Middling scenarios? McCain would have served out his term and Palin would haven’t learned anything more than how to attend lots of state funerals and weddings. Or McCain would not have served out his term and Palin - with help from everyone in government who would have rallied around in time of crisis - would have proved her mettle and done a decent job as President.
At the same time, I understand there are lots of people who don’t like Sarah Palin in that visceral sort of way one likes or dislikes public figures. I also understand that there are people who thinks she’s not smart enough, too naive, too far right, not experienced enough, not intellectually curious enough to ever be seriously considered as Vice-Presidential material, much less Presidential material. That’s their prerogative and they may be at least partially right. I have some very similar thoughts about Barack Obama.
What I don’t understand is why so many people hate Sarah Palin. I mean really, really hate her. They can’t just ignore her and they can’t mention her without saying something ugly. They think every form of misogynistic insult is perfectly justified as long as it’s directed at Palin. They’re happy - really, really happy - to attack her children. They sound exactly like some bitter drunk who can’t stop talking about his or her ex, who left for a younger, more attractive lover and got the kids, the cars, the house, and the bank accounts. It is quite possibly the most bizarre phenomenon I’ve ever witnessed in politics.
As it happens, three of the bloggers I read regularly are writing about this very phenomenon - from three very different points of view. Reclusive Leftist writes about Fear of women:
... our nation is also in the grip of some kind of atavistic looming fear of women as evil monsters. Sarah Palin is no weirder than most Republican politicians; [snip] Yet based on the media coverage of the woman, you’d think she was the greatest threat to western civilization since the Battle of Tours.
All of her writing about the attack-Palin phenomenon is must reading and this post is no exception.
Megan McArdle presents the best brief summary I’ve seen of the Newsweek problem and coins the term Palinoia (perfect word, perfect concept):
It's when you think people are out to get you, and then they do their best to justify your erroneous belief.
There seems to be an unhealthy obsession with tearing her down. And really, guys, if you'll just back off a little, she'll do the job for you. Have you seen that resignation speech? How about we all act like she's a former governor and vice presidential candidate, rather than Public Enemy #1?
This, of course, is one of the most bizarre aspects of Palin Derangement Syndrome. People were also deranged when it came to George W. Bush but at least he was, like, you know, the President so he couldn't just be ignored. Palin holds no office, has no political position. If she’s as bad as her detractors think, she’s going to disappear without a trace when her fifteen minutes of fame are up. Why the compulsion to keep bashing her?
Meanwhile, Eric at Grim’s Hall quotes and links to InstaPunk, a blogger I don’t read. InstaPunk’s piece, Hating Sarah Palin, contains some language that I, as a feminist, can’t countenance but he asks the right question (emphasis his):
But here's what I don't get. Hating Sarah Palin. That's my whole point here. Think about it. Who do you have to be to hate Sarah Palin?
I can’t pick just one part of his answer to quote - you have to read the whole thing.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I really hope I’m alive 20 or 30 years from now when sociologists and political scientists look back at the Presidential campaign of 2008 and its aftermath and explain what the heck was going on with all the people who hated - truly hated - Sarah Palin.