Is Sarah Palin America’s Ahmadinejad?

See my regular column in Salon.com, “Sarah Palin, meet Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: You two right-wing populists have a surprising amount in common.”

Excerpt: “Palin portrays herself as the small-town outsider. “I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment,” she proclaimed last fall. She blamed her bad press on not being in the “Washington elite,” when, in fact, self-inflicted debacles such as her deer-in-the-headlights interview with Katie Couric, in which she demonstrated a shaky grasp of world politics, are a better explanation for media questions about her qualifications. In his debates with rivals for the presidency this spring, Ahmadinejad apparently damaged his standing with voters by attacking the wife of his electoral rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and tarring previous presidents of the Islamic Republic from the centrist and reform factions as having been corrupt. On June 5, he said on Iranian radio that since he was not a part of that closed “power circle,” he had been targeted for both a domestic and an international media “smear campaign.” Actually, Ahmadinejad was raked over the coals during the campaign by Mousavi for his ignorant and bigoted statements about Israel, which, Mousavi pointed out, had damaged Iran’s standing in the international community.”

Read the whole thing.

By the way, for right wing populism as a concept, see this essay from a few years ago by Thomas Frank and, if you haven’t, check out his important book, What’s the Matter with Kansas?

And, my readers are welcome to play the game of comparing Palin and Ahmadinejad on other issues in the Comments. I’ll move the best ones up to this page.

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