This column is why, when people ask what I read, I say, “Dan Henninger” and not “Peggy Noonan.”
Apart from my history binge reading: Dan Henninger, Mark Steyn, Thomas Sowell, Ace, Jonah Goldberg, & Rich Lowry. These are my fav pundits.
Back to Henninger. He defends Palin the way I wish I could (because he’s a great writer).
The abuse being heaped on Sarah Palin is such a cheap shot.
The complaint against the Alaska governor, at its most basic, is that she doesn’t qualify for admission to the national political fraternity. Boy, that’s rich. Behold the shabby frat house that says it’s above her pay grade.
Congress has the lowest approval rating ever registered in the history of polling (12%!). She isn’t the reason polls are showing people want the entire Congress fired, with many telling pollsters they themselves could do a better job.
Sarah Palin didn’t design a system of presidential primaries whose length and cost ensures that only the most obsessional personalities will run the gauntlet, while a long list of effective governors don’t run.
These rules have wasted the electorate’s time the past three presidential elections, by filling the debates with such zero-support candidates as Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, Al Sharpton, Duncan Hunter, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden (8,000 total votes), Wesley Clark and Alan Keyes.
Out of this process has fallen a Democratic nominee who entered the U.S. Senate in 2005 fresh off a stint in the Illinois state legislature, with next to no record of political accomplishment. He may be elected mainly because, in Colin Powell’s word, he is thought to be “transformational.” One may hope so.
By not bothering to look very deeply at the details beneath either candidate’s governing proposals, the media have created a lot of downtime to take free kicks at Gov. Palin. My former colleague, Tunku Varadarajan, has compiled a glossary of Palin invective, and I’ve added a few: “Republican blow-up doll,” “idiot,” “Christian Stepford wife,” “Jesus freak,” “Caribou Barbie,” “a dope,” “a fatal cancer to the Republican Party,” “liar,” “a national disgrace” and “her pretense that she is a woman.”
If American politics is at low ebb, it is because so many of its observers enjoy working in its fetid backwash.
The primary discomfort with Gov. Palin is the notion that she doesn’t have sufficient experience to be president, that Sen. McCain should have picked a Washington hand seasoned in the ways of the world. Such as? Here’s an opinion poll question:
If as Joe Biden suggests the U.S. is likely to be tested by a foreign enemy next year, who of the following would you rather have dealing with it in the Oval Office: Nancy (of Damascus) Pelosi, Harry