Reading Noam Scheiber’s piece on Sarah Palin, we finally see the bits and pieces of her career that were obscured by journalistic laziness. While most journalists were caterwauling about not being able to sit down and interview her, Scheiber went and interviewed other people:
“I don’t think he had too much patience for her lack of understanding,” says John Stein, then the town’s mayor. In internal discussions, Carney would be relentlessly logical while Palin was vague and intuitive. “Nick had a way of being direct and to the point, something that Sarah was uncomfortable with,” recalls Chase. Which is to say, when it came to garbage removal, what Palin seemed to have chafed against was less the substance of Carney’s position than what she felt was his elitist, Ivy League bearing. And, over the next few years, she found ways to get him back.
There’s anti-elitism, and then there’s insecurity. I don’t mind elitism or anti-elitism — both are political tools that are used by intelligent people. Insecurity, on the other hand, is a problem in decision-making. The portrait Scheiber paints is one of an ambitious woman whose desire to compete with those who she viewed as holding themselves higher.
The motivation isn’t clear, though Scheiber indicates that Palin is pretty uncomfortable around higher intellects. There may be more to it than that. I don’t think it’s hard to believe that Palin believes that she has a special understanding of the “common folk,” and doesn’t see others as being in touch.
This is the reporting I like in The New Republic. It’s the reporting that enables TNR writers to go to the Times, or the Journal as reporters, rather than as editorial writers. It’s also the reporting that conservatives are only now beginning to do more of at a young age. (See also David Freddoso.) If there’s any chance conservatives can ensure the balance of the press, it’s by doing pieces like this for actual print journalism outlets.