Saturday, November 21, 2009

My tribalist moment

I think I finally had my tribalist moment. As much as I like Sarah Palin and her politics, I continue to be underwhelmed by her interviews. So why, when David Brooks called her a joke, did I want to punch him in the face? Why? She's not my sister. Her populism is great, but I want to feel confident about a politician. So why am I so defensive? I never got this way when Bush was mocked.

I've decided the answer is tribalism. I'm like a black guy who gets mad when some white person calls Obama a socialist. Ms. Palin reminds me of the women from my childhood. The mannerisms, the way of talking. She's not my next door neighbor, but she could be. I call it the Fargo effect.

And it's not exactly a white thing either. It's a regional thing. Chuck Schumer could never flip on my tribal switch with his way of talking. And looks probably have something to do with it as well. There might even be a gender aspect: attacks might bring out my protective side.

Really, I'm hoping that Palin has an impact on the political culture, and that she perhaps paves the way for other conservative populists--maybe even a few from my neck of the woods.    

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