Palindeathrace1

Joe Klein fears the potency of Palin's story:

Palin's embrace of small-town values is where her hold on the national imagination begins. She embodies the most basic American myth Jefferson's yeoman farmer, the fantasia of rural righteousness updated in a crucial way: now Mom works too. Palin's story stands with one foot squarely in the nostalgia for small-town America and the other in the new middle-class reality. She brings home the bacon, raises the kids with a significant assist from Mr. Mom hunts moose and looks great in the process. I can't imagine a more powerful, or current, American Dream.

It is, indeed, a great concept. I can see why someone would want to buy it. I can see why those independents who were once Republicans might have been cheered by the concept of Sarah Palin, as McCain obviously was for the five minutes he thought it over.

Moreover, Joe doesn't mention here the critical element that really does make her a very powerful figure with the base - is her decision to go through eight months of nerve-wracking pregnancy to give birth to a child with Down Syndrome. To put herself through the emotional toll of that, because she doesn't believe in abortion (although she does believe in amniocentesis), and to risk all the physical dangers of giving birth to such a child in her forties, even to the point of braving what must have been a truly grueling airplane flight with her amniotic fluid leaking for twelve hours, is what makes or breaks her candidacy. As Tyler Cowen memorably put it two weeks ago:

There is one biographical fact about Palin's life that the critics (Drum, DeLong, Yglesias, Klein, Sullivan and Kleiman are among the ones I read) are hardly touching upon.  I mean her decision to have a Downs child instead of an abortion. This is the fact about her life and it will be viewed as such from now through November and perhaps beyond.

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