A somewhat negative reaction to my previous posting about “Sarah Palin, one week after,” provides me with an opportunity to clarify something of what I wished to argue… as well as what I did not wish to argue.
While it is a curious feature of the current political moment that the Republican Party, which has mastered the rhetorical ploy of attack and pushing rhetorical excess to the very edge of appropriateness, now cries foul when it is similarly lambasted, Romy’s point about it being time to “lay off” Sarah Palin is well taken. The first and foremost difficulty with this recommendation, of course, is that Sarah Palin, unlike the other three former candidates, continues to put herself out in plain public view, as the other three have been all but invisible, working behind closed doors on the current fiscal mess.
Governor Palin, admittedly, has little to do with that work, so she is free to adopt a more public posture. But the shockingly self-promoting quality of that public exposure, and the naked ambition it reveals should be worrisome to her supporters, and not just those who self-identify as evangelical.
My point in raising the twinned specters of her daughter and not-so-soon-to-be-son-in-law was not to be “mean,” but was rather the final link in an argument I was attempting to make. That argument went as follows:
1) This election gave the lie to the lingering “moral majority” idea fundamentalists and evangelicals can deliver Republicans the White House
2) This is especially the case because the conservative Christian population of this country is not and never was a monolith
3) Moreover, we have witnessed a profound generational shift in “conservative” Christianity since the Reverend Falwell announced the creation of the Moral Majority nearly thirty years ago.
4) And the conservative Republican establishment has yet to wake up to these facts, though this election offers them an excellent opportunity to do so.
5) As it offers the Democratic Party an opportunity to get over its allergy to conservative Christianity and to imagine new coalitions for future elections and the important legislative work ahead.
The relevance of Sarah Palin’s children in all of this was, I thought, fairly clear. If she neither understands her own children nor the younger generation of conservative Christians, then she is indeed representative of a far larger dilemma currently facing the Republican Party. And her continued battery of interviews and such only makes clearer her lack of reflexivity on these very points.