Palin's Comeback to Santorum: "Knuckle-Dragging Neanderthal"

What Women Really Think
Feb. 10 2011 12:11 PM

Palin's Comeback to Santorum: "Knuckle-Dragging Neanderthal"


Never let it be said that Sarah Palin allowed an insult to slip by without comment: Yesterday, after Rick Santorum subtly undermined the ex-Alaska governor for being a mother with a career ( if not a job, precisely, at the moment), she fired back directly at the charge with a grizzly-feminist brio, in an interview with Sean Hannity: " Just because I'm a mom that does not mean that I didn't want to be there. ... I'm the proud mother of five. My kids don't hold me back from attending a conference." And then, in classic Palin style, she added, "I will not call him the knuckle-dragging Neanderthal. I'll let his wife call him that instead."


As comebacks go, it's a good one: His comment was indeed a retrograde one. (Grizzly battle cry "man up" obviously only applies to homo sapiens.) But I wonder what would have happened if Palin had taken the high road. Several professional Republicans I spoke to recently (who'd formerly been big Palin boosters) said that they are increasingly bothered by her quickness to play the victim card and the pleasure she apparently takes in squabbles like this one that keep her in the news. Perhaps she won the round, but if Palin's really serious about going for the 2012 nomination (and who knows if she is?), resisting the mudslinging urge for a bit might be a smart move.

Photograph of Sarah Palin by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

Noreen Malone is a senior editor at New York magazine.



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Learns That Breaking Up a Country Is Hard to Do

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola: It Preys on the Compassionate

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!


Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 19 2014 12:33 PM The Precarious Predicament of Russia’s Neighbors
Sept. 19 2014 12:09 PM How Accelerators Have Changed Startup Funding
The Eye
Sept. 19 2014 12:50 PM This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 12:10 PM Watch the Trailer for Big Eyes, a Tim Burton Movie About People With Normal-Sized Eyes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 12:38 PM Forward, March! Nine leading climate scientists urge you to attend the People’s Climate March.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 12:13 PM The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola  The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.