The “Eye-Rolling Palin” Kerfuffle

So today the media elites have a fresh round of ammunition for their Sarah Palin fixations. This one’s hardly an earthshaking deal; you’ve got to really want to scrape the bottom of the barrel to make a big deal out of it. But when stranger “birther” stories about who Trig’s mother REALLY is and “I can see Russia from my front porch” Saturday Night Live skits couple with Levi Johnston actually becoming a household name, you realize that perhaps no American outside of an actual president has ever lived in the fishbowl Palin does.

In such circumstances nobody would look good, and Palin often doesn’t. One is tempted to believe that the attention and pressure laid on Palin isn’t just because she sells newspapers or gets ratings; it’s also because Palin represents the fact that real Americans may be capable of governing effectively in the same way Ivy League bluebloods constructed in Madison Avenue war rooms can.

This isn’t to say Palin is qualified to be president or that she’s the best choice for the GOP in 2012. Palin has negatives on style and substance. She may have been a drag on the McCain ticket as many accuse her of being; the fact is that McCain himself was such a poor candidate that Palin actually helped him avoid being blown out in Mondale/Goldwater fashion, but if he had an actual electoral pulse her effect may have been negative.

That said, Palin is by no means the obvious nincompoop Joe Biden is as a Vice President. It’s hard to make the case at this point that America dodged a bullet in not electing the ticket she was on given the performance of the elite’s chosen president. But because Palin was able to connect with a large portion of the electorate in ways few expected of a politician without the Ivy League pedigree and Washington connections, the elite is scared out of its wits at the idea Palin might be the first of a horde of grubby, unwashed rustics beating a path to the White House and Capitol Hill with degrees from such unremarkable institutions as the University of Idaho or Arkansas State in tow.

And because of that, Palin must be reduced to a punchline. She must be put in embarrassing and difficult positions, her life must be scrutinized and awful things must be said about her. Because Palin’s experience as a national political candidate must be so painful and so fraught with embarrassment that no man or woman from a similar background would want to engage in national politics. She can’t be allowed to blaze a trail.

With all that as prologue, we have today’s brouhaha, which begins with a video from Palin’s upcoming documentary on life in Alaska. Around 1:20 into the clip, you’ll see something “controversial”…

Did you catch that? After a minute or so listening to a litany of left-wing idiocy in talking to a woman who had put up a 30-foot sign saying “Worst Governor Ever” to greet her as she arrived at the tiny coastal burg of Homer, Alaska, Palin asks her interlocutor what she does for a living, and gets “I’m a teacher” for a response. And Palin rolls her eyes as if to say, “Well, that’s hardly a surprise.”

Anyone who has ever been to a parent-teacher meeting is absolutely familiar with the loopy, half-crazed left-wing teacher. It’s a species about as common as nutria in Louisiana’s marshes (sorry, Oscar). And virtually all of us can identify precisely with the sentiments Palin expresses on that video – upon meeting the loopy, half-crazed left-winger and finding out she’s a teacher, a “that figures” response is pretty universal.

So Palin is a real human being. Big deal.

But get this – her eye-rolling is now considered a major political issue and a gaffe. Can you believe this?

New York Magazine – a mouthpiece for the ruling class if ever there was one – took it as offensive. Between paeans to Christopher Hitchens and an update on who Kanye West is following on Twitter, they offered this:

Sarah Palin was up in Homer, Alaska, recently, fishing with her Discovery Channel crew in tow, when she was met with an unpleasant protest: a giant banner reading “Worst Governor Ever,” unfurled nearby by local Kathleen Gustafson. For whatever reason — maybe she wanted to win over a heart and mind — Palin decided to go over and talk to the woman. Part of the conversation was filmed on a camera phone by Billy Sullivan (who owned the property), despite the best efforts of Todd Palin and Palin’s security to block his view. The whole exchange is a little uncomfortable to watch — Gustafson tells Palin she sold out and became a celebrity, Palin offers mock gratitude in return. But all in all, it’s nothing to write home about — except for one moment (which comes at the 1:10 mark). When Palin asks Gustafson what she does for a living, and Gustafson tells Palin she’s a teacher, Palin and her daughter groan and exchange eye rolls as if to say, “Of course, only a teacher would be such a liberal nut.” Belittling teachers? Palin really is a maverick.

We don’t make a habit of scouring NYMAG’s website. Lord knows what they had to say about Chris Christie meeting the whining of a New Jersey teachers’ union member by stating “you don’t have to do it.” Perhaps that was “belittling teachers” as well; who knows.

The point is, teachers are just about the most reliably left-wing people in the American workplace. Members of teachers’ unions aren’t just overwhelmingly left-wing, they’re STRIDENTLY left-wing. Left out of the discussion between Gustafson and Palin is the fact that, while we at the Hayride weren’t enthralled with her decision to quit as Alaska’s governor, she was driven out of the job by the legal expense of dealing with mountains of frivolous ethics complaints filed by left-wingers. She had been a tremendously popular governor in Alaska prior to the assault on her character and career by the Left and the ruling class (to the extent they’re not the same thing).

Meanwhile, Palin had to put up a 20-foot high wall so as to keep out the creepy advances of a writer seeking to pen a hit-job book about his experiences renting the house next door to hers in Wasilla. She’s out doing a Discovery Channel piece promoting Alaska, not a presidential campaign, and the welcome she gets is a 30-foot long sign calling her the worst governor in the state’s history. And when she investigates the loons responsible, she finds out the most vocal of the group is a member of a chronic Democrat constituency.

In the wake of the tut-tutting from the New York in-crowd, Palin had this response on Facebook:

While filming the Alaska documentary in Homer, I had a brief discussion with a local lady who, in typical Alaska style, decided to give me her two cents worth about my political leanings, American politics in general, and much else besides. It’s what makes our politics so uniquely democratic: two people discussing the things they care about, even though they respectfully disagree about just about everything (you can watch a brief video of the encounter here).

The LSM has now decided to use this brief encounter for another one of their spin operations. They claim I – wait for it – “appear to roll my eyes” when the lady tells me she’s a teacher. Yes, it’s come to this: the media is now trying to turn my eyebrow movements into story lines. (Maybe that’s why Botox is all the rage – if you can’t move your eyebrows, your “eye rolling” can’t be misinterpreted!) If they had checked their facts first, they would have known that I come from a family of teachers; my grandparents were teachers, my father was a teacher, my brother is a teacher, my sister works in Special Needs classrooms, my aunt is a school nurse, my mom worked as a school secretary for much of her professional life, we all volunteer in classrooms, etc., etc., etc. Given that family history, how likely is it that I would “roll my eyes” at someone telling me that they too work in that honorable profession? Stay classy, LSM [LameStream Media; ed].

One good thing to come out of this little episode, though, is that it helps to remind people once again that Alaska is a great state full of independent-minded people. I look forward to introducing you to some of them in the forthcoming documentary series on life in Alaska! The show will remind you to get outdoors, breathe in God’s creation, and taste the freedom!

– Sarah Palin

Palin was too nice. What she should have said was that the lady was a loon, that she absolutely rolled her eyes at her, and that in doing so she grieves for the poor schoolchildren of Homer, Alaska who have to endure the petty tyranny of this unhinged lefty. After all, it’s not like she would get any worse treatment from New York Magazine or the Huffington Post for having done so.

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