Just about a year ago in this space, I endeavored to defend Bill Clinton against a highly suspect and agenda driven attack launched at him from the pages of Vanity Fair. Now, I will attempt to do the same for Governor Sarah Palin knowing that such a defense will be met with visceral anger and contempt by a great many readers of this site.
As has been highlighted on Huffington Post and just about every site, "news" or otherwise, Vanity Fair, through the poison pen of Todd Purdum -- who it seems not by coincidence, also wrote the piece attacking Clinton one year ago -- has gone after Palin with a vengeance.
In reference to the Vanity Fair screed against him, President Clinton said it was, "A tawdry, anonymous quote-filled attack piece," and "Journalism of personal destruction at its worst." And so it was. As is Purdum's vile assault now against the Alaska governor. Of course, as many haters on the right took great delight in the unfair Vanity Fair onslaught against Clinton, even more haters from the left will rejoice in the further slandering of Palin.
Which brings me to a question I've been asking for months of my liberal friends: Why do so many on the left have such an unhinged hatred of this woman? Why do so many alleged feminists and female members of the mainstream media openly and gleefully despise Palin?
On any given day, like the regularity of the Sun rising or setting, you can expect Maureen Dowd of The New York Times to hurl even more insults at a woman she has relentlessly assailed for almost a year. Why? If -- as Dowd and other attackers on the left maintain -- Palin is inconsequential, ignorant, untalented, and part of the unwashed masses, why not just let her recede into history? Why the constant attacks?
As to why Vanity Fair and other liberal outlets go after her, the answer is quite simple: money. With uncounted thousands from the left who equally hate Palin, Vanity Fair and the other outlets understand -- especially in a bad economy with declining circulation -- that there is gold to be mined from the fragile minds of those who hate. For them, this is the story that keeps giving. And as long as the uncounted haters from the left continue to froth at the mouth at the very mention of Palin, Vanity Fair, Keith Olbermann, and others, will feed the beast for ratings and revenue.
Fine. I get that. But why Dowd and the feminists? With regard to The New York Times columnist, I asked a female friend of mine who happens to be a psychologist, what might prompt the anger? She mentioned a host of possibilities, but settled on one theory. That being that Dowd "may be threatened or envious of Palin... or both. As an aging but still attractive woman, Dowd may resent Palin's good looks. Further, as a single woman of a certain age, she may be envious that Palin has a husband, a family, and has carved out an accomplished political career."
While not a fan of psycho-babble, it does seem to be a plausible explanation.
With regard to why Purdum, David Letterman, and other liberal males continually go after Palin, the answer might be as easy as they secretly lust after her while also seeing her as the "girlfriend of the quarterback" they could never get in high school. Seriously, look at the "men" who belittle Palin on a regular basis. For the most part, they fit the description of "the pencil-neck geek" from high school. Are they now trying to make Palin pay for their long-ago inadequacies? Is that why Letterman imagines her now as a "Slutty Flight Attendant?" Because she is his fantasy and rather than admit it, he strikes out at her?
Finally, we come to the "GOP family feud" caused by the Vanity Fair article as reported by Politico. The "feud" is between Weekly Standard editor William Kristol in the corner of Sarah Palin, and former McCain campaign strategist Steve Schmidt in the corner of Satan.
If you're Todd Purdum and you need to write a sleazy story, best to find a sleazy source willing to check dignity, honor, and facts at the door. In Steve Schmidt, Purdum found such a source.
Like a number of GOP "communicators," Schmidt had next to no real-world experience or success before becoming a communications guru and "genius" for the Party. Rather, like many in Washington, he attached himself to the coattails of others and slowly moved up the ranks. The fact that Schmidt is attacking her to try and salvage his reputation, should be a badge of honor for Palin.
One part of the Politico story that I did find of real interest, is the section where Schmidt admits "what has been whispered about for months following the campaign: that he and another top aide had ordered a leak hunt in the campaign's internal email system." Now, I'm not a lawyer, but is that even legal?
Did McCain or someone else authorize Schmidt to pour through everyone's personal emails? How exactly did he accomplish the task? How long did the "leak-hunt" go on? Did they print the emails and keep them?
In summary, we know that the left really, really, really hates Palin, that the left-wing media needs Palin to stay in business, that certain liberal female columnists may be envious of her, that certain liberal male reporters and talk-show hosts may lust after her, that the GOP is still populated with disloyal weasels who put self before all, and that Sarah Palin is still standing tall.
What else is new?
Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official and author of the novel, "The Apocalypse Directive."