Politics & Policy

How Dare She Be a Working-Class Woman!

One retraction, but many smears.

Writers for the New York Times are still sneering at Sarah Palin and her family on a regular basis. After all, these snobs will never forgive her for going to the University of Idaho, or for having a husband who isn’t a lawyer or an investment banker, but a member of the United Steelworkers union, who doesn’t have a degree, whose mother (who is part Yupik) is a former secretary of the Alaska Federation of Natives, and whose grandmother is a member of the Curyung tribe.

But at least the New York Times has now retracted the outrageous fabrication it printed on the front-page of Tuesday’s edition: that Sarah Palin was a member of the Alaska Independence party for two years in the 1990s.

Other papers around the world continue to print this falsehood (in London, the Guardian’s front page had a banner headline which read “My fellow Alaskans”) and other lies generated by left-wing smear blogs continue to be lapped up by many in the mainstream media.

No, Sarah Palin didn’t support Pat Buchanan in the 1999-2000 campaign; she was an official on the campaign of Republican presidential contender Steve Forbes.

No, her eldest son Track (who is deploying to Iraq this week) didn’t join the National Guard because he was a drug addict.

No, her daughters Willow and Piper aren’t named after witches on TV.

No, she’s not anti-Semitic. In fact, she has an Israeli flag in her office, and quietly turned up for services at a newly opened Wasilla synagogue to pay her respects.

No, she didn’t cut funding for unwed mothers, but increased it by 354 percent (and no, the Washington Post doesn’t appear to have corrected its story about this despite being asked to do so).

But, yes, she did try to cut her own salary by $4,000 a year when she was mayor of Wasilla; and yes, she voted against the $4,000-a-year raise while on the city council.

And yes, she (like John McCain) did get it right when she supported the surge in Iraq, while Barack Obama and Joe Biden got it badly wrong.

And yes, she did take on the corrupt Republican-party establishment in Alaska, while hardly anyone is asking why Obama failed to ask questions about the notoriously corrupt Democratic-party machine in Chicago, or was happy to take huge donations from the now-jailed crook Tony Rezko.

Whatever else happens in this too-close-to call 2008 presidential election, I think we can happily conclude that America has come a long way in getting over its race problem. Thankfully, there has been very little racism directed against Barack Obama by anybody except for people on the absolute fringes.

But, as Hillary Clinton came to realize when she was given unfair treatment by the Obama-infatuated media, and as Sarah Palin has seen to a much greater extent in the period of a mere week, clearly the same cannot be said of America’s sexist problem.

Personally, I don’t find it funny when New York magazine runs a headline “Levi Johnston and Fat Girlfriend Arrive in St. Paul.” Or when the Washington Post’s online magazine, Slate, launches a “Name Bristol Palin’s Baby” contest.

Richard Cohen, leading columnist at the Washington Post thought it was acceptable (even amusing) to compare Sarah Palin to a horse, and so, judging by many of their online comments, did his readers. I don’t want to even begin imagining the outcry if the Washington Post had instead compared any other political candidate to an animal.

I’m someone who shares the Left’s purported views on equal rights, and essentially agrees with them on issues such as abortion, gays, and gun control (though firmly disagreeing with them on bigger issues such as the economy, foreign policy, and helping spread democracy abroad). But it is precisely the kind of McCarthyite-style witchhunt we have witnessed in the past week against the Palins by the Left’s phony feminists and snooty media establishment that makes me and many others I know stay well clear of the Left.

– Tom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for London’s Sunday Telegraph.

Tom GrossTom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News.

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