Back in the Middle Ages, there was this mass madness that would descend on portions of the population every so often, causing men, women and children to writhe and flip in the air, foam at the mouth, laugh maniacally and scream hallucinatory blather until finally collapsing from exhaustion or death.
Sometimes thought to be the work of the devil, these spurts of frenzy finally disappeared in the 17th century, and did not re-emerge until fairly recently. That was when John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate on the Republican ticket this year.
Then it was as if we were experiencing a new round of the long-departed St. Vitus’ dance phenomenon, only this time it manifested itself in pointlessly aghast news reports on Palin, virulent commentaries, blog-site lies and other means by which the supposedly enlightened aimed to encourage similar hysteria from sea to shining sea.
The worst of it, to me, was the tawdry attention paid to a pregnant daughter who was unmarried but would not be for much longer. Here was an effort, I guess, to say the mother doesn’t know the uses of abortion, or doesn’t know how to raise a daughter.
The real lesson was about the low tastes of those intruding on family privacy, and the stupidity of the people who think a matter of this sort is in some way relevant to the office sought.
But the people worrying most about this haven’t seemed to care much about Barack Obama’s inexperience, and they don’t seem to get it that while Palin may have little in her background that relates to foreign affairs, her experience outstrips the head of the Democratic ticket in virtually every other way.
Some testimony to this effect comes from what some might think an unexpected quarter, a Washington Post editorial that examines the way in which Palin took on all kinds of political and financial interests in redirecting and furthering a project crucial to America’s energy future, a natural-gas pipeline from Alaska.
Not all is said and done yet, but the Post finds much positive about what Palin has so far accomplished, and here’s what I would contend: In the whole of his public career, Obama has never done anything nearly so significant.
In the end, it is not the devil making people come up with their attacks, but a leftist ideology that recognizes nothing of worth in people who don’t subscribe to it and that fears its ascendancy to power might be blocked by this woman.
Guess what? It might be.
Decades ago, I was a reporter in Albany, N.Y., working for a newspaper at the foot of a hill that could be ascended only with huffing, puffing, knee endangerment and sweat unless you employed a trick.