Frank Rich Plays Race Card on Palin Fans
Frank Rich is one political pundit who takes Levi Johnston's empty threats against his former future mother-in-law Sarah Palin seriously. Though to most observers Johnston's threats sound like false bravado, Rich's Sunday hit piece on Sarah Palin's hit book suggested the former VP candidate is scared of what family secrets Johnston might spill.
Equally revealing is the one boldfaced name conspicuously left unmentioned in the book: Levi Johnston, the father of Palin's grandchild. Though Palin and McCain milked him for photo ops at the Republican convention, he is persona non grata now that he's taking off his campaign wardrobe. Is Johnston's fledgling porn career the problem, or is it his public threats to strip bare Palin family secrets as well? "She knows what I got on her" is how he put it. In Palin's interview with Oprah last week, it was questioning about Johnston, not Katie Couric, that made her nervous.
Later on Rich took a more sinister tone. Writing on Palin's demographic appeal, Rich played the race card several times, inviting readers to count the white faces at her rallies.
That demographic is white and non-urban: Just look at the stops and the faces on her carefully calibrated book tour. The affect is emotional - the angry air of grievance that emerged first at her campaign rallies in 2008, with their shrieked threats to Obama, and that has since resurfaced in the Hitler-fixated "tea party" movement (which she endorses in her book). It's a politics of victimization and sloganeering with no policy solutions required beyond the conservative mantra of No Taxes. Its standard-bearer can make stuff up with impunity.
Rich probably thinks he's being even-handed in this passage by blaming the attacks on Obama on the bad economy as well as (of course) conservative racism:
Culture is politics. Palin is at the red-hot center of age-old American resentments that have boiled up both from the ascent of our first black president and from the intractability of the Great Recession for those Americans who haven't benefited from bailouts.
Does Rich truly think that conservatives wouldn't vote for a black candidate who vowed to cut taxes and reduce the size of government? Did Rich miss the ire big-spending President Clinton inspired, which had nothing to do with Clinton's skin tone and everything to do with his liberal policies?