness, a cynic. I judge things solely by political success, not what’s good for the country.
I beg to differ. A cynic assumes the worst. I’m assuming nothing. Palin has clearly crashed Obama’s party. He may get control back. He may not. As for judging a thing by whether it works, I plead guilty to that. I suggest my Democratic friends start doing likewise.
The reaction of many Democrats to Palin’s appeal can be summarized thus: “We are not out-of-touch cultural elitists. Why does this nation of morons keep falling for that?”
A few points:
First, no group that allows the post-Bush, post-Iraq, post-Katrina presidential election to turn into a real race has the right to question anybody else’s intelligence.
Second, other people hear you while you wonder aloud about their intelligence. At least those other people are smart enough not to insult other people’s intelligence within their earshot.
Third, your really sound stupid when you quote P.T. Barnum about how nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people. I’ve had that quoted to me twice last week. H.L. Mencken said that. P.T. Barnum never said that or that there’s a sucker born every minute. Somebody who unsuccessfully sued Barnum and was chagrined to see the showman’s continued success spewed the “sucker” quote.
Fourth, and most important, maybe the reason Palin’s so successful is because Obama’s so weak.
Think it through. All the GOP needed to draw millions of voters away from Obama was a clearly unqualified rookie governor of a Western state. That says more about Obama than it does about Palin.
Alarmed that Palin is unqualified? Well, now you know how the rest of us feel.
We’re at war. Wall Street is crumbling. The Bill of Rights is shredded. We’re in recession and gas prices are through the roof. What do Democrats offer us for president? A first-term senator whose only outstanding qualification is the social statement he’d make if he were elected.
Fine. If the U.S. Presidency is about nothing but making social statements and personal identification with candidates, the Republicans will see your black man and raise you a redneck woman.
Speaking of “Redneck Woman,” I hear Gretchen Wilson’s song run through my head when I hear these anti-Palin rants:
“Some people look down on me
“But I don’t give a rip
“I’ll stand barefooted in my own front yard with a baby on my hip….
“You might think I’m trashy
“A little too hard core
“But get in my neck of the woods
“I’m just the girl next door.”
Democrats can console themselves if they lose by saying they’re more intelligent than the average American voter.
That stopped being a consolation for me during Richard Nixon’s second term.

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