As Mr. Podhoretz relates:
31 years ago, when I first announced that I was supporting Reagan in his bid for the 1980 Republican presidential nomination, I was routinely asked by friends on the right how I could possibly associate myself with this "airhead," this B movie star, who was not only stupid but incompetent. They readily acknowledged that his political views were on the whole close to ours, but the embarrassing primitivism with which he expressed them only served, they said, to undermine their credibility. In any case, his base was so narrow that he had no chance of rescuing us from the disastrous administration of Jimmy Carter.
Does that sound like anyone in the conservative movement these days? You can guess my answer to that question.
And what, then, is causing this intense dislike of all things Palin from many conservative intellectuals? Mr. Podhoretz attributes it not to policy but to class bias, stating that most of the intellectuals in the party may have said they adhered to William F. Buckley's famous statement, when their true views were exactly the opposite:
When William F. Buckley Jr., then the editor of National Review, famously quipped that he would rather be ruled by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than by the combined faculties of Harvard and MIT, most conservative intellectuals responded with a gleeful amen. But put to the test by the advent of Sarah Palin, along with the populist upsurge represented by the Tea Party movement, they have demonstrated that they never really meant it.
Much credit must be given, finally, to Mr. Podhoretz's recognition of the most biting satire of conservative intellectuals I have seen in quite a while, that of the blogger known as "Iowahawk". (Less credit, though, goes to the WSJ for shamefully not including a link to Iowahawk's site.) His creation, Mr. T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII, does a great job of illustrating the absurd drifting of the conservative elites over to the Obama camp in late 2008, and their continued, if wavering, allegiance to President Obama now. (Iowahawk hints, ever so tantalizingly, that T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII may make a return appearance later this week. This blog will post a link if he does appear.)
Mr. Podhoretz's column, which ran in yesterday's Journal, also inspired the folks at C-Span to ask their "Washington Journal" viewers whether they saw such a class bias against Mrs. Palin. The entire segment appears below, and while it may not be very helpful in answering the question, I saw it as rather enlightening.
As can be seen from the 43-minute video, there are a lot of people who have made up their minds about Sarah Palin, and nothing seems to be able to change them. I heard a lot of "she quit" arguments, especially. (For those just joining this blog, I spoke to the "she's a quitter" arguments here. The short version: she's not.)
And what else did I learn? Apparently people like to prank call C-Span. (Such people need a life, and quickly.) Others like to call when the program clearly states "conservatives only", when they clearly aren't. (When was the last time you heard a conservative refer to the "teabag movement"? I'll give you a hint: never. And darn it, I wanted never to have to refer to that stupid term on this blog again. Thanks loads, fake conservative C-Span viewer.)
Of course, all of this adds to the fact that Sarah Palin is a polarizing figure. I've said that here before, so this isn't a big revelation for me. It does show me, though, that a lot of people will not be swayed by facts from seeing exactly what they want to see in others.