Class war: Palin vs. Kennedy

The Alaska governor suggests the media is going easy on the Senate hopeful because of class.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

Published January 9, 2009 11:39AM (EST)

I can't believe I'm going to say this: I might actually kind of agree with Sarah Palin -- on one thing, at least. As War Room reported earlier, she suggested in a Monday interview with conservative talk show host John Ziegler that there might be an element of classism in the media's handling of her versus Caroline Kennedy:

I’ve been interested to see how Caroline Kennedy will be handled and if she will be handled with kid gloves or if she will be under such a microscope. It’s going to be interesting to see how that plays out and I think that as we watch that we will perhaps be able to prove that there is a class issue here also that was such a factor in the scrutiny of my candidacy versus, say, the scrutiny of what her candidacy may be.

She makes a decent point. After all, Tina Brown laid out the problem with handing Kennedy the New York Senate seat so that she can sprinkle "JFK fairy dust" on Obama, and Maureen Dowd teased Kennedy a bit, particularly about her proclivity for "ums" and "you knows" -- but both ultimately endorsed her. In Dowd's case, explicitly because she knows her; they run in the same circles.

But I'm only willing to go so far with the classism defense, especially when it comes to running for vice president of the United States. (It isn't an excuse for not being able to name a single newspaper, for example.) Also, as Salon's editor in chief Joan Walsh wrote in response to a series of staff e-mails earlier today: "Palin's top boosters were right-wing men who went on the various winger cruises to Alaska and dined with the sexy governor. So ... charisma and personal connections work in lots of directions."

Tracy Clark-Flory

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