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.    


  1. Hmm interesting take on anyone's enigmatic affinity for the Great Vacuous One. I think you overreached on your tribalism rationale, however...I think the greatest ingredient of tribalism on today's political scene is simple idealogy. For instance, there are plenty of Hispanic politicians with similar backgrounds as mine who nevertheless fill me with the urge to vomit (ie, Antonio Villaraigosa).

  2. Get over it _right now_.

  3. Anonymous7:43 PM

    I am sensing, Ron, that you had a big brother, filial moment, maybe even a paternal one, and you shouldn't feel bad about your reaction. She's overmatched, and you want to make the match even. No different than if someone attacked your sister.

    Yes, yes, I know, it's her own fault that she keeps putting herself out there. After all, your sister (if you have one) didn't run on a Presidential ticket (and I am sure that if you do have a sister, she is much brighter than Sarah Palin.)

    Nevertheless, you feel protective of Palin because she shares your values, your world view. That you are much more intelligent and articulate than she is what is causing your angst. When she is asked a question, you want to jump in there and answer it for her, don't you? You sense that she has the "right" gut instincts about some things, but that she cannot articulate them, right? After all, experientially, Sarah Palin and her husband do know what it means to be middle class, do know what it means to work their rears off and then have the spoils of their work given to those who don't work and who don't intend to work. (That Daddy Obama calls it "redistributing" doesn't make the Palins or you or I feel any less like suckers.)

    I'm a woman, yet I find myself welling up with rage like you, wanting to punch out the snotty Washington Post whore Sally Quinn whose elitist contempt for Palin fairly oozes out of my screen onto my carpet. I'd love to see Quinn on Palin's turf, you know, in a commercial fishing boat in a storm.

    So it's not a geographic thing. It's not a gender thing, I don't think. I think it's a class thing.
    I can't stand snobs. Truly classy people don't snicker. The snickerers are ugly. Your mother and father were probably like mine--they taught you some manners.
    Snobs have no manners.

  4. Anonymous8:15 PM

    I get dissed when I see lefty's carp about Pat Buchanan myself. I remember really feeling my eyes narrow when I read about Molly Ivins saying his 92' convention speech, "sounded better in the original German". It was such dishonest criticism, designed to obfuciate what Pat had to say and attempt to get people to not seek it out, but to be ashamed to even give it a fair look. I was concerned about the 'national question' since about 1990----when I first noticed some construction workers not native to this nation, getting jobs around town. I instinctively knew the Dems would see another constituency. I was pro-border before any of "the guys" were even aware of the impending issue. Now they are all even more intense on the subject than I am.

  5. Anonymous8:50 PM

    To anonymous,

    You know, Buchanan was non-pc, had the guts to touch on taboo subjects long before anyone else. I used to hate him. That I don't hate him anymore but rather have respect for him tells you how far I have come...or how far the country has sunk that what he said would happen is now right in front of my nose.

    Ah, Pat, sorry I didn't see more clearly earlier.

  6. The same as previous anonymous, though I never hated Buchanan. I do remember his "culture war" speech at the Republican convention, and thinking that it was over-the-top and somewhat demagogic.

    Turns out he was just looking a little farther around the curve than most of the rest of us. And of course, he was more honest.

  7. Anonymous7:25 AM

    The desire to punch David Brooks in the face seems quite normal to me. Someguy

  8. Anonymous10:24 AM

    Speaking of Pat's his latest, on test scores.

    I taught for over 30 years in the public school system. Many of us screamed loudly and fought as hard as we could: we lobbied school board members; we lobbied our own union to take a stand for the benefit of kids; we called the local newspaper; we spoke with parents. Nah, it was all for naught. We were ignored because they didn't want to hear the message. The data, our years of experience...they changed not one thing.
    Instead, those who wrote books about how every kid could achieve this or that if ONLY he were given the chance, if ONLY he had the same opportunities in life, if ONLY the state would spend more money on him, IF Only, IF ONLY, IF ONLY... were the ones whose voices were heard.

    Selective listening--boy what an oxymoron.

  9. Anonymous2:35 PM

    Palin is the only anti-corruption politician.

    That is why people like her.

    She didn't have to be a genius to spot blatant corruption in Alaska, and power elite know that she is smart enough to call it out in any other job she might get. They don't want her even as dog catcher because she is honest.

    She is the little kid who points out that the emperor has no clothes. Not a genius, just honest.

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