Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Wall Street Journal on Why the Media Bashes Gov. Palin: "The Beltway Boys" [UPDATED]

(Hat tip: Ed Morrissey)


No sooner had I made this comment in reference to the FOXNews program "The Beltway Boys" on my post about how D.C. pundits are out of touch, than I came across this editorial at The Wall Street Journal:

Even as the Obama camp ponders how best to handle John McCain's veep pick of Sarah Palin, the high priests and priestesses of the media have marked her as an apostate. The Beltway class is in full-throated rebellion against a nondomesticated conservative who might pose a threat to their coronation of Barack Obama and the return of Camelot-on-the-Potomac.

This is the same media whose chant for weeks -- no, months -- has been "let McCain be McCain." If we know anything about John McCain, it is that he is by instinct a reformer, sometimes to a fault. Yet when he acts like McCain and picks a maverick reformer in his own mold, his former media cheering squad turns on him for not conforming to Beltway mores and picking someone they've all met 10 times in the CNN green room.

They want a VP to be a kind of parliamentary choice, someone they have already vetted, someone who's made them laugh with insider jokes at the Gridiron dinner. The Beltway class whines constantly about how it wants fresh voices in politics, but we guess this means a first-term Democratic Senator rather than a first-term Republican Governor from some godforsaken U.S. state few of them have ever been to.

We are instructed that Mrs. Palin isn't qualified, because she lacks Washington experience. But until recently that was said to be a virtue in Mr. Obama, who is at the top of his ticket. Meanwhile, there's hardly a peep of media notice that the Obama campaign is preposterously trying to remake Joe Biden into a poor scrapper from Scranton when he's been in the Senate for 36 years. They all know Joe. But when Mr. McCain picks an authentic middle-class mother who is also a Governor, we are told she's not up to the job.

The press in 2000 ignored marijuana use by Al Gore's son, as it should have. But now we are told a teenage pregnancy is going to raise second thoughts among evangelicals and "family values voters" about Mrs. Palin's ability to be both a mother and a public official. This is also false.

Leaving aside the embarrassing reality that the Beltway press corps barely knows any evangelicals, religious leaders this week greeted the pregnancy news with support for the Palins. Offering support for unwed pregnant women and their families is a primary activity of these churches from one end of America to the other. That might even make a good story for someone this weekend.

What's really going on here is that the Beltway class can see how popular the Palin pick is with Republicans outside Washington, and especially with middle-class conservatives. As Richard Land, a leader with the Southern Baptist Convention, said Monday, John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin closed the "enthusiasm gap" between the two parties.

There is nothing more dangerous to entrenched Washington power than a populist conservative who looks unlikely to buy into Washington's creature comforts. Take a close look at Governor Palin's record on ethics and energy in Alaska, and it becomes clear what this Beltway outburst is actually about. The irony is that while Senator Obama is running on change, his acceptance speech made explicit that he's promising only more power and money for Washington. Sarah Palin's history of taking on the career politicians of a corrupt Alaskan GOP machine -- her own party -- shows that she's the more authentic change agent.

(emphasis added)

My Comments:
Nail on the head.

The bit about laughing at each others' insider jokes particularly strikes a chord after I watched Fred Barnes and Bill Kristol smirking and guffawing at Sen. Lieberman's "inside joke" about Sen. Lindsay Graham last night during the FOXNews convention coverage. When panelist moderator Brit Hume asked Barnes to share with those watching at home just what was so funny, Barnes basically gave an answer that was the equivalent of "It's a D.C. thing, they wouldn't understand."

Hey, fellas, just an FYI. Playing Beltway grab-ass in front of a nationally televised audience is indicative of just how far out of touch you are with the grassroots, and isn't likely to endear you to the great unwashed out here in flyover country.

