I ran across this article on Sarah Palin, published October 27, 2008. The writer is Elaine Lafferty, a former editor-in-chief of Ms. Magazine and a Democrat. Lafferty spent time on the McCain campaign trail with Sarah, and says Palin knows exactly who she is, has a photographic memory, is thoughtful and “will intrigue you.” Lafferty’s title uses the word “brainiac,” and she compares her to Senator Sam Ervin, and says she is just that “brilliant.” Enjoy. This is such a rare thing. Don’t know how I missed it back in 2008. Find a link to her September 2, 2011 Iowa speech and transcript below.
It’s difficult not to froth when one reads, as I did again and again this week, doubts about Sarah Palin’s “intelligence,” coming especially from women such as PBS’s Bonnie Erbe, who, as near as I recall, has not herself heretofore been burdened with the Susan Sontag of Journalism moniker. As Fred Barnes—God help me, I’m agreeing with Fred Barnes—suggests in the Weekly Standard, these high toned and authoritative dismissals come from people who have never met or spoken with Sarah Palin. Those who know her, love her or hate her, offer no such criticism. They know what I know, and I learned it from spending just a little time traveling on the cramped campaign plane this week: Sarah Palin is very smart.
I’m a Democrat, but I’ve worked as a consultant with the McCain campaign since shortly after Palin’s nomination. Last week, there was the thought that as a former editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine as well as a feminist activist in my pre-journalism days, I might be helpful in contributing to a speech that Palin had long wanted to give on women’s rights.
What is often called her “confidence” is actually a rarity in national politics: I saw a woman who knows exactly who she is.
Now by “smart,” I don’t refer to a person who is wily or calculating or nimble in the way of certain talented athletes who we admire but suspect don’t really have serious brains in their skulls. I mean, instead, a mind that is thoughtful, curious, with a discernable pattern of associative thinking and insight. Palin asks questions, and probes linkages and logic that bring to mind a quirky law professor I once had. Palin is more than a “quick study”; I’d heard rumors around the campaign of her photographic memory and, frankly, I watched it in action. She sees. She processes. She questions, and only then, she acts. What is often called her “confidence” is actually a rarity in national politics: I saw a woman who knows exactly who she is.
For all those old enough to remember Senator Sam Ervin, the brilliant strict constitutional constructionist and chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee whose patois included “I’m just a country lawyer”…Yup, Palin is that smart.
So no simple task then, this speech on women’s rights. For the sin of being a Christian personally opposed to abortion, Palin is being pilloried by the inside-the-Beltway Democrat feminist establishment. (Yes, she is anti-abortion. And yes, instead of buying organic New Zealand lamb at Whole Foods, she joins other Alaskans in hunting for food. That’s it. She is not a right-wing nut, and all the rest of the Internet drivel—the book banning at the Library, the rape kits decision —is nonsense.