Both Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich have it right. Sneer and dismiss Sarah Palin -- and/or the sentiment she taps -- at your political peril. Dowd writes that President Obama could use some of Palin's visceral appeal.
Palin can be stupefyingly simplistic, but she seems dynamic. Obama is impressively complex but he seems static.
She nurtures her grass roots while he neglects his.
He struggles to transcend identity politics while she wallows in them. As he builds an emotional moat around himself, she exuberantly pushes whatever she has, warts and all — the good looks, the tabloid-perfect family, the Alaska quirkiness, the kids with the weird names.
Just like the disastrous and anti-intellectual W., this Visceral One never doubts herself. The Cerebral One welcomes doubt.
Rich focuses on what Palin represents.
Culture is politics. Palin is at the red-hot center of age-old American resentments that have boiled up both from the ascent of our first black president and from the intractability of the Great Recession for those Americans who haven’t benefited from bailouts. As Palin thrives on the ire of the left, so she does from the disdain of Republican leaders who, with a condescension rivaling the sexism they decry in liberals, belittle her as a lightweight or instruct her to eat think-tank spinach.
The only person who can derail Palin is Palin herself. Should she not self-destruct, she will doom G.O.P. hopes of a 2012 comeback. But the rest of the country cannot rest easy. The rage out there is larger than Palin and defies partisan labeling.