The Alaska Governor is far more than someone who appeals to the (conservative) base, she is someone who can make the base appeal to America.
This compact yet comprehensive diagnosis was made in the early hours of the Palin Derangement Syndrome (PDS) outbreak, when Sarah Palin was first being introduced to the nation. It still rings true as the Jurassic media continues a childish obsession with someone who does not control a single government lever.
Having said that, PDS has now matured past epidemic to full-blown pandemic status with a derangement component that is now insanely intense. Remember, Palin does not have one whit of legal authority over these people or anyone else. Yet as her elected status has ended, her effect on the elites has only increased. Perhaps it is time to update the correct initial diagnosis to contemplate the increased virulence of this mental and emotional malady.
To corroborate and condense the many valid commentaries out there on the Palin effect, allow me to submit diagnosis PDS 2:
The persistence and even growth of Palin's popularity and impact on the national discussion now makes unavoidable the reality of the elitists' worst fear: that there are more of us than there are of them. And we now realize it.
As many have correctly pointed out, the pundits' vitriol and patronizing comments smack of a hatred and anger that only thinly veils the real emotion underlying their irrational behavior: Fear. Part of it is fear that she will indeed hold public office again. But it goes even deeper than that.
It is an increasing awareness that Palin's impact is much more than a strong advocacy of conservatism as a sound political philosophy. These people are now finding it hard to escape the reality that her life is a compelling and real advocacy of conservatism as a powerful life philosophy. Life trumps politics.
And once the casual voter has related to Palin's life philosophy as something that is true, practical and worth adopting, they are dead to liberalism forever. They will never again believe in "the electability" of moderates like McCain and never again fall prey to a "clean articulate black man" with a good tele-prompter.
If your life revolves around convincing Republicans to nominate folks like McCain or around electing people like Obama, this is a scary prospect indeed. Like the signature scene from "Alien," this realization is causing the emergence from deep within the elites of something even uglier and more powerful than we imagined.
They will not admit this of course. In fairness, they may not even consciously know what is going on inside their insulated minds. And short of breathing -- Palin is doing little to stoke this -- and yet it is getting worse.
While people who live a conservative base type life have always outnumbered the elites, the last public figure who evidenced it simply by existing was Ronald Reagan. And yes, many of the attacks on Palin today are the same attacks Reagan endured decades ago and they are coming from the same quarters.
Palin and Reagan are similar in that they both can use a few simple words and communicate more truth to average Americans than the media elites can with rambling professorial or lawyer speak. When she told Charlie Gibson that "you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska," she refers to a profound sense of reality one automatically gets when you see your mortal enemy every single day. Now I understood it the day she said it. Send a memo to David Brooks please.
Her comment about the Soviet Union would be no different than Joe Biden claiming he has a deep understanding of Amtrak service into Wilmington and how to fleece taxpayers for his transportation. If he were to say this, he would be absolutely right. Finally!
When Reagan quipped "tell ‘em the bombing starts in five minutes," he spoke volumes about the good guys, the bad guys, our relative capabilities and our moral imperative. Brevity is the soul of wit -- and does not require a teleprompter. Many Americans understood the genius in that so-called off-handed comment instantly. Oh, so did Gorbachev.
But to liberals uncomfortable with the idea of America having any moral imperatives or to moderate pundits and strategists afraid to choose corn flakes without referencing a focus group report, such certitude based on common sense and love of country is unsettling. This is not who they are, and they have convinced themselves that they are the country. They are the self proclaimed best and brightest and there are more folks who believe that than who believe otherwise -- or so they think.
Like Reagan's, Palin's easy natural appeal shatters that delusion. And she is the first one to do so for any length of time in a long time. Oh sure, Newt Gingrich had his moments in 93-94 as he was building the Contract with America movement. He was feared and hated for a while, but the media succeeded in beating him up so badly he's now as likely to agree with Gore as with Reaganism.
When Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf was rolling through Iraq in Gulf War I, George Bush 41 was feared with a 90% approval rating. Then he stopped Norman from stormin' and misread his own lips on taxes and faded into an abyss with only 38% of the vote in 1992.
And of course, we saw the elites fear and hate Bush 43 the Cowboy as he enjoyed approval ratings over 80% for months. Under fire, he forgot that most people love cowboys and he hung up his hat and spurs. Thus he limped into history with barely one in five Americans' approval -- ironically discrediting a conservative movement he never believed really existed.
So while the elites eventually beat back Gingrich and the Bushes, they seem to know they will never do that to Palin. They never could do it to Reagan either. Like Reagan, Palin seems to arrive at her beliefs with too much foundation to ever rattle. That gives power to her spoken and written words that other Americans can sense.
Yes, there are more of us than there are of them. Sarah Palin has reminded us -- and them -- of that fact. And it drives them bananas.