Sarah Palin, Folksiness, and Class

The argument that Sarah Palin is a real person of working-class values versus a politician from another, wealthier planet pops up a lot. I personally have never gotten the impression that she’s a spunky ball of ole fashioned, small-town wisdom and wit that’s shedding light upon all of us. My reasoning goes like this:

  1. I live part-time in rural America. I have had the opportunity to meet many highly intelligent individuals who are “plain-spoken” if not downright “folksy” and working-class. Sarah Palin does not remotely resemble any of these people.
  2. I live part-time in a major American city of great diversity. I have had the opportunity to meet many college-educated, upper-middle class to wealthy individuals who lack sense and intelligence. Sarah Palin resembles these people.
  3. The amount of money you have doesn’t indicate your intelligence.
  4. Lying and spewing nonsense is very equal opportunity.

I think Joe Biden getting emotional on-stage when talking about what it feels like to lose a child was genuine and classy. It only highlighted how fraudulent the hype around Sarah Palin is. Or, to put it more kindly, how clearly McCain is using her as a gimmick. I’m she she’s a person capable of much good and love, but you wouldn’t know it from the Hollywoodesque narrative that the McCain campaign has spun around her. The latest gimmick the McCain campaign is using is that she “killed” during the vice-presidential debate. Now Republicans want to revel in slaughter? Even high school and college athletic programs have the sportsmanship to avoid language like that when speaking of opponents.

And what struck me during the debate was the look of contempt on Palin’s face when Gwen Ifill asked her and Biden to talk about their Achilles heels. Joe did it and he did it very clearly and with humility. But Palin refused to answer. She looks like she’s walking around with a perpetual chip on her shoulder pads. I got the same vibe from Palin when Katie Couric asked her in their interviews why she had gotten a passport only in the last year. Palin replied that she wasn’t from one of those “kinds of families” that send you off with a “passport and a backpack”.

Sarah Palin’s personality has an edge of thinly veiled hostility. It has neither classiness nor folksiness.


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