“Let Allah Sort It Out”

I’m not quite willing to go as far as Salon‘s Joan Walsh, who says that St. Joan of the Tundra is politically relevant again now that she’s kissed and made up with Fox News. But she is right that there is a certain feral kind of right-wing rhetoric–always battening on the cultural grievances and perceived victimization of proudly under-educated and conspiracy-oriented white folks–on which Sarah Palin is pretty hard to beat, viz. her star turn at Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition Coalition clambake this weekend. Walsh focuses on Palin’s gleeful bashing of Jeb Bush for celebrating the fecundity of immigrants. What really caught my attention were her thoughtful comments on Syria.

She’s alluding, of course, to the ancient (or at least medieval: it is said to have originated during the slaughter of Cathars during the Catholic Church’s savage thirteenth-century Albigensian heresy hunt) sneer of contempt for the confusing conflicts of lesser breeds: “Kill them all and let God sort them out.” Palin compounds that outburst of homicidal “humor” by suggesting that “Allah” is something other than the Arabic word for “God,” the Abrahamic deity whose authority for culturally conservative positions she claimed frequently elsewhere in her remarks to Reed’s crowd.

No, there’s nobody quite like La Pasionaria of the Permafrost, and I’m afraid so long as there is a demand for her peculiarly uninhibited and self-righteous politics, based on aggressive ignorance and an absolute lack of shame about just making stuff up (viz. “death panels”), she won’t go away.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.