The XX Factor

Is George F. Will’s Dislike of Palin Really News?

On today’s  Politico home page, the lead story, accompanied by a picture of an uncharacteristically chastened-looking Sarah Palin, is titled ” ’ She’s Becoming Al Sharpton, Alaska Edition .’ ” That line comes from the Weekly Standard’s Matt Labash, who is one of several conservative intellectuals quoted in the piece slagging Palin for her eagerness to play identity politics. The victim pose, so beloved by Palin, is antithetical to the philosophy shared by all the GOP’s great thinkers, they say. (Other leading conservative lights quoted include Heather Mac Donald, Charles Krauthammer,  and Peter Wehner.) According to George F. Will, Palin’s ascent mars the lineage of the modern conservative movement: “There’s no Reagan without Goldwater, no Goldwater without National Review and no National Review without Buckley – and the contrast between he and Ms. Palin is obvious.”

That may very well be, but the framing of the  Politico story strikes me as a little intellectually dishonest. There has indeed been a recent-ish movement away from Palin support in some conservative intellectual circles where there were fans formerly to be found, as I  wrote in a recent story , but none of the thinkers in the  Politico piece have ever been big Palin boosters; many were harsh critics from the start.  To anyone who follows that world even slightly, it’s  not exactly news that George Will dislikes Palin , even if his critique has lately been bolstered by some of her more aggressive victimhood-mongering grudges.   Politico might have gotten some grabby quotes, but I have to think the piece was perhaps written largely for the benefit of a certain crowd of Republicans who a) don’t want Palin to run and b) are important  Politico sources.