» This Story:Read +|Talk +| Comments
Archive   |   Biography   |   RSS Feed   |   Opinions Home

The Omen In My Mail

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
By Kathleen Parker
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Allow me to introduce myself. I am a traitor and an idiot. Also, my mother should have aborted me and left me in a dumpster, but since she didn't, I should "off" myself.

This Story
View All Items in This Story
View Only Top Items in This Story

Those are a few nuggets randomly selected from thousands of e-mails written in response to my column suggesting that Sarah Palin is out of her league and should step down.

Who says public discourse hasn't deteriorated?

The fierce reaction to my column has been both bracing and enlightening. After 20 years of column writing, I'm familiar with angry mail. But the past few days have produced responses of a different order. Not just angry, but vicious and threatening.

Some of my usual readers feel betrayed because I previously have written favorably of Palin. By changing my mind and saying so, I am viewed as a traitor to the Republican Party -- not a "true" conservative.

Obviously, I'm not employed by the GOP. If I were, the party is seriously in arrears. But what is a true conservative? One who doesn't think or question and who marches in lock step with The Party?

The emotional pitch of many comments suggests an overinvestment in Palin as "one of us."

Palin's fans say they like her specifically because she's an outsider, not part of the Washington club. When she flubs during interviews, they identify with that, too. "You see the lack of polish, we applaud it," one reader wrote.

Of course, there's a difference between a lack of polish and a lack of coherence. Some of Palin's interview responses can't even be critiqued on their merits because they're so nonsensical. But even that is someone else's fault, say Palin supporters. The media make her uncomfortable.

Or, it's the fault of those slick politicos who are overmanaging her. "Let Sarah be Sarah" has become the latest rallying cry among my colleagues on the right. She'll be fine if we just leave her alone, they say. Between prayers, I might add.

Not all my mail has been mean-spirited. A fair number of the writers politely expressed disappointment; others, relief and gratitude. Still others offered reasonable arguments aimed at changing my mind. I may yet.

In the meantime, though, I would note that this assault and my decision to write about it aren't really about me -- or even Sarah Palin. The mailbag is about us, our country, and what we really believe.


CONTINUED     1        >

» This Story:Read +|Talk +| Comments

More Washington Post Opinions

PostPartisan

Post Partisan

Quick takes from The Post's opinion writers.

Washington Sketch

Washington Sketch

Dana Milbank writes about political theater in the capital.

Tom Toles

Tom Toles

See his latest editorial cartoon.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity