As we approach the second anniversary of Sarah Palin being thrust into the limelight by former Republican presidential candidate John McCain, a number of the haters in the media are starting to take the object of their disaffection more seriously.
One such so-called journalist is the ultra-liberal internet publisher Arianna Huffington who on Sunday, just hours after Palin questioned the cojones of the current White House resident, penned a piece that actually compared the former Alaska governor to Ronald Reagan.
As you read the following quotes from "Sarah Palin, 'Mama Grizzlies,' Carl Jung, and the Power of Archetypes," try to determine what this Republican-bashing shill's motives might be for publishing what on the surface looks like a positive article about a woman she's been consistently defaming for almost 24 months:
I've been thinking about this paradox: the most important political ad of 2010 so far did not play on television, and came from someone not currently running for any office. It was Sarah Palin's latest web video, "Mama Grizzlies."
From there, Huffington went into psychobabble - literally:
It's not Palin's positions people respond to -- it's her use of symbols. Mama grizzlies rearing up to protect their young? That's straight out of Jung's "collective unconscious" -- the term Jung used to describe the part of the unconscious mind that, unlike the personal unconscious, is shared by all human beings, made up of archetypes, or, in Jung's words, "universal images that have existed since the remotest times." Unlike personal experiences, these archetypes are inherited, not acquired. They are "inborn forms... of perception and apprehension," the "deposits of the constantly repeated experiences of humanity."
This is the realm Palin is working in -- I'm sure unintentionally -- and it's why she has connected so deeply with a large segment of the public. In fact, her evocation of mama grizzlies has a particularly resonant history in the collective unconscious. According to the Jungian Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism, "The bear has long fascinated mankind, partly because of its habit of hibernation, which may have served as a model of death and rebirth in human societies."
If you haven't fallen asleep yet, here's the payoff:
As a matter of fact, another very popular Republican politician once used the image of a bear in an ad. The bear was used differently, but to powerful effect.
There's a bear in the woods. For some people, the bear is easy to see. Others don't see it at all. Some people say the bear is tame. Others say it's vicious and dangerous. Since no one can really be sure who's right, isn't it smart to be as strong as the bear? If there is a bear...
Simple. Forceful. Policy-free. And a very successful ad for Ronald Reagan's re-election campaign in 1984. It raised the question of whether Walter Mondale would be strong enough to stand up to the lurking bear -- in this case, the Soviet Union. Reagan won 525 electoral votes to Mondale's 13.
Like Palin, Reagan was not thought to be a policy heavyweight, and, like her, he was often ridiculed by the punditocracy. And, like Reagan, Palin has come to prominence in a time of national crisis, a state of affairs in which appeals to the collective unconscious are much more powerful -- and dangerous -- than in normal times.
And the conclusion:
So if you think Palin's lack of policy prowess is somehow going to slow her ascent, think again. With unemployment predicted to hover just below double digits for possibly years to come, our vaunted recovery acknowledged to have stalled, and Americans' faith in practically every economic and political institution at an all time low, it's no surprise that people might respond irrationally. That's what people do when they're afraid. And in the absence of a coherent narrative that makes people feel reassured and hopeful about their lives and their futures, they'll gravitate to whatever fills the vacuum.
Especially mama grizzlies.
So isn't it wise to get a handle on Palin's true appeal sooner rather than later?
Of course, when a shill like Huffington says "get a handle on," she means learn enough about to be able to widely discredit. As such, one has to try to parse the words here and divine the intent as well as the strategy being proposed.
To be sure, comparing Palin to Reagan might be considered flattering to Reagan lovers, but to most of the clueless left that Huffington preaches to our 38th President was almost the devil incarnate.
In recent months, there have been increasing attacks on the Reagan legacy from liberals claiming that his economic policies led to the current financial crisis and budgetary woes. As a result, one shouldn't necessarily take the Reagan comparison as flattery when it comes from someone on the left.
Instead, this analysis though complimentary on the surface is cleverly defaming in that it continues to put forward the notion that there isn't anything behind Palin beyond smoke and mirrors.
As Hot Air's Allahpundit noted Monday:
This is standard argumentation among hyperpartisans of all stripes - remember George Lakoff reassuring liberals that they lost elections because crafty conservatives were better at branding? - but you'll see it in spades if/when Palin gains traction. The point, as always, is to reassure fellow hyperpartisans that it's not the opposition's policies that voters find appealing but something (anything!) else, and since their contempt for Palin runs deeper than it does for the rest of the GOP field, the explanations for her success will have to be that much more creative... You're going to see a lot of this if she's the nominee, and it'll all run along the same lines: Palin's practicing some sort of witchcraft or hypnosis or unleashing America's "id,"etc etc, all geared towards insisting that her appeal is, and can only be, operating on a sub-cerebral level. That's the goal here - to suggest that, because no thinking person could vote for her, this is all playing out somehow in America's subconscious.
Exactly, and since most liberals like Huffington believe that's how Reagan beat Carter in 1980 - not with a better grasp of policy issues but with an actor's ability to con the public during a time of great turmoil - depicting Palin as some kind of sorceress casting a spell over the citizenry's collective unconscious might be the new strategy given the fact that the intelligence bashing has failed miserably up to this point.
Coincidentally, this comes just in time for the release of the next Harry Potter film.