A common recent refrain from many on the right in response to any criticism, or even any coverage, of Sarah Palin is that the criticism or even basic attention is proof positive that everyone to the left of Sean Hannity is shaking in their boots at the mere thought of the mighty moose hunter. This theme also now occurs in response to coverage of Louisiana governor and potential 2012 Republican candidate Bobby Jindal.
It must be a satisfying response. Those who engage in it can assure themselves that their champion flusters and even horrifies their opposition. It’s at the same time hopeful for their future and contemptuous of their adversaries. It presupposes that liberals, progressives, leftists and Democrats are nefariously working even today to undermine the great white hope of the Republican party and the conservative movement.
It shows that we on the left don’t fight fair, that we have to underhandedly cripple legitimate opposition ahead of time in a devious attempt to prevent a fair fight. Taking this position also allows conservatives Republicans to feel good about their potential candidates now and in the future. Yes. They will drink from the cup of victory in the future.
But. They don’t even have to wait till the next election to enjoy the suffering of their opponents. They can drink in the sweet tasting horror of their opponents right now. So, I understand why conservative Republicans would so desperately embrace the idea that everyone on the left is suffering great trepidation at the mere existence of a few humble salt of the earth “real Americans” on the right who we just know are going to clean our clocks unless we hamstring them right now. With the help of our friends in the lib’rul media of course.
But, while it may palliate the stings of their recent and ongoing rejections at the hands of the American people, this is a dangerous drink for the conservative Republicans to imbibe. It closes them ever more completely in their cocoon, dragging them deeper into their already profound stupor of self delusion and denial.
We on the left are happy to point to the extremist raving of people like Palin and Jindal not because we fear them. Many of us are desperately hoping that those two are in fact on the Republican ticket the next time around. We understand that they are on the fringe of American public opinion. We understand that, should the Republicans cater again to the rightwing of their party and front either or both of these two, they will lose again.
They will not just lose the race for the presidency, but they will lose much ground in congress, they will lose governorships and they will lose in the state legislatures. There won’t even be many Republican dog catchers left if they go this route.
So, let them think we fear the likes of Palin and Jindal. The louder they whistle, the less chance they have of noticing their own names on the big stones in the yard they’re walking through.