The Corner

Palin Martyr Syndrome

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve detected in some of the conservative critics of Sarah Palin and, to a lesser extent, John McCain, a tendency to call attention to the fact that their position has (supposedly) made them, and their dear friends, vilified figures. Vilified in this instance means they receive angry e-mails or are on the receiving end of agitated to marginally agitated blog postings. This conveniently allows for the opportunity to inject a bit of melodrama into the whole thing.  

The point in calling attention to their persecution seems to be to remind us, in what they hope is a subtle but not too subtle way, what intrepid and independent-minded individuals they are. It might also offer them the opportunity to distance themselves from the nasty, narrow, knuckle-dragging crowd from which they stand miles apart. They are willing to sustain the slings and arrows from (gasp) the blogosphere – and in return, they get to appear on The Colbert Report, or The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, or MSNBC, or find their pieces published in prominent national newspapers.

Oh, life in this vale of tears.

It’s perfectly fine for people on the right/semi-right to criticize Governor Palin and Senator McCain, though one might hope they could marshall some serious arguments on their behalf (some Palin and McCain critics have, and some have not). I’d also prefer that the differences be expressed in a relatively civil way, on both sides. But in politics, sometimes things get rambunctious. In any event, it seems to me one thing we can do without is the Martyr Syndrome. To criticize Sarah Palin or announce you are going to vote against John McCain does not take particular courage, intellectual or otherwise. And to pretend it does is to engage in an adolescent game.

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