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Sarah Palin: Anti-Abortion, Anti-Environment, and. . . Anti-Semite?

My future father-in-law, Mike, and I have gotten in the habit of using election fodder to playfully taunt each other over email. I’m for Obama and he’s for McCain.  I get the crazy email forwards that make the rounds of … Read More

By / September 4, 2008

My future father-in-law, Mike, and I have gotten in the habit of using election fodder to playfully taunt each other over email. I’m for Obama and he’s for McCain.

 I get the crazy email forwards that make the rounds of the circuit I like to call Jews-over-40-who-are-secretly-afraid-of-black-people ("Fwd: Barack Obama’s Secret Muslim Origins Revealed!"). He, in turn, gets the crazy email forwards that make the rounds of the other circuit I like to call Jews-under-40-who-are-humorless-self-righteous-liberal-fascists. Those emails are almost always a litany of dry, bulleted policy points. His forwards are entertaining, if always a little scary. It does seem to prove out the observation that liberalism and comedy are incompatible. This morning Mike was understandably gushing over Sarah Palin’s speech. I was not.

From: Tahl Raz To: Mike Subject: Sarah Palin: Anti-Abortion, Anti-Environment, and. . . Anti-Semite?

I thought Palin was good last night. If she were running for PTA, I would vote for her. But she’s not. She’s running for second-in-command to the leader of the free world. And frankly, I don’t want my commanders to be ordinary or "just like me." Call me a snob but I want my leaders to be more Plato’s philosopher king than O’Reilly’s patriotic populist.  I think they probably should be worldly, schooled, extraordinarily intelligent, and full of integrity. Palin seems to have the last one in spades.  She’s a principled woman. But that’s another problem, Mike — her principles, her politics. She’s against abortion even in the case of incest or rape. She stinks on the environment. Like some ignorant hill-billy who "don’t trust no scientists," she’s on record as saying the climate crisis is overblown and has nothing to do with humans.  She supports the death penalty. She doesn’t think gay people should be allowed to get married and is for a constitutional amendment to deny health benefits to same-sex couples. She has no foreign policy positions on record. I think it’s important for a vice presidential candidate, who is one 72-year-old heart attack away from the presidency, to have thought as much about the world outside of the U.S. as they have about whether to bring oranges or cookies to her son’s hockey game. She also thinks creationism should be taught in schools. If you’re for such positions, I can understand your excitement over Palin. If you’re a real populist, what with its noble origins in the call for the empowerment of ordinary people in all areas of life and its fight of the "unnumbered throng" against corporations, moneyed interests and the like, than Palin is a real inspiration (though I’m thinking your Upper East Side address probably means you’ll have your throng membership revoked). I, on the other hand, don’t agree with her positions. And I’m not much for today’s political populism either, as its become more about values than class, and populist values have been appropriated and molded by the Christian right. That’s the important stuff. But I know how you love the ancillary theatrics, how you passionately reveled in the impropriety of Obama’s connection to Jeremiah Wright, and so I have a theatrical tid bit for you that Ben Smith at Politico.com recently dug up on America’s girl. When Palin’s church, the Wasilla Bible Church, turned its pulpit over on Aug. 17 to David Brickner, the executive director of Jews for Jesus, the vice presidential candidate apparently listened intently as Brickner declared terrorist murders of Jews represent God’s judgment against them for not embracing Christianity. According to a transcript of the sermon found on the church’s website: "Judgment is very real and we see it played out on the pages of the newspapers and on the television. It’s very real. When [Brickner's son] was in Jerusalem he was there to witness some of that judgment, some of that conflict, when a Palestinian from East Jerusalem took a bulldozer and went plowing through a score of cars, killing numbers of people. Judgment — you can’t miss it." Oof! What’s next? Maybe McCain will be forced to balance his gentile populist everywoman VP with a Jewish version. Roseanne for Secretary of Defense? 

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