Friday, October 24, 2008

Palin Channels Pat Nixon

Across a divide of decades, Sarah Palin is openly fueling the class-based resentment that motivated the Nixons in the 1960s but could only be expressed back then in coded terms like "the silent majority."

In her interview with Brian Williams last night, Palin evoked memories of what Pat Nixon let slip publicly only once in 1968 in an interview with Gloria Steinem, whose status as one of "The Beautiful People" triggered a monologue of aggrieved self-pity.

Asked to describe members of the elite she rails against on the campaign trail, Palin answered, "Oh, I guess just people who think that they’re better than anyone else. John McCain and I are so committed to serving every American. Hard-working, middle-class Americans...So anyone who thinks that they are--I guess--better than anyone else, that’s my definition of elitism.

"So it’s not education?" Williams pressed. "It’s not income-based? A state of mind? It’s not geography?"

"Anyone who thinks that they’re better than someone else," Palin repeated firmly.

This echoes what happened when Steinem asked Pat Nixon to define herself and opened a floodgate of resentment that sounded like "a long accusation":

"I never had time," Pat Nixon answered, "to think about things like that--who I wanted to be, or who I admired or to have ideas. I never had time to dream about being anyone else. I had to work. My parents died when I was a teen-ager, and I had to work my way through college. I drove people all the way cross-country so I could get to New York and take training as an X-ray technician so I could work my way through college. I worked in a bank when Dick was in service...

"I don't have time to worry about who I admire or who I identify with. I've never had it easy. I'm not like all you...all those people who had it easy."

Back then, Pat Nixon felt she had to hide those feelings. Now Palin is building a career on expressing them out loud,

1 comment:

Mike said...

Isn't buying a new wardrobe from Neiman Marcus and Saks the act of somoene who "thinks that they’re better than someone else"?

Let's assume that Palin needed a new wardrobe. Hunter orange and camouflage don't appeal on the campaign trail, after all. OK, then why not buy from TJ Maxx and Target - you know, places where everyday working Americans shop? Wouldn't that be better than buying from "elite" places?

Fuck, her stupidity and lack of self-awareness is stunning.