September 27th 2008

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Malcolm Turnbull topples Brendan Nelson

EDITORIAL: Defence: new situations demand new policies

GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM: Landmark terrorist trials in Melbourne and London

FINANCIAL AFFAIRS: Why Wall Street imploded

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Australia facing external economic pressures

SCIENCE: Global-warming - myth, threat or opportunity?

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: Breaking the truce on abortion

STRAWS IN THE WIND: The undeserving poor / The bolt from the blue / Sarah Palin / Ladder-kickers / Peter Costello

UNITED STATES: Sarah Palin appointment leaves Left apoplectic

ASIA: Rocky road ahead for Malaysia

HUMAN-TRAFFICKING: Vietnamese slave-labourers in Malaysia

COLD WAR: The spy who teetered on the edge

EDUCATION: Co-educational secondary schooling's drawbacks

SCHOOLS: Queensland school bans cartwheels

Water resources (letter)

Hearing the arguments (letter)

Palin for president? (letter)

Bio-fuels (letter)

BOOKS: 10 BOOKS THAT SCREWED UP THE WORLD: And 5 Others That Didn't Help, by Benjamin Wiker

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Sarah Palin appointment leaves Left apoplectic

by Bill Muehlenberg

News Weekly, September 27, 2008
The Left likes to champion women and minorities, but only when they conform to the Left's worldview.

Boy, how the poison of the left has been gushing out. With the announcement of a genuine conservative US vice-presidential candidate, the loopy left has gone on the war-path, pushing vile smears, hatred and duplicity.

I have not seen so much nastiness for years. It's a good thing Sarah Palin is tough as nails. She will need to be.

Simply making the rounds of the leftist blogosphere shows just how much hatred and resentment there is out there. Or simply look closer to home. Check out the letters' page of the Melbourne Age, for example. There you will find one nasty comment after another about the 44-year-old Republican VP candidate.


Charges of inexperience are among the more hypocritical coming from the left. Palin has had far more experience than Democrat hopeful Barack Obama in actually running a government. As one Republican leader put it, "The facts are that Sarah Palin has made more executive decisions as a mayor and governor than Barack Obama has made in his life."

And she is only running for VP. It is Obama who wants the top job, and has next to zero experience.

The hatred of the left is evident in other ways. Consider the charges being made that Palin is merely a token female. Such accusations are laughable. The simple truth is, if Obama had picked a young female as a running-mate, the left would have been gushing about the appointment and applauding Obama's inclusivity and non-sexism. But because Palin is a conservative, a mother, a Christian, and a pro-lifer to boot, the left is livid, and is pouring out its hatred.

US columnist and National Review editor Rich Lowry picks up this theme is a recent article: "Palin-hatred is an artefact of who she is rather than anything she's done. Joe Biden famously rose from the working-class to the US Senate. Palin became governor of Alaska, but never left the working class - with her old-fashioned beehive hairdo and librarian eyeglasses, with a husband who is a commercial fisherman and works on a North Shore oil-field, and with her hobbies of fishing and hunting.

"As such, she's the object of the cultural disdain of a left that loves the working-class in theory, but is mystified or offended by its lifestyle and conservative values in reality. If there's ever been an exemplar of the rural America that, in Barack Obama's telling, 'bitterly' clings to its guns and religion, it's Sarah Palin."

Then we have the hypocrisy of the leftist feminists, who have always argued that the only good woman is a career woman. Now we have a woman who has a career, and they all of a sudden worry that she can't be a good mother! Am I missing something here? The fems have always insisted that women can have it all: work and family simultaneously. Now they seem to be not so sure.

Handicapped child

Says Lowry: "In a less-poisonous atmosphere, Palin might have diminished the intensity of the 'mommy wars'. Here were traditionalist conservatives hailing a very busy working mom with five kids, including a handicapped 4-month-old.

"But the same feminists who ordinarily dismiss stay-at-home moms as benighted betrayers of the sisterhood now question whether Palin can juggle her family and political responsibilities. Washington doyenne Sally Quinn worries about putting 'the mother of young children in a job outside the home that will demand so much of her time and energy'."

The left really does not champion minorities, be they women or blacks or what have you. What they champion are politically-correct minorities. "It's her misfortune," says Lowry of Palin, "to be a pioneer with the wrong ideology. So much bile was directed at Clarence Thomas because he was the 'wrong' kind of black man. Pro-life, pro-gun and a down-the-line, if populist, conservative, Palin is a traitor to her gender and thus encounters the sort of fury always directed at apostates."

And the hypocrisy over inexperience just does not cut it.

Says Lowry: "A lot of Palin-hatred is couched in terms of her lack of experience. Fair enough, but there's a tone of contemptuous dismissiveness about the experience that she does have - fuelled no doubt by her career in 'fly-over country' so remote no one really flies over it.

"The Obama campaign is loath to admit that she's governor of Alaska, pretending instead she's still mayor of tiny Wasilla, and the outraged commentary in the press makes it sound like the vice-presidency is an office of such import that it would be better if the newcomer were at the top of the ticket and the wizened pro at the bottom - just like the Democrats."


He concludes, "Is Palin ready to take over on Day One? No. But she's not being asked to be president on Day One, but vice-president in what will probably be a post-Cheney, more traditional model of the office. She has no less political experience than John Edwards when he was a one-term senator who had never before held elected office when he was John Kerry's running mate in 2004." (Rich Lowry, "Hating Sarah",, September 2, 2008).

The truth is, the left is enraged because it knows that Senator John McCain's choice could well be a winner, and the left may be locked out of high office for another four years. Whether that happens remains to be seen. But the more hatred, bile and nastiness we see coming from the left, the more we must think that Palin has something pretty good going for her.

- Bill Muehlenberg is a commentator on contemporary issues, and lectures in ethics and philosophy. His website CultureWatch is at:

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