East Coast Media Elite Made, Destroyed Palin/McCainSo we all know, of course, that Sarah Palin loves Real America, which means the parts of America that are pro-American, which according to recent polls is pretty much between 40 and 45 percent of America, population-wise (but much more, maybe, geographically!). And part of loving pro-America America is hating, obviously, East Coast Elitists and Washington DC and the Beltway and the Georgetown Cocktail Circuit and New York City, and also Hollyweird and San Francisco. The Coasts are not Real America! And especially not Real America are the Media Elites who are threatened by Sarah Palin and John McCain. Except of course obviously those Media Elites created John McCain and Sarah Palin. And Palin and McCain are both crippled by their all-consuming desire to be accepted and loved by those Media Elites. Jane Mayer wrote a very informative piece for this week's New Yorker about how all the chattering classes and cocktail circuit insiders created and sold the Myth of Sarah Palin.
While Brickley and others were spreading the word about Palin on the Internet, Palin was wooing a number of well-connected Washington conservative thinkers. In a stroke of luck, Palin did not have to go to the capital to meet these members of “the permanent political establishment”; they came to Alaska. Shortly after taking office, Palin received two memos from Paulette Simpson, the Alaska Federation of Republican Women leader, noting that two prominent conservative magazines—The Weekly Standard, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, and National Review, founded by William F. Buckley, Jr.—were planning luxury cruises to Alaska in the summer of 2007, which would make stops in Juneau. Writers and editors from these publications had been enlisted to deliver lectures to politically minded vacationers. “The Governor was more than happy to meet these guys,” Joe Balash, a special staff assistant to Palin, recalled.
The Standard brought William Kristol, Fred Barnes, and Michael Gerson to meet Palin. They all fell in love when she said grace really well and her daughter said something cute and then they took a helicopter ride and talked about how great it was to dump waste into lakes. Barnes went home and wrote a story about how she was so great. Kristol basically fell in love and began talking about her incessantly, all the time, until Chris Wallace told him to shut up. A few weeks after that cruise, the National Review boys came around! This time Palin met Rich Lowry, Robert Bork, John Bolton, Victor Davis Hanson, and Dick Morris—we will hand it to the NR, their parties are somehow creepier than the Standard's. Dick Morris apparently talked ot Palin for an hour or two, and he was probably salivating. This is the saddest part of this story:
Clearly, Palin has taken this advice to heart. Still, when the moment came for Morris and other guests to depart, Palin was sad to see the Washington insiders go. Hanson recalled, “She said, ‘Hey—does anyone want to stay for dinner? We’re going to eat right now.’ She also invited everyone to come back the next day. ‘If any of you are in the area, all you have to do is knock. Yell upstairs, I’ll be right down.’ ”
And so, yes, as you can see, the media elite created this monster, and the monster is desperate for their approval as well. Hell, she'll even do the requisite Saturday Night Live appearance. And yes, the GOP will happily take the stage with sad pseudo-celebs like Hank Williams Jr, but in capitulating to the elite conservative media opinion-makers, Palin is probably going down a slightly safer path than McCain did himself when he enlisted the love and support of the regular mainstream media in 2000. As we all remember, the media was once McCain's base, with heavy breathing moderates like Rich Cohen and Joe Klein swooning over their unprecedented access to the potential GOP nominee for president. McCain loved the adoration and the attention, and made an effort to keep it up through 2008, but the eventual fall-out, while precipitated by McCain's shitty campaigning, was probably inevitable. Because once he's the actual nominee for President on the Republican ticket, he needs to be a Republican. His appeal, before, was that he was basically a noble loser. This year, he wanted to win. And winning, he was informed, involved being a douchebag. But as much as McCain's politics and strategy are all dictated by his personal animosities and perceived slights (his visceral distaste for Obama comes from Obama snubbing him years ago over some bullshit legislation followed by a couple other slights McCain took a bit too personally), his new distaste for the Media Establishment rings hallow to those who remember the barbecue party of just a few months ago, but it's probably sincere. He's fucking furious that the jackals abandoned him and call him a liar just for lying all the time. Listen to McCain's chief hagiographer, Mark Salter:
We also talked about Salter's current view of the press: "I think the media is driven by a need to see this history happen," he said. "And I think they've rationalized it, they think they're on the level with McCain, that he's not the old McCain. But he is the old McCain. He just doesn't know what happened to the old press corps."
They're in the bubble. They know it's the "same McCain" and it's not fair that the elitists don't like the old McCain anymore. We've also argued that the "he's not the man I used to love" line is pathetic and basically means they just loved him back when he made them feel special and loved. And now, trying to play to the Beltway Elites of National Review has made McCain seem intolerable and erratic to Beltway Elites like Peggy Noonan and David Brooks and only Jonah Goldberg still likes him.