Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Like Watching a Man Try to Shave Himself while Blindfolded

Ramesh Ponnoru tries desperately to pretend that there is some way, any way, that the fact that liberals think Sarah Palin is both dumb *and* anti-intellectual can be made into proof that she's a genius. Was it Tbogg or Roy who pointed out that at this point the entire rationale for the conservative movement, top to bottom, is the fantasy notion that something is good if it pisses off liberals. As we know if liberals are for free universal health care conservatives must be against it. And by the same token if liberals think Sarah Palin is an idiot conservatives are honor bound to find her quite intelligent. But really, this is stretching it beyond the bounds of rationality.

Palin's Alleged Anti-Intellectualism [Ramesh Ponnuru]

Last week I asked what evidence we have that Palin is, as is often said, "anti-intellectual." Most of the feedback I got came from liberals who maintained that Palin is dumb—which, even if true, isn't the same thing. One or two readers made the valid point that some of the arguments people have made in favor of Palin belittle the importance of intelligence and learning. But again, that does not establish that Palin is hostile to the life of the mind.

A friend pointed me to Noam Scheiber's article on Palin. The Palin of Scheiber's portrayal certainly fits the label: She seethes with class and intellectual resentments. (The article does not attempt to disentangle the two.) But all of the evidence the article presents for this view comes from political enemies of Palin. They don't really even provide first-hand accounts of her flaws in action so much as they offer characterizations of what was going on inside her head. Scheiber concludes, "Could Sarah Palin despise Anne Kilkenny because Kilkenny once suggested she refrain from chewing gum? I'd like to believe it's not true. But I'm honestly not so sure." Okay. But Kilkenny got wide attention for circulating an email trashing Palin after her selection as McCain's running mate. How much do we want to bank on her impressions?