two scenarios

Today, Jason Zengerle writes about Ross Douthat’s column on Sarah Palin. According to Zengerle, “after briefly acknowledging that Palin made mistakes, Ross goes on to blame her plight on elites' mistreatment of her.” Actually, Ross says that “last Friday’s bizarre, rambling resignation speech should take her off the political map for the duration of the Obama era.” And then he says that, while a resignation for personal reasons elicits sympathy, “A Sarah Palin who resigned in the delusional belief that it would give her a better shot at the presidency in 2012 warrants no such kindness.” And then he goes on to write, “With her missteps, scandals, dreadful interviews and self-pitying monologues, she’s botched an essential democratic role — the ordinary citizen who takes on the elites.” Maybe Zengerle didn't read that far. He also thinks that Ross says that hostility to Palin is hostility to the “democratic ideal,” but Ross doesn't say that.

Ross’s actual argument is — and this should be obvious to anyone who’s not as binary as Zengerle — a both/and: Palin “botched” her chance and the “elites” were going to mock her no matter what, just because of the world she came from.

Radley Balko makes a very similar point this morning: “It is possible that Sarah Palin was both unfairly mistreated and personally attacked by the media and many on the left, and that her family was rather ruthlessly and mercilessly run through the ringer . . . and that she’s a not particularly bright, not particularly curious, once libertarian-leaning governor who sadly devolved into a predictable, buzzword spouting culture warrior when she was prematurely picked for national office by John McCain.

“These two scenarios can coexist.”

Indeed they can, and they’re both right.