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Conservatives fear Palin (Politico front page)

Blaring across Politico's front page atop a picture of Sarah Palin:

'She's becoming Al Sharpton, Alaska edition'

The quote comes from this piece by Jonathan Martin and Jim VandeHei about how conservative elites fear a Sarah Palin candidacy:

Palin’s politics of grievance and group identity, according to these critics, is a betrayal of conservative principles. For decades, it was a standard line of the right that liberals cynically promoted victimhood to achieve their goals, and that they practiced the politics of identity—race, sex and class—over ideas.

Among those taking aim at Palin in recent interviews with POLITICO are George F. Will, the elder statesman of conservative columnists; Peter Wehner, a top strategist in George W. Bush’s White House, and Heather Mac Donald, a leading voice with the right-leaning Manhattan Institute.

Matt Labash, a longtime writer for the Weekly Standard, said that because of Palin’s frequent appeals to victimhood and group grievance, “She’s becoming Al Sharpton, Alaska edition.”

Obviously, it's hilarious to see conservative elites freak out about Sarah Palin. I mean, for all her talk about how liberals want to shut her up, it's actually the elites in her own party that would like her to keep quiet. Most Democrats would pay her filing if she chooses to run for president.

Conservative elites didn't complain
about the southern strategy or when
Helms played the victim card vs. Gantt.
("Hands" ad from Helms' 1990 campaign.)

But the really funny thing is that the conservative elites who are freaking out about Palin always playing the victim card are they very same people who came up with the southern strategy and who have reliably used cultural politics in election after election. I don't recall any conservative outrage over the Jesse Helms "hands ad," yet that was an even more severe form of identity politics than anything Sarah Palin has ever done.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not defending Sarah Palin. She's an utter joke, a total embarrassment to the GOP. But she's been a joke all along, ever since John McCain picked her as his running mate. And all the people now complaining about her on the right actually voted for her to become vice president of the United States. Now they are trying to claim a principled reason for opposing her, but the truth is the only reason they don't like her is because they think she's politically toxic. They are right, but there's nothing principled about it at all.

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