Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Last Palin post, unless something even sillier happens

It's starting to look like the Republicans have a shot at winning... by acting like Democrats. And not in the Douthat-Salam helping-families way, but in the politically-correct, who-am-I-to-judge one. As conservative writer Heather MacDonald had pointed out, the Palin pick was a diversity pick. But the Republican embrace of the worst of Democratic pandering extends beyond the obvious: since when are the Republicans the party of relative values, the one that sees a family of children with silly names, that sees teen fathers who take the time to get tattoos of the names of the girls they knock up but do not exactly rush to the altar, and that says, hey, who's to judge? To judge would not have to mean judging the individuals or to claim that one somehow holds the high ground. Everyone makes mistakes and all that. But no one's even permitted to judge the behavior, to say, it's not a bad idea to give your children real names, or to do everything you can to prevent your teen children from having babies. As MacDonald points out, Stanley Palin wouldn't have had a shot. Well, (and I know I'm not the first to suggest this, but...) if the Palin brood were black and urban rather than white and rural, it's hard to imagine the same levels of enthusiasm. Commentators would see Bristol as unmarried, not affianced. (I know they're busy and all, but there's always Vegas.) But once 'cleaned up' and in the boy's case de-mulletted, Levi and Bristol look convincingly like white kids from wealthy suburbs, so we're supposed to respect their decisions. I read all over the place about what a 'good family' the Palins are. It's one thing to say, we all have our problems, but since when does anything about this set merit 'good'?

For years, Republicans have not found it too elitist or too snobby to demand better behavior from inner-city blacks. The right direction for conservatism to take, to retain its core values while eschewing the racism of the movement's past, would have been to expect the best from working-class, rural whites as well, to hold everyone to a higher standard. But we're now in the politics of the lowest-common-denominator. The rural lower classes are free to judge the 'elites' (a group including not only the wealthy, but also anyone who's done to college, who lives in a city, and so on, so as to include all but the lowest of the low), but the urban and/or educated are forced--this time by the right--to withhold judgment. But of course, the 'coastal elites' are used to tolerating all lifestyles. What we're left with is a political scene in which the only intolerance we permit is of the educated and the sexually responsible.

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