Again in The Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan seems to get it:

... Because she jumbles up so many cultural categories, because she is a feminist not in the Yale Gender Studies sense but the How Do I Reload This Thang way, because she is a woman who in style, history, moxie and femininity is exactly like a normal American feminist and not an Abstract Theory feminist; because she wears makeup and heels and eats mooseburgers and is Alaska Tough, as Time magazine put it; because she is conservative, and pro-2nd Amendment and pro-life; and because conservatives can smell this sort of thing -- who is really one of them and who is not -- and will fight to the death for one of their beleaguered own; because of all of this she is a real and present danger to the American left, and to a future Obama candidacy.

She could become a transformative political presence.

So they are going to have to kill her, and kill her quick.

And it's going to be brutal. It's already getting there.

I think the left will go hard on this: Fringe. Radical. What goes on in her church? Isn't she extreme? Does she really think God wants a pipeline? What does Sarah Barracuda really mean? They're going to try and make her strange, outré, oddball. And not in a good way.

In all this, and in its involvement in this week's ritual humiliation of a 17-year-old girl, the mainstream press may seriously overplay its hand, and court a backlash that impacts the election. More on that in a moment.

I'll tell you how powerful Mrs. Palin already is: she reignited the culture wars just by showing up. She scrambled the battle lines, too. The crustiest old Republican men are shouting "Sexism!" when she's slammed. Pro-woman Democrats are saying she must be a bad mother to be all ambitious with kids in the house...

Let me say of myself and almost everyone I know in the press, all the chattering classes and political strategists and inside dopesters of the Amtrak Acela Line: We live in a bubble and have around us bubble people. We are Bubbleheads. We know this and try to compensate for it by taking road trips through the continent -- we're on one now, in Minneapolis -- where we talk to normal people. But we soon forget the pithy, knowing thing the garage mechanic said in the diner, and anyway we weren't there long enough in the continent to KNOW, to absorb. We view through a prism of hyper-sophistication, and judge by the rules of Chevy Chase and Greenwich, of Cleveland Park and McLean, of Bronxville and Manhattan.

And when you forget you're a Bubblehead you get in trouble, you misjudge things. For one thing, you assume evangelical Christians will be appalled and left agitated by the circumstances of Mrs. Palin's daughter. But modern American evangelicals are among the last people who'd judge her harshly. It is the left that is about to go crazy with Puritan judgments; it is the right that is about to show what mellow looks like. Religious conservatives know something's wrong with us, that man's a mess. They are not left dazed by the latest applications of this fact. "This just in – there's a lot of sinning going on out there" is not a headline they'd understand to be news.

So the media's going to wait for the Christian right to rise up and condemn Mrs. Palin, and they're not going to do it because it's not their way, and in any case her problems are their problems. Christians lived through the second half of the 20th century, and the first years of the 21st. They weren't immune from the culture, they just eventually broke from it, or came to hold themselves in some ways apart from it. I think the media will explain the lack of condemnation as "Republican loyalty" and "talking points." But that's not what it will be.

Another Bubblehead blind spot. I'm bumping into a lot of critics who do not buy the legitimacy of small town mayorship (Palin had two terms in Wasilla, Alaska, population 9,000 or so) and executive as opposed to legislative experience. But executives, even of small towns, run something. There are 262 cities in this country with a population of 100,000 or more. But there are close to a hundred thousand small towns with ten thousand people or less. "You do the math," the conservative pollster Kellyanne Conway told me. "We are a nation of Wasillas, not Chicagos."

But reporting that carries an agenda, that carries Bubblehead assumptions and puts them forth as obvious truths? Well, some people want that. But if I were doing a business model for broadsheets and broadcast networks I'd say: Fact and data are our product, we're putting everything into reporting, that's what we're selling, interpretation is the reader's job, and think pieces are for the edit page where we put the hardy, blabby hacks.

That was a long way of saying: Dig deep into Sarah Palin, get all you can, talk to everybody, get every vote, every quote, tell us of her career and life, she may be the next vice president. But don't play games. And leave her kid alone, bitch.
[ED.: I think she's talking about you, Campbell Brown, you ignorant slut. (With apologies to Dan Ackroyd and Jane Curtain of Saturday Night Live.)]

