It is, you know, rich.
In the middle of the firestorm created by the liberal media over the nomination of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the first woman vice-presidential nominee in the Republican Party, a familiar voice is heard. Comes word in the last few days that Sally Quinn, doyenne of the Washington Post and the Georgetown social set as well as the wife of legendary former Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee, has taken out after Governor Palin. The moose-hunting, snowmobiling Palin is not a regular on the same social circuit as Ms. Quinn. Ms. Quinn, it seems, objects to the fact that the working-class Governor Palin, potentially Vice President or even President Palin, has five kids, one of whom is a Down’s syndrome special needs baby. This, Quinn tells us, is some sort of “tipping point” that disqualifies Palin for office. Said Quinn dismissively: “I don’t see how you can make your family your first priority.” Another Quinn gem was that the Palin selection is a “political gimmick…I find it insulting to women, to the Republican Party, and to the country.”
If ever there were a vivid illustration of the reason the New Media thrives while the old liberal establishment media is dying on the vine, its television ratings anemic and circulation numbers dropping like a stone, it is Ms. Quinn’s presumed thunderbolt from what she doubtless once considered a print and electronic version of Mount Olympus. You know, if Sally thinks X and all Sally and Ben’s buddies in the green rooms, newsrooms and drawing rooms of Washington and New York think X, then X must then be The Truth. The Received Truth. Which will in turn be duly dispensed for all the great unwashed out there in America to note and follow in the fashion of Moses and the Ten Commandments.
The problem for Ms. Quinn and what she freely concedes she is part of (“what one would call the liberal media elite,” as she described it the other morning on the CBS Early Show) is that in the world of the New Media (not to mention the wired world of America) everyone — everyone — is on to how Ms. Quinn and her friends operate. Rank-and-file conservative Americans look at this old media campaign to destroy the life of Sarah Palin and remember what was done to people like, say, Clarence Thomas. They get it. They understand condescending arrogance when they see it, have a very real understanding of just who these Palin critics are and what they are really trying to do. By the grace of talk radio, the Internet, and Fox, they also know that the Bastille that was once the liberal media fortress has been overrun — and the key is in their hands. The once powerful ability of Ms. Quinn and her friends to set the American agenda has vanished, leaving behind a crowd of angry would-be power brokers with not much power left to broker.
I’m never big on personal attacks in politics. The best policy is to let them speak for themselves, which Ms. Quinn’s surely do. She has had apparent second thoughts and went on the Bill O’Reilly show to say, “I was wrong.” But the personal attacks on Governor Palin and her family cry out for a response, beginning with Ms. Quinn’s. As this campaign reaches its final stage, it is time for that McCain favorite: “straight talk.”
JUST WHO IS SALLY QUINN to be loftily informing the rest of us about Governor Palin’s family situation and qualifications? From the pages of her husband Ben Bradlee’s memoir The Good Life, one can glean a lot about not only Ms. Quinn but just why it is that so many Americans have an instinctive mistrust — okay, loathing — for the liberal media establishment Ms. Quinn and her husband and friends so famously represent. Safely in retirement, Ben Bradlee provides a keyhole view of how the inner machinery of the great liberal media world really works.
Sally Quinn, according to Ben, first came to his attention when she was “introduced to me after [a Post executive] interviewed her for a job as secretary to the editorial page editor.” What did Bradlee, the powerful executive editor, think of Ms. Quinn and her professional abilities? “I advised him against hiring her, and not just because she couldn’t take shorthand. Speaking for myself, I suggested to Phil that anyone that attractive could make work difficult.” So, on the basis of her looks, Ms. Quinn was not hired because Mr. Bradlee believed he could not cope were she to be in his vicinity.
But fear not! A “month or so later” when the Post was looking for “someone to cover parties” in Washington, “Sally Quinn’s name resurfaced.” She was, Bradlee tells us, “perfectly suited for the job.” Perfectly suited, that is, “except for one small problem.” The problem? “[S]he had never written a word in her life.” So. The hot-looking Ms. Quinn, whose looks Bradlee says could make his working life “difficult,” gets hired to write at the Washington Post, one of the most prestigious and powerful papers of the day. Even though Sally not only can’t take shorthand but can’t write either. Says Bradlee: “Nobody’s perfect.”p>Soon, our heroine is grinding it out. Bradlee cites a paragraph from one of his favorite Sally pieces: br> /p>
“On the Washington Affair: For the mistress there is the pleasure of having and exerting power over a man who is powerful himself. For the wife there is the title, the social status and the money. And for the man himself, there is the satisfaction of having his needs met by two women. In the Washington Affair there is something for everyone.br> Got it. What happens next?
Says Ben: “…I had reached another one of those critical forks in the road. One way involved staying with Tony [that would be Tony Pinchot Bradlee, Ben’s wife], the woman I had once loved, the mother of two of my children, and trying to rekindle happiness. The other way involved recognizing that I had fallen in love, and that meant exploring a different life with Sally….” What did Ben do? “My solution was to move into a hotel for a month and then into an apartment in the Watergate complex. Sally joined me there…” You have to love that last line. Bradlee makes it sound like hot Sally was just a young associate getting a new office in the town’s leading white shoe law firm or leading business. In a way, she was. You have to admire Ben’s standing up for affirmative action.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online