Friday, November 13, 2009
Which one has the calculating eyes? Which one the charisma?
THE SHARPEST KNIFE IN THE DRAWER. Ann Althouse has now passed judgment on Sarah Palin. Amazing that she waited so long:
Sarah is Dumb...
Women have been patted on the head like that for years. It does not express more profound respect. Indeed, it often betrays disrespect under the surface. If — back when my sons were children — someone had told me that he was impressed by my work as a law professor because I was a "working mom," I would have felt insulted. Perhaps he only meant well, but I would make a mental note to be suspicious of him. The famous Samuel Johnson quote would spring to mind: "Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."
If Sarah Palin did not see the limited value of Nicolle Wallace's comment about Katie Couric, then she is too pollyannaish and unsophisticated to be trusted with presidential power. Couric is a pussycat compared to the world leaders who will smile and exude pleasantries and then stab you in the back.
And blah blah blah. A few points. Women are always nastiest to other women. Althouse, for example, has a soft spot for both the political and ethical mistakes of Al Gore. Apparently she likes doughy idiots with penises, especially if they were born to power.
At the same time, she seems curiously lacking in sympathy for a penis-deprived person who was absolutely rocketed from oblivion into a race for the presidency of the United States.
Permit me to make a few points on behalf of the female sex that the law professor Althouse seems not to think worth considering.
For example, I wrote Palin off as soon as she resigned her governor's chair. But now I'm thinking maybe I misunderestimated her. Everything I know tells me she's not ready for national office. But women have their own ways of doing things. Let me repeat that. Women have their own ways of doing things. Sarah Palin is breaking ALL the rules, every day, consistent with how she's behaved from Day One of her national celebrity. I have absolutely no idea what's she's up to. Does that make her an idiot? Maybe. Unless it makes her something brand new.
It's interesting to me that women in particular never think of other women in terms of destiny. They think of other women in terms of hard work, dues paid, credentials acquired, scandals avoided or mitigated, but never ever EVER in terms of just showing up when destiny is calling, the way Napoleon and Lincoln did.
Because most women don't think of themselves that way. At base, they know they're second rate. They have to plot and connive and wriggle into positions of power. Obey the rules. All the rules. If they deviate, even once, they're done. Toast.
Which means that the thing they hate the most is another woman who just is. I have a leg up here because I'm married to one like that. Sarah Palin breaks all the rules, recklessly, fearlessly, apparently even self-destructively. But she's a comet. None of us knows where's she'll land, how, or why. If she were a man we could describe her as a running back loose in the secondary. She could dance her way to the end zone with one counter-intuitive move after another.
But she's a woman. Which is fatal.
Except that if we're being honest about our belief in the equality of the sexes, she just might be crafting a new way. Upending all the old rules. Destiny might be on her side after all. After Obama, America might be sick to death of 'brilliance,' and want instead a candid traditionalist with five kids and a healthy openness about how easy it is to get suckered by the mass media machine.
What value might Americans place on an 'anti-politician,' one who admits she's more like us than them, one who is as demonstrably fearless as she is professedly ordinary? And far more beautiful than all her female and geeky detractors?
It's the kind of situation that's guaranteed to make most women dislike her. The women who are imitation men, that is. [Cough, cough.] But I can assure you that men are paying attention. They're not necessarily convinced yet that she's a presidential candidate. But they're prepared to be convinced. And all the woman hatred heaped on her does nothing but open their minds further.
That's all I'm saying. Althouse is an empty vessel here.
Palin's comet arc allows for plenty of mistakes and missteps. She has that smile. And that gift of honesty. We'll see what happens in the end. Oh yes we will. And the smart women will have nothing to do with that outcome. Guaranteed.