Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and historian at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.
FP: Victor Hanson, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Hanson: Glad to be here again.
FP: Sarah Palin is, clearly, carving out a national presence right now. It’s not just the appeal of her book, but also her outspokenness on the Copenhagen conference and other issues. What do you think she might be up to? And what is she tapping into? What are her possibilities?
Hanson: I think she taps into a current of populist unhappiness in the country with Washington insiders, Big Money, and condescending elites in the media and popular culture. The Wasilla mom of five, married to the snow-mobile champ, is simply the antithesis of all that. She senses the general disgust with an insider class that has nearly bankrupted the country through insane federal spending and equally insane financial speculation. She resonates in this regard mostly through an authentic middle-class upbringing, the real-world living of Alaska, natural intelligence, spunk and drive that sent one from the Wasilla city-council to the governorship of Alaska—and common sense answers like less government, lower taxes, more self-reliance, and national confidence.
Her can-do “let’s develop our own energy and spend no more than we earn” creed has a reassurance in these days. People root for her. The Ivy-Leaguers in government, whether the lawyer Obama or the economist Summers, haven’t exactly wowed the public with their studied brilliance so far.
Palin feels at ease with Middle America, and in a strange way is the antithesis to Barack Obama. Both are young, and charismatic, and appeal to populist constituencies. But whereas Obama came out of a Honolulu prep school and elite Ivy League hot-house, and had to acquire, quite artificially, his street credentials at the foot of Rev. Wright and in the Chicago scratch-back world of Valerie Jarrett and Mayor Daley, Palin was a true product of the working class and took on rather than swam into the status quo political structure.