(emphasis added)

God bless you, Peggy Noonan. I don't always agree with you and often cringe at your melodramatic style and tone. But when you're on, you're on, baby!

Noonan, Murphy trash Palin on hot mic: "It's over"

Peggy Noonan reveals herself to be a hypocrite and a liar. And just as elitist as the media snobs she criticizes in her Wall Street Journal piece. So she gets paid to write one thing in the Journal, but then when she thinks no one is listening, let's loose with how she really feels in her "Bubblehead" heart of hearts. What a fraud!

Listen for yourself.

The notoriously self-promoting Noonan must be pissed that she wasn't tapped to write Sen. McCain's speech.

Bitter much, Peggy?

The Wall Street Journal pretty much has to fire Noonan after this, don't they? At least to maintain any credibility after the column that she wrote today turns out to be a complete fraud. I mean, what credibility does Noonan have left at this point?

I'm not the only one noticing that it's not just liberal elitist pundits, but that it's also the "conservative" Beltway pundit class who are showing their arses in regard to the Palin pick. A commenter at HotAir in response to the fraud Peggy Noonan:
It is freakin’ Dawn of the Dead out there with respect to beltway “conservatives”.

Another commenter at HotAir:
Noonan doesn’t get it [ED.: In fact, she admits as much in her WSJ piece.] because this pick is not designed to appeal to Noonan, or any of her close friends. This pick is designed to appeal to the 99.9% of the country that has never been to a smart Inside-DC coctail party, and wouldn’t want to go even if they were invited.

Sarah Palin is the real deal. These morons have been dealing with fake imposters for so long, they cannot ever see this simple truth.

Hey, Peggy. Sucks to be you tonight.

I got your "narrative bulls*** " right here.

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At 9/03/2008 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"and because conservatives can smell this sort of thing -- who is really one of them and who is not -- and will fight to the death for one of their beleaguered own; because of all of this she is a real and present danger to the American left, and to a future Obama candidacy."

Nails it, nails it, nails it! She is one of us and I will do everything in my small power to help her get elected. The liberals aren't aware of it yet, but their attacks on Palin have transformed an election into a crusade for conservatives.

At 9/03/2008 12:21 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

Exactly. The pundit class (even among conservatives) just can't grasp the fact that my wife went from moribund disinterest to suddenly being ecstatic about this election. It hasn't occurred to them that Gov. Palin connects with families like mine on a gut level.

At 9/03/2008 4:48 PM, Blogger Dale said...

Agreed on Noonan getting the boot from WSJ. This incident pretty much trashes her. She's selling her opinion, and it's clear that she's willing to be a mercenary who tells you what she thinks you want to hear, not what she actually thinks. Not a technical fraud, but a moral one, at least in this instance.

At 9/03/2008 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What a fraud!"

True, although I think her column is still accurate even though she doesn't believe a word of it. I wonder what she really believes and if she knows now. Reminds me of the screwtape letters and the observation of how some humans adopt different attitudes depending upon the groups they find themselves among, until their true attitudes are a mystery even to themselves. Of course the fact that Noonan wrote a column which she does not believe does not alter my opinion one whit that the column will prove prophetic.

At 9/03/2008 7:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Noonan attempts to explain her remarks. Good luck with that Peggy you two-faced scribe!

At 9/04/2008 1:07 AM, Blogger Tito Edwards said...

Jay (and Donald),

Excellent roundup of news, especially on Noonan.

Wow, the beltway crowd really is out of touch with America.

At 9/04/2008 10:37 AM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

Wow. I always so liked Peggy Noonan's writing.

This is seriously disappointing.

At 9/17/2008 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah Palin is not one of us. She is a extremist. She connects to the fear and hate in us at a gut level.


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