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Palin-Bashing and Hillary-Bashing: The Same Thing?

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The explosion of Palin-bashing (and yes, it's bashing, justified or not) across the political spectrum reminds me of a campaign that happened a lifetime ago. Back then, Hillary Clinton reprised her role as the political world's favorite target. Attacking her was elevated to an art form; participants of all stripes joined in. It was the pinnacle of bipartisanship; right and left hammering away at her in an all-out assault that ultimately cost her the nomination.

I don't want to rehash whether or not any of it was warranted -- I'm more interested in another angle that's been completely overlooked in the torrent of punditocracy about Palin's resignation.

It's that Sarah Palin, like Hillary Clinton, is a person, a human being, a mom, a wife, a daughter, once a little girl.

Vulnerable, like all of us.

Self-centered, like all of us.

Fragile, like all of us.

Opinionated, like all of us.

Defensive, like all of us.

Deceptive, like all of us.

Lost, like all of us.

And totally wrong on the issues as far as I'm concerned.

Unlike Clinton, Palin didn't have time to develop the layers of thick skin required to handle the withering glare of the national celeb/politico spotlight, a glare that for some reason shines much more harshly on women like Palin and Clinton.

For three years I lived the gulf between Hillary Clinton's image as an inhuman, Borg-like ambition-machine eager to destroy or assimilate everything in her path and the all-too-human, funny, considerate person her friends have the privilege of knowing. When a reporter implied that Hillary Clinton was 'pimping' her daughter, Hillary's private reaction was as emotional as any mother's would be -- it was a stark illustration (and there were many) of the chasm between the public image and the private person.

With Palin, we should also keep the public/private distinction in mind.

Patrick Hynes, my co-blogger at CTN, is chronicling some of the more offensive remarks about Palin. All I ask of my fellow Democrats and progressives is that no matter how wrong-headed Palin's policies, no matter how inconsistent her rationale for stepping down, and no matter how muddled her infamous press conference, we remember that she is the rare public figure who for some reason attracts infinite interest and attention, much of it negative.

Granted, you ask for scrutiny when you enter public service, but not this much, not so quickly. She may not have Hillary Clinton's character or experience to cope with the spotlight, but even if she did, it behooves us to avoid outright viciousness and mockery on a level that few of us could handle.