Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Sarah Palin show trial (Sarah Palin/Nikki Haley ’12)

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 6/11/11

From Washington Post coverage of Sarah Palin’s email cashe: “Palin, who since coined the phrase ‘Mama Grizzlies’ to warmly describe female conservatives, wrote an impassioned e-mail to an aide in March 2008 about criticism of female politicians: “ ‘they’ said the same thing throughout my career — ‘too young’, ‘pregnant’, ‘kids’ . . . ‘She won’t be able to do it’ . . . This coming from good ol’ boys who don’t like change . . . And so far along in my career we’ve proved them wrong at each turn.””

The good ol’ boys who don’t like change brought their women with them when they went after Palin in 2008. They also went after South Carolina’s new governor Nikki Haley with even more despicable attempts, reviving old South strategies used effectively during Jim Crow. What was telling in both these cases that women in the press stood to the side when Haley was under attack and in Palin’s case, actively initiated scrorn and contempt.

But there is a spider woman quality that lurks behind these women: Haley has since been on the cover of Newsweek and is commonly mentioned now as a vice president candidate in 2012. And South Carolina’s legislature, considered one of the worse in the country, is feeling her scourge. While those who lashed out at Palin or attempted to sandbag her (not “one of us” – she uses a Garfield calendar and reads C.S. Lewis, has children, shoots bears and eats them) like those who tapped the Egyptian crypts are followed by bad luck: Chrales Hanson and Katie Couric after deceptive, dishonest, garden path interviews are retired to the reading room after decent interval; after the giggles, Letterman found himself in a heap of trouble, and after the NYT’s, in one of the most bizarre and propagandistic pieces of front-page reporting in the history of the written word, claimed she was responsible for a mad killer’s shooting in Arizona, the editor was sent back to the trenches.

The Washington Post’s initial coverage of the Palin emails, which hordes of reporters are filing through in an unprecedented action obviously looking to publically embarrass the VP candidate of 2008. One investigative reporter reported that she once said, “Sheesh” and is this time strangely fair and eventhe NYTs and Wa Post issued open calls to readers asking them to “investigate” emails fro mher tenure as governor of Alaska.

But headlines and leads are remarkably even-handed: “A cache of e-mails released Friday add vivid new color and fresh details to the complicated public portrait of Sarah Palin, who displayed many of the same strengths, and shortcomings, as Alaska governor that she would later bring to the national political stage.”

From McClatchy Newspapers: “Emails released yesterday from Sarah Palin’s time as Alaska’s governor show a double-fisted Blackberry user fully comfortable with handling nearly every aspect of state government from her private and state email accounts.”

Prediction: This will bring an Ollie North moment. In July 1987, Oliver North, a Marine colonel, was called to testify before televised hearings of a joint Congressional committee that was investigating Iran-Contra. Cards of support which came in were left in piles on the desk. The show trial attempts flipped and Col. North became an overnight national folk hero.

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