February 22, 2010
I Am Sarah Palin's BrainBy Stuart Schwartz
I am Sarah Palin's brain.
I'm here, I'm healthy, and I'm doing very well, thank you. Contrary to what you're told by the elites of both right and left, I exist.
And unlike the brains of our beltway politicians and pundits, mainstream media and Hollywood grandees, my neurons are not stuck on "I" or kicking into hyperdrive at the thought of controlling every waking moment in the life of Joe the Plumber or Josie the Beautician.
No, I am an American brain, savvy and predisposed toward optimism, the kind of gray matter powering the doers of this country since our founding. Robin of Berkeley, the resident psychotherapist of American Thinker, says my "sunny disposition" allows me to "[glide] by like a majestic bird in flight."
Hey, I'll take it! Sort of ironic, isn't it, as I represent what Time magazine calls "a nation of dodos." Dodos, of course, can't fly; they just produce weekly news magazines, work at MS-NBC, or nest in the newsroom of the New York Times. And dodo birds are extinct -- there's a lesson in there somewhere.
Now, if I were encased in the head of a member of our intellectual class (say, New York Times columnist David Brooks), then I would call that reasoning by analogy and be very impressed by myself. But I'm not. I'm just Sarah Palin's brain.
And as for that sunny disposition -- guilty as charged! Hey, I'm made of the right stuff, the Ronald Reagan kind of stuff that wouldn't be seen hanging between the ears of Joy Behar, or the two Barneys (Frank and Fife) hiding beneath the scalp of Brooks. Or behind the scowl on the face of Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) -- can you spell "shriveled walnut"?
I am an unapologetically American brain, the same kind that French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville found powering our success with unique "American optimism." And I understand that intelligence is more than how much you know; it includes character, personality, and wisdom. Well, gosh darn it -- is that a bit of philosophy?
Yes, it is...and I didn't even attend Yale. Yale, of course, is the alma mater of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who used his Ivy League training and Vanderbilt genes to come up with the insightful, intellectually robust adjective describing America's pushback on spending as "tea-bagging." This is the kind of refined insight of which I -- with my "low soap-box oratory" and state college education -- am incapable, as Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal pronounced. Thank You, Lord, and thank you, University of Idaho.
That's okay. You keep on thinking I'm a "joke," as Brooks and Bill Press, the former CNN and MS-NBC brain-truster, put it. MS-NBC and brain trust -- ha! What MS-NBC commentators know about intelligence, well...you can fit it into the same thimble that holds the business smarts of New York Times publisher Pinch Sulzberger and still have room for Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson's integrity ("Cornhusker Kickback").
I am Sarah Palin's brain. And unlike our intellectual class, I truly understand intelligence. It isn't about reading the Washington Post, swimming in a media-anointed gene pool, or attending a "name" university. This is not intelligence; rather, it is arrogance, snobbery.
You see, if arrogance were intelligence, then Washington would be a fount of innovation, the New York Times a robust and growing media company, and mainstream media networks running segments titled "Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly -- Where Are They Now?"
But, thank God, intelligence is not defined by the corpse (you see, our president had it right) of elite media executives in residence at Trump Towers or Beltway politicians whose answer to the debt Armageddon they created is to spend more, faster.
Nor is it defined by George Will, God bless'im. George is a media-certified, award-winning conservative intellectual and Washington Post columnist who has a doctorate from Princeton University. This Ivy League school also helped the designers of Obama health care understand, for example, that people with Down Syndrome -- my baby Trig -- have "less right to continue to live than an adult Gorilla."
And so George takes a look at me, Sarah Palin's brain, and decides that my "intellectual ordinariness" just can't cut it. There's nothing distinctive about me, nothing special like the neurons powering the Beltway and media grandees.
Okay, I'm different -- I admit it. I don't have the outsized intellect of, say, a Patrick Kennedy, whose inherited wealth, fabled genes, and Phillips Andover pedigree produced a legislator whose most notable accomplishment over a sixteen-year congressional career was redecorating a concrete barrier on Capitol Hill with his car during an alcoholic bender.
Dr. George also points to my governorship as the only "serious" job I've ever held. Spoken like a card-carrying member of the political and media elite. I was the mayor of a small town, was on its city council, helped my husband with his commercial fishing business, and worked as a waitress to pay for college, all the while bearing and raising five children. Not serious?
Hey, I'm just Sarah Palin's brain, but there are three hundred million people in this country engaged in just this kind of "unserious" stuff. It's called work. It's called life. And it's the stuff that de Tocqueville celebrated. And he was a French aristocrat -- how much more elite can you get than that?
Only to a Washington/New York brain is small government trivial, motherhood unworthy of note, and a waitress something you force between two senators (the "waitress sandwich" of powerful Democrats Christopher Dodd and Ted Kennedy).
I am Sarah Palin's brain. Am I different from those powering our media and political elites? You betcha.
And if de Tocqueville were alive he would probably add: "Vive la différence!"
Stuart H. Schwartz is on the faculty at Liberty University in Virginia.