Jennifer Rubin Tries to Explain “Why Jews Hate Palin”
I don’t think she does a very good job, though. Even worse, though, is David Frum’s counter-essay, titled "Do Jews Hate Palin?" Even worse – by a good Cheechako mile (that’s 150 yards) – is the coverage of both articles at Conservatives4Palin.
Jennifer Rubin is a contributing editor at Commentary Magazine, one of the pillars of both neo-con and neo-lib Jewish polemical writing. I used to be a big fan, subscribing to the magazine for a while in the 1970s, because of the high quality of writing there. I lapsed, when my support for militant Zionism lapsed, during the Lebanon invasion of 1982.
Here’s Rubin’s short, one-paragraph essay in its entirety:
For more than a year, Sarah Palin has been a national Rorschach test. The views expressed about her reveal the distinctions and conflicting perceptions of often antagonistic groups of Americans—the religious and the secular, the conservative and the liberal, the urban and the small town, the elitist and the populist. And now, with the publication of her autobiography, Going Rogue, and Matthew Continetti’s The Persecution of Sarah Palin, the Rorschach tests are being administered anew, and with increasing fervor. For her conservative admirers, she continues to exemplify independence, moxie, common sense, the superiority of the common American over the nation’s elites, and the embodiment of modern womanhood and Christian faith. For her detractors, both conservative and liberal, she is uncouth, unschooled, a hick, anti-science and anti-intellectual, an upstart, and a religious fanatic. There is no group so firmly in the latter camp as American Jews. And there is much to learn in their reaction to Palin, both about her and about the sociological makeup of American Jewry today. While Palin enjoys support from some prominent Jewish conservatives, it is not an exaggeration to say that, more so than any other major political figure in recent memory (with the possible exception of Patrick J. Buchanan), she rubs Jews the wrong way. In a September 2008 poll by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), Jews disapproved of Palin as the pick for McCain’s vice-presidential running mate by a 54 to 37 percent margin. (By contrast, 73 percent approved of the selection of Joseph Biden as Obama’s.) Ask an average American Jew about Palin and you are likely to get a nonverbal response—a shiver, a shudder, a roll of the eyes, or a guffaw. Naomi Wolf, the feminist writer, sputtered that Palin was the “FrankenBarbie of the Rove-Cheney cabal,” articulating the mixture of contempt and fear that seemed to grip many Jewish women. The disdain is palpable and largely emotional. While 78 percent of American Jews voted for the Obama-Biden ticket, it is fair to say that most did not harbor animosity toward or contempt for Senator John McCain; the same cannot be said of their view of Palin. Prominent Jews like Reagan-era arms-control official Kenneth Adelman, who expressed great admiration for McCain, proclaimed that the selection of Palin was beyond reason: “Not only is Sarah Palin not close to being acceptable in high office, I would not have hired her for even a mid-level post in the arms-control agency.”
David Frum, in his reply, seems to misdirect some of the straightforward terminology used by Rubin. He never specifically addresses Rubin’s concerns about Palin’s "anti-science" record, nor some other important issues. Frum reformulates Rubin’s list into four categories:
First, says Rubin, Jews greatly value (and possibly over-value) formal credentials.
Second, Rubin continues, Jews under-value traditional American folkways: hunting, fishing, the frontier, military enlistment.
Third, Jews disdain working class occupations like those in which Palin labored.
Fourth and last, Jews hate Palin because Jews disapprove of large families – and especially because Jews quietly favor the abortion of disabled children.
That’s not quite what I got out of Ms. Rubin’s exposition of reasons. Apparently, David likes lists.
He does finish his essay on a strong point, though:
If American Jews have a problem with Palin, Rubin is right that problem 1 is that they – we – doubt her intellectual capacity for the job. But that’s only the start of the list of problems.
Ignorance is bad. But we all start ignorant. Jews – again like other people, only more so – expect their leaders to start early and to work hard to remedy their ignorance, by learning things. People who don’t, won’t or can’t learn – whose followers disparage the value or need to learn – are going to forfeit Jewish support, and not only Jewish support.
But even this is not the worst of it. Just guessing, but I think the real and most fundamental problem Jews have with Palin is not her gleeful ignorance, but her willful divisiveness. More than any politician in memory, Palin seems to divide her fellow-Americans into first class and second class citizens, real Americans and not-so-real Americans. To do her justice, she has never said anything to suggest that Jews as Jews fall into the second, less-real, class. But Jews do tend to have an intuition that when this sort of line-drawing is done, we are likely to find ourselves on the wrong side.
Over at the C4P, the commenters are glomping onto Frum as a traitor – he was a GWB speech writer (and perhaps Bush’s best, though that isn’t saying much). Here’s a taste of the C4P babble:
We adore Mark Steyn because he’s Reagan-like in his beliefs.
Frum is an idiot, he and Rubin got it all worng. Jews for the most "LIKE" Palin. She stands for everything they stand for. Sure some progressive jews don’t like her but in the same way any typical liberal progressive.
Frum and his wife Danille Crittenden can be counted among the liberal Jews who don’t like Palin. You can add to that Debbie whatshername, the woman who threatened to turn me into the FBI along with the Muslims who are harassing her if I continue to post on her website, David Axelrod, and David Brooks (who sleeps with 0bama’s pants under his pillow.)
Who’s David Frum…..or an even better question, why would any person with am IQ greater than their age ever consider listening to him?
Ah, the Sea of Peeeee………
Frum is getting some more prescient comments at his article, than you’ll find at C4P (though they’re just getting started at the sea). Here’s from Frum’s blog’s commenters:
Plus, Sarah Palin appears to be catering to the Religious Right part of the GOP. That’s the part that thinks that America is a “Christian nation.” Jews know that historically, they didn’t do well in nations whose governments considered themselves duty bound to enforce Christianity. Jews believe, with some justification, that they did well in America precisely because the Constitution does not enforce an official religion.
That whole rooting for the Rapture and the destruction of Israel by the Anti-Christ probably doesn’t endear her to them too much.
Truth is, Palin polls best in parts of the country with the worst school systems and the lowest numbers of residents with college degrees. Take that however you want it, but that’s the way it is.
Willful divisiveness is what turned me permanently 100% off. Engaging the willful divisiveness strategy was chilling and I’m not Jewish. Pitching patriotism with a wink and smile while stirring the vicious pot is a sales tactic the GOP should not revisit
In Alaska, I’ve had a lot of discussions with Jewish politicians, writers, bloggers and relatives about Sarah Palin. I can’t think of one who continues to trust her. It is interesting that neither Rubin nor Frum makes much of a strong suit over the plain fact that Palin is the most pathetically congenital liar of 21st century politics.
Among Alaska politicians, I can think of three prominent Jews who initially were warm about some of her governing policies, but eventually regarded her as the junk thinker she is:
Ethan Berkowitz enthusiastically worked with Wev Shea to create a Palin-directed "White Paper" on legislative ethics reform. He’s related to me, though, that he was shocked at the divisiveness Palin seemed to relish in the fall of 2008. Earlier in 2008, he was becoming disappointed, as were many of us, in the way the Palin administration was becoming secretive, especially regarding the case of Rick Steiner’s request for scientific correspondence on Polar bears from state agencies.
Les Gara, during Troopergate, went from having been a sometime Palin ally in the 2008 legislative session, to a fiercely articulate critic.
Both Ethan and Les are Democrats. Republican Jay Ramras (who, like Berkowitz and Gara, considers himself part of the Alaska "Yamacaucus," or "frozen chosen"), was lambasted by Palin during the food-and-fuel crisis on the lower Yukon last winter, in a totally foolish press release (that has since disappeared):
The governor also expressed concern about inaccurate comments made to the media by Representative Jay Ramras that the state has failed to make state assets available to deliver supplies to communities.
“We are working cooperatively with the communities, many legislators, Native corporations, and other entities to address the needs in these areas,” Governor Palin said. “I am disappointed that Representative Ramras failed to express his concerns to my office before issuing a press release with incomplete and misleading information. This is particularly concerning since he knew I would be attending a meeting with his entire caucus that evening. Representative Ramras did not mention the specific issue of using state assets to me personally at the meeting. Instead, I read about it later in the press release. Truly Alaskans deserve better than that kind of ‘politics as usual’ (God she loves this phrase!). It is unfortunate that the representative sees this as an opportunity to play politics rather than help in the response."
Jay shot right back:
"I am shocked and appalled that Governor Palin would stoop to making derogatory statements about me," Ramras said. "My question to her during our caucus last night was ‘where is the food?’ In my interactions with her own administration I have spoken with Lieutenant General Craig Campbell from the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs; Commissioner Joe Masters from the Department of Public Safety; Commissioner Emil Notti from the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development; her Deputy Chief of Staff Randy Ruaro, and numerous others since we first learned of the hardships in Emmonak and Western Alaska. In my press release, I acknowledged that DPS, after much pleading, provided a small plane for transport from Bethel to Kotlik.
"That the governor would accuse me of politicizing the current economic situation in the Lower Yukon strikes me as fool-hardy and Clinton-esque," Ramras added. "I introduced House Bill 114 yesterday. That was the subject of the press release. And I am offended that the governor would call my service into question. I have been organizing food and supply drives for needy Alaska communities and groups for years, and spoke on the House Floor yesterday about the success we’ve seen thanks to the many groups that have come together over the last few weeks to help. I pointed to her lack of leadership on this issue; I didn’t do it politically, I did it because it’s true: she has been too silent and her administration has taken too long to help in relief efforts. We are already weeks late."
These legislators’ or former legislator’s reactions to Palin’s evolution into an intensely divisive figure, here and nationwide, were reactions to a wide array of shortcomings of this political hack. They had little to do with the issues brought forth either by Jennifer Rubin or David Frum. And they serve to illustrate that Palin had already lost the trust of politicians, Jews and Gentiles alike, from both sides of the aisle before she quit her sworn job, to pursue more selfish and lucrative interests.