If you haven’t read Douthat’s song of Sarah in today’s Times, you’re in for a real treat. He blames Letterman and comes up with this doozy:
But Sarah Palin represents the democratic ideal — that anyone can grow up to be a great success story without graduating from Columbia and Harvard.
This ideal has had a tough 10 months. It’s been tarnished by Palin herself, obviously. With her missteps, scandals, dreadful interviews and self-pitying monologues, she’s botched an essential democratic role — the ordinary citizen who takes on the elites, the up-by-your-bootstraps role embodied by politicians from Andrew Jackson down to Harry Truman.[…]
Sarah Palin is beloved by millions because her rise suggested, however temporarily, that the old American aphorism about how anyone can grow up to be president might actually be true.
But her unhappy sojourn on the national stage has had a different moral: Don’t even think about it.
For now, let’s put aside the fact that Andrew Jackson was a successful general before running for president and the fact that Harry Truman had served in various public offices for 20 years before becoming president. There are plenty of ordinary Americans who can tell you what papers they read. There are plenty of ordinary Americans who don’t wink their way through job interviews. There are plenty of ordinary Americans who don’t sound like computer-generated speech.
Nothing annoys me more than the conservative myth that to be an ordinary American you have to be a moron. Although it’s probably just a corollary of the myth that to be an ordinary American you have to be conservative.