Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Palin’s Image Problem: Why She Irks Liberals

Last week, “Going Rogue” hit bookshelves everywhere, and ever since, I’ve felt like I’ve been unable to go anywhere without seeing Sarah Palin. Every time I go online, her latest interview has been posted by someone on Facebook with a note either proclaiming a love or a disapproval of the former governor of Alaska. If I try to watch news programs – from “Countdown” with Keith Olbermann to “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart – I’m confronted with the latest excerpt from Palin’s autobiography and how it does (or does not) fit into reality. The Fox News Channel has been all Palin, all the time, for well over a week now.

One of the central themes of most discussions about Palin focuses on why she is so detested by many liberal Americans. As one of those self-avowed liberals, I believe that I know the answer.

Fox News would have audiences believe that Palin’s real American values are what liberals despise. They are wrong. The driving force behind my dislike of Palin is twofold: She gives the impression that she is uninformed, and a significant portion of the far right embraces her despite this attitude. When I evaluate a candidate, I look to see if he or she is intelligent and intellectually curious. Not only does neither characterization fit the image Palin presents, she promotes that fact.

Palin is usually good for a sound bite. What should we do to lessen our dependence on foreign oil? “Drill, baby, drill.” Can you name a Supreme Court decision besides Roe v. Wade that you disagree with? “Any . that could be best dealt with on a more local level.” Ask her a follow-up question, however, and it quickly becomes apparent that she has nothing more of substance to offer.

What drives many liberals to dislike Palin more strongly than any politician in recent memory – which says something, because most of us weren’t huge fans of former President Bush – is the fact that she seems unconcerned with achieving in-depth knowledge of different issues. In a recent interview, Bill O’Reilly asked Palin if she is “smart enough, incisive enough, intellectual enough” to be president. Palin’s response? “I believe that I am because I have common sense, and I have, I believe, the values that are reflective of so many other American values. And I believe that what Americans are seeking is not elitism.” She went on to equate “elitism” to an Ivy League education.

That is what I cannot stand about Palin: She has a real disdain for the educated. If you hold a college degree from a prestigious university – Georgetown, anyone? – then you are necessarily elitist and lack common sense and values that reflect those of ordinary Americans.

Some people may say that I am simply attacking Palin because she is a conservative, and that liberals will always attack the Republican standard-bearer. This is not the case. There are plenty of unintelligent right-wingers who get media attention on Fox and – while I’m sometimes disturbed by them – I’m usually content to tune them out. What gets me most about Sarah Palin is that there are many people who, despite her underwhelming mental capacity and contempt for the intellectually curious, consider her to be a legitimate presidential candidate. While I disagreed with John McCain on virtually every issue last year, I would have said he was qualified to be the president of the United States. I cannot say the same about Palin. We must seek leaders who are intelligent and who have a desire to know as much as possible, not those who feel that any information unnecessary for a 30 second sound bite is a waste. Sarah Palin is not that leader.

Brian Shaud is a sophomore in the College.

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