There is a wonderful scene in an old West Wing episode, in which a fashion reporter who has somehow made her way into the daily White House press briefing takes a cheap shot at press secratary C. J. Craig for changing out of formal attire before briefing the press on a tragic occurrence. Later on, after C. J. has royally screwed the airhead over, she says to her, in an immortal line, "I mean, you are stupid, but you are not STUPID." Which is to say, she may not know beans about national politics [like how many members of the House of Representatives there are], but she perfectly well understands why C. J. changed her clothes.
O.K. Fast forward to the current Palin phenomenon. Here is what is happening, as I see it. The pundits of both the mainstream media and the blogosphere, who are, whatever their failings, by and large intelligent and well-informed, view Palin as a joke [which of course she is], and everything they say about her communicates their disdain. Even Oprah, surely the most supportive interviewer imaginable, was unable to conceal her disdain for Palin, who is a narcissistic, ignorant, self-promoting nonentity who has risen many levels above whatever modicum of competance she has acquired. Now, Palin's fans may not be well-educated, or knowledgeable about national and international affairs, or well-spoken, or sophisticated. They may, in C. J. Craig's phrase, "be stupid." But they are not STUPID. They know perfectly well that the people smirking and winking and laughing at Palin are also smirking and winking and laughing at them. And the don't like it.
They didn't like it before Palin came on the scene, and the like it even less now. Which is why they react phobically to the Ivy League, even though George W. Bush went to Yale and Harvard, and why they made fun of John Kerry for wind-surfing, and why they think it is great that Palin pretends to be a moose hunter, even though most of them wouldn't know a moose if it bit them in the rear.
In the old days, before America forgot that it is divided into classes, this was understood as class resentment. The tragedy is that class resentment in America used to feed the forces of reform and revolution. Now it serves the interests of reaction.