Monday, October 13, 2008

The McCarthy Hearings & Sarah Palin: 54 Years Later

What do Joe McCarthy and Sarah Palin have in common? Believe it or not, a lot. I'll let this letter from Norman Mailer to friends Charley and Jill Devlin, April 30, 1954, as published in a recent New Yorker, speak for itself, and I quote:

The McCarthy hearings are being televised these days, and I catch them from time to time. If you’ve never seen McCarthy you’ll have a surprise when you do. What all his critics fail to admit is that he has enormous charm and sex appeal, and a characteristic man’s man way of talking which dominates everyone around him, so that to a person ignorant of politics, he would seem just wonderful. The result is that it’s truly terrifying to watch him work, because you wonder how can this man be stopped? Yet, on the other hand it’s possibly not as bad as it seems, for I think a lot of his support is not active enthusiasm for his ideas, methods, etc., but simply the response of ignorant people to his vast and clever charm. The hope there is that when all the showdowns come, his minions may be startled to discover the ideas behind this guy they think is so great. The hope, I believe, is that he remain a reactionary. Just let him pick up a social program, and he’ll be dictator, because as a demagogue he is really extraordinary. Even hating him, you have to admire him because he’s so good at what he does. . . .

Love to you,


Just substitute Sarah Palin for McCarthy, and where Mailer refers to 'him', sub 'her' and reread it. Frightening. She seems as prone as McCarthy was to wild, unsubstantiated attacks, and fear mongering. Assuming one agrees with Mailer about McCarthy's sex appeal, it is undeniable that Palin's attractiveness and 'charm' give her a platform that probably would be denied someone less so. But, as McCarthy eventually fell from grace, inevitably, so too, will Sarah Palin; and, soon, she will be sent packing home to get ready for her reality TV show, you know is coming. (see earlier post)

P.S. By the way, her about-to-be son-in-law is now a high school dropout. Continuing the saga of Palin family values.

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