I like Ross Douthat, as I’ve said here before, but earlier this week he wrote a justly panned column in which he claimed, absurdly, that Sarah Palin had been done in by media elites who "mocked and misrepresented" her because she didn’t graduate from Columbia or Harvard. Douthat’s editorial was infused with the very thing he was objecting to – classism, the condescending assumption that a woman without an Ivy League pedigree shouldn’t be criticized by uppity reporters for appearing utterly clueless about, say, foreign policy, the economy, the Supreme Court etc.
The best rejoinder to Douthat’s column has come from a fellow conservative, Peggy Noonan, who, in today’s Wall Street Journal, points out that the elites who supposedly revile Palin actually created her (see William Kristol), and that she failed because she couldn’t articulate her positions or convince anybody she was qualified to be on the national ticket of any party. Noonan also corrects the unexamined assumption at the core of Douthat’s column:
She is not working class, never was, and even she, avid claimer of advantage that she is, never claimed to be and just lets others say it. Her father was a teacher and school track coach, her mother the school secretary. They were middle-class figures of respect, stability and local status. I think intellectuals call her working-class because they see the makeup, the hair, the heels and the sleds and think they’re working class "tropes." Because, you know, that’s what they teach in "Ways of the Working Class" at Yale and Dartmouth.
Read her invaluable deconstruction of this and other Palin myths here.