I was distressed to read your latest column in which you announced that Sarah Palin had re-qualified herself under your standards to continue running for Vice President, as I had written you after a previous column in which you excoriated Palin and characterized her as an embarrassment after you'd seen her two heavily edited gotcha interviews which had been conducted by people with an agenda to elect Barack Obama, Charles Gibson, and the other Katie, whom Camille Paglia just labeled a "viper."
It wasn't, as you wondered, what "they" had done with the "other Sarah Palin" in the debate, the one who made you cringe, it was that we were once again able to view Palin unplugged – and unedited.
I had asked, if Palin showed by her debate performance that she was not the vacuous hick that ABC and CBS tried to portray her as, that you do a mea culpa on the same scale and force as your original criticism. That would have involved not attempting to save face, but instead, to throw yourself on the mercy of your readership such as it now remains, and to admit just how wrong you were, not so much in your criticism as in your not realizing the effect it would have.
Because lets admit that you weren't the best known columnist prior to your leveling of Sarah Palin, yet in the moments following, you were suddenly heralded as some conservative sage – by the enemy – whom you aided and comforted. Then again, maybe they're not your enemy, but undisputedly, they are Sarah's. And make no mistake, they aren't people who merely take exception to Palin and her views, they are vicious dogs who have thrown everything they can at her and her family and, as I write, they are still searching every nook and cranny for anything that could not just keep her from winning, but which would destroy her forever.
That's the kind of people your column appealed to. That's why you suddenly made headlines as a "conservative columnist" and caused me to pause in order to recall just who you were.
But whoever you were, at that moment you'd been raised up as the left raises up every pseudo-conservative traitor (Scott McClellan comes to mind). You had done well by them, even doing what they, themselves, couldn't – you had raised doubts and depressed spirits as only one of ours could.
And so your follow-up column needed to try to do what it couldn't and attempt to repair some of the damage. Since you no longer had any standing (if you had previously) it mattered not one bit that you now found Palin to be acceptable again, especially since the aforementioned Paglia was, on the same day, praising Palin as a force to be reckoned with. How is it that Camille Paglia not only recognizes what you couldn't, but she recognizes Palin's strong points in the same terms and on the same scale as you trumpeted what you perceived as her shortcomings?
You've failed us twice, Ms. Parker. You see, I can criticize Sarah Palin because I have an audience of dozens – on my best day. In your position, you have an obligation to write with more restraint and to get it as right as possible. Worse, you must have known what your words would set in motion, and because of that, nothing short of a prostrate columnist could even begin to repair the damage you did. Sure it would have been extremely demeaning. People might never again have the same regard for you they once did.
Except that by your own admission after reading the "hate" emails which your outrageous anti-Palin column generated, a whole lot of people had already reformulated their opinion (and possibly their criteria) of you as a conservative columnist. I certainly don't condone any vile comments you received, but at least now you can go and be whatever you wish, though that won't include being regarded as "conservative" again anytime soon – unless of course you'd care to write a second column about what a horrible candidate Sarah Palin is?