Last week, after a wait of nearly three years, a campaign to secure the publication of official e-mails from Sarah Palin's tenure as Governor of Alaska finally bore fruit. At 9 a.m. on 10 June, the state of Alaska released 24,199 pages , leading to this frenzy of speculative journalism , as reported in The New York Times:
Scores of journalists descended on Juneau this week in preparation for the release of the e-mails. MSNBC.com deputized 40 volunteers, chosen with the help of the League of Women Voters and the Retired Public Employees of Alaska. They were the reinforcements for the team of two journalists from the Web site and six more from NBC News who flew to Juneau.
The New York Times and The Guardian sent reporters armed with scanners and then solicited readers’ assistance. Politico enlisted a dozen editors, reporters and interns who worked as a team from their Northern Virginia newsroom “plowing through” the documents, as one editor described it. The Washington Post initially asked for 100 volunteers to sift through the documents. They were quickly overwhelmed with too many applicants. Unable to screen all of them, the paper abandoned the plan late Thursday, opting instead to invite reader comments.
Were news organizations Dumpster diving, as one outraged reader of The Washington Post put it?
Unfortunately, for those Dumpster divers, the e-mails revealed little of interest. In fact, their efforts to find something damaging on Palin backfired disastrously. Michael Gerson noted that all the e-mails showed was that “Palin was kind to her staff, responsive to her constituents and protective of her state. She sought God’s guidance in difficult decisions, made time for her family and found media questions on the provenance of her youngest child to be 'flippin’ unbelievable'. These revelations read more like a campaign commercial.”
A more damning assessment of the comical investigation came from Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC's Morning Joe. In a column "The Palin Obsession", Scarborough admitted that while he was one of Palin's strongest critics for her “undisciplined approach to national politics", “The national press corps once again continued its embarrassing behavior toward Palin with what seemed to be a rabid pursuit of her official e-mail records.”
Scarborough continued with the observation, “I’m sorry, but at this point the media’s fixation with Palin is getting downright creepy. And they have been strangely obsessive since she burst onto the national scene in 2008.” He noted the media's "gleeful" reaction to the internet rumour that surfaced around the time of the 2008 Republican National Convention that Palin's son Trig was not in fact hers, and lamented that the “cocktail chatter we heard during the GOP convention was equally venomous".
Which leads to the natural question, quite why do liberals hate Sarah Palin? Why do they take such immense joy from any titter that the possible Republican Presidential candidate is nothing more than an uneducated hick, even when the evidence proves --- as her recent comments on Paul Revere show --- she might have more knowledge of American history than her critics purport to possess.
The answer lies in the unsavoury, if unwitting, totalitarian tendency in liberal politics, allied with liberals' bitter astonishment when their experiments in social engineering designed to improve the lives of citizens often go disastrously wrong. Liberalism in recent history does not tolerate dissent from the central dictum of progressivism that mankind, and not God, is responsible for human freedom, and liberals believe that the only reason governments have failed to establish their own "heaven on earth" is the result of sabotage from unthinking conservative stooges of big business.
Liberals want conformity to their ideals from the admirable belief that only then can the "American Dream" become a possibility for all citizens, but, as demonstrated by the attempted destruction of the credibility of Palin, that zeal can often lead to a less-than-admirable attempt to bully opponents of the liberal credo into silence.
That is not a defense of Sarah Palin; her politics are not my politics, and she is hardly blameless when it comes to stoking the ire of her critics. But the recent fiasco over her e-mails are more revealing of the worrying delight that liberals take in attempting to destroy their opponents than in showing Palin's incompetencies to be President.
Intrade.com, where people put their money on Presidential contests, currently have Palin as a 5%, or 19-1, chance to be the Republican nominee, with a 1.5% (65-1) shot at becoming the next President. When you see those numbers --- and I trust bettors who put their money where their opinion is over any journalist --- the media's embarrassing obsession with Sarah Palin takes on the context of the tangential pursuing the salacious.
Palin is still going to have an influence on whom Republicans choose to face President Obama next year. At the moment, Mitt Romney looks like one of two possible choices for GOP voters. The other will be a conservative, who might not even be in the race yet. He/she will need a Palin endorsement as a distinguishing mark from all the other nominees running to the right of Romney. Love Palin or hate her, she still speaks the language that embodies the views of social conservatives who, as much as liberals dislike the fact, determine many elections in the states not dominated by East Coast/West Coast elitism.
Before we get to that shootout within the Republican camp, there is another story involving Palin and the media that bears watching. Last week's Republican nominee debate threw up the interesting spectacle of another confident, ideological, brash conservative woman making a strong showing in an attempt to head the GOP party. If anything Rep. Michele Bachmann, with her professed love of reading the libertarian economist Ludwig von Mises for fun on the beach, is more of a disaster for liberals than Palin. Even now,journalists must be plowing their way desultorily through the vast literature of an Austrian School economist to try and find a weakness in Bachmann's arguments when she starts explaining praxeology. And good luck to them.
How are the media going to try and damage the chances of another conservative women at becoming president, especially if Palin gives her backing to Bachmann? There is little doubt left that a liberal media bias has scuppered a Palin presidency. In that they may have done America, and the world, a favour. But to repeat that treatment on another woman, whose personal life is as far removed from the sleazy conduct of an Anthony Weiner or an Bill Clinton as can be imagined, could raise some disturbing questions not just about the values of American journalism but about American liberalism as well.
Traditionally, women were denied the right to vote because they did not possess the intellect to understand the complex issues involved in politics, they were too irrational and emotional to make an informed choice (yes, one Victorian lawmaker based his opposition to the female suffrage on their monthly loss of "pelvic power"), or they were susceptible as the weaker sex to having their vote manipulated. That is the subcontext in the patronising attacks on Sarah Palin, and suggest that the recent crusade against strong conservative women like her and Michele Bachmann is something more than comical.