The upheaval of the eastern establishment: How Palin was a prelude to Trump
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As the New York Post reports: “Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit against The New York Times should be tossed because the paper made ‘an honest mistake’ when it said she incited a 2011 shooting that severely wounded former Democratic congresswoman Gabby Giffords and killed six people, a lawyer for the Gray Lady said on Friday.”

The New York Post explains, “Palin sued the Times over a June 14th editorial that stated there was a ‘direct’ link between one of Palin’s PAC ads and the shooting by Jared Lee Loughner.”

I have a few words on the very strange case of the Gray Lady and Palin. But they were written way back in January 2011 when The New York Times first associated former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with extremism and violent bloodshed in their pages.

I wrote this for The Hill:

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“It is fair to ask, as New York Times reporters Carl Hulse and Kate Zernike do in a front-page story Sunday (“Bloodshed Puts New Focus on Vitriol in Politics”), ‘whether extremism, anti-government sentiment and even simple political passion at both ends of the ideological spectrum have created a climate promoting violence.’”

 

But for the Times, even though the “exact motivations of the suspect in the shootings remain unclear,” it is indeed suggested that this could be subtly related to Sarah Palin and her lost boys, the Tea Party.

“During last spring’s health care votes, the language used against some lawmakers was ratcheted up again, with protesters outside the House hurling insults and slurs. The offices of some Democrats, including Ms. Giffords’ in Tucson, were vandalized” they wrote in the 2011 piece.

And this: “Ms. Giffords was also among a group of Democratic House candidates featured on the Website of Sarah Palin’s political action committee with cross hairs over their districts, a fact that disturbed Ms. Giffords at the time.”

Palin posted a statement saying “my sincere condolences are offered to the family of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today’s tragic shooting in Arizona. On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.”

This is mnemonic slander, that is, slander of Palin by vague and unsubstantiated association with political terrorism. In fact, it was The New York Times and other eastern outlets - the phrase “Eastern Establishment” had become perfunctory - that had set their sights (to coin a phrase) on Palin.

Why?

Because very simply put, Sarah Palin would bring an end to their world, and she has. She brought apocalypse to the eastern establishment.

To understand the widespread hysteria of the liberal media when Palin appeared, visualize this:

“There comes a moment, said Edward Edinger, New York’s pioneering psychoanalyst, when something comes unfettered and free as if from nowhere and brings an end to all the systems and their agents and arts that we take for granted as part of who we are and what we always expect to be. The end of the generation’s saints and god kings; Mick Jagger and Hillary and Bill. The end of history; the end of Marx and Hamilton, the end of Congress, Wall Street, the Yankees and The New York Times. The end of that and that and all of that, as Robert Graves phrased Europe’s death in 1917, the end of everything. This, said Edinger, is the apocalypse, and it could just as easily be bloodless as not,” I wrote in 2008.

And it could bring, and it did, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'I don't trust everybody in the White House' JPMorgan CEO withdraws from Saudi conference Trump defends family separations at border MORE to the Oval Office. Palin was prelude and harbinger to Trump’s arrival.

What brought my fascination with Sarah Palin when she first appeared on the political scene was a reading 20 years ago of a now famous book — Steve Bannon’s favorite book — “The Fourth Turning” by William Strauss and Neil Howe. With the sudden appearance of Palin it was possible to see the rise of new political archetypes and forms and they are now upon us.

It was not President Donald Trump that brought the age, although he turned the key. It was Palin. And it was she who brought the reawakened spirit of Andrew Jackson, today associated with the rise of Trump.

“The change that is rising now with Palin, Ron Paul and the Tea Party certainly contains Jeffersonian elements about placing limits on the federal government, but, culturally, it also resembles the rise of Andrew Jackson and the free people of the western regions demanding their place and coming into the country politically,” I wrote in The Hill way back in July, 2010.

No wonder the New York press was afraid of her then. No wonder they are still.

Or was the Times editorial just “an honest mistake”?

Bernie Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.