Failing the Palin Rorschach Test

Peter Wehner has “detected in some of the conservative critics of Sarah Palin . . .a tendency to call attention to the fact that their position has (supposedly) made them, and their dear friends, vilified figures.” Vilified, Peter writes, “means they receive angry e-mails or are on the receiving end of agitated to marginally agitated blog postings.” This “conveniently allows for the opportunity to inject a bit of melodrama into the whole thing.”

Peter is right, I think, that some of Palin’s critics have over-reacted to criticism. There is an election going on, after all, and one should expect things to “get a little rambunctious.”

On the other hand, I can understand why Palin’s critics are vexed by the anti-intellectual and personal nature of attacks on them like this one by Jennifer Rubin. First, Rubin classifies Palin’s critics as book writers with a “sterile” and “academic” approach to politics (“sterile” seems to mean unwilling to focus solely on how the “base” reacts to Palin). Then, she strips some of them of even this unfortunate status by asserting that they don’t really care much about ideas either. Finally, her ad hominem attack complete, Rubin takes Palin’s critics to task for refusing to make “reasoned arguments.”

Being attacked this way in a blog post certainly doesn’t make one a martyr. But such attacks are unfortunate, nonetheless.

I’ve always understood that it’s impossible to fail a Rorschach Test. But some people on both sides of the Palin controversy are doing their best to accomplish this.

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