At the news that Sarah Palin would be John McCain's running mate, hundreds of thousands leaped to their feet. Hallelujah! Yippee! Boy, oh, boy!
In marketplace terms, we call Palin the-product-the-market-was-waiting-for, sort of like the better mousetrap, or the iPhone.
What exactly does the lady offer the electorate that Mitt Romney, say, or Tim Pawlenty didn't and couldn't, anyway, in the same degree?
Womanhood? With some voters, yes -- that's the answer. It was time for a woman on a national ticket. That doesn't explain, nevertheless, the raptures into which men have fallen concerning Sarah Palin -- only partly because of how she helps the ticket.
There's religion, too. She's a strongly evangelical Christian. There's her commitment to the defense of unborn life. There's the exotic Alaskan milieu: moose and guns and wilderness. The political marketplace was ready for this lady because she offers what? Normality?
Granted, no politician above the pay grade of school board member is "normal." Least normal of all are those who want to be president, which is, maybe, the salient point: the more power that government has come to exert over "normal," everyday, unrushed -- more or less -- life.
The circle of people who care only marginally for this style of life are being called "elitist." As are the media these people read or watch.
The small-town, churchified American feels himself -- or herself -- to have been set apart, disadvantageously so, from and by the elites. And you know what? There's something to this feeling.
The elitists see the Palinists, with their carpools and hymnals, as trying to stuff their principles -- patriotism, sexual restraint, reverence for God, family-centeredness -- down other people's throats. They've got it precisely backwards. The Palinists work mainly to defend what they once took for granted, or as obligatory: love of country, adherence to certain (if frequently shifting) norms of behavior, faith in the Lord. The blue-state "elitists" -- you can figure this out just by reading their media -- really do seem to feel less instinctive interest in these modes of expression and identification.
They have another irritating trait as well: They support Supreme Court rulings and popular entertainments and cultural relaxations of one kind or another, initiated by the elitists, as if to spite their cultural opposites.
This is all pretty general; you couldn't fail to drive a Mack truck or two through certain particularities. But I think I'm right in appraising the Palinists as victims of cultural aggression. They aren't the ones trying to step on someone else. They're trying to keep others -- their government in particular -- from stepping on
East Coast/West Coast support of abortion and the gay lifestyle infuriates. For some time now there's also been downright hatred -- I use the word in its fullest sense -- of a war the country is fighting, and of the president who allegedly "lied" us into it. Read the comments on the leftwing blogs -- the Daily Kos, the Huffington Post, etc. How do you like, "It's time to hit McCain hard for picking the brainless Sarah Palin"? Or, "I don't know why I expected grace from a woman who hunts moose."
The bitterness and clangor that fuel the anti-Palinists -- however elite they are or aren't -- creates the urge for pushback. For remonstrance. For showing the so-and-sos a thing or two.
None of which, to the "so-and-sos" in question, seems rational. Tough. In the stars it is written that people, pushed too far and too hard, assuming they have gumption, will turn away the cheek they have so long turned, and start looking for cheeks they themselves can slap a little.
A less arrogant class than the elites of the left might have seen the Revenge of Sarah coming. They might, correspondingly, have modified their tone of contempt for the differently minded and otherwise motivated. They didn't, though. They dinged the commander-in-chief whenever possible; they blocked the confirmation of conservative judges; they talked as though Roe vs. Wade had been carried to the earth on smoking tablets from Olympus; they argued against never-before-challenged moral norms like the reservation of marriage for people of different sexes.
And so on. The result? Sarah Palin for vice president -- among related results we may see this year and, depending on the elections, beyond. For restoration of the once-"normal" conditions of American life, we can't look yet -- certainly not on the basis of one presidential election. But you get the idea, maybe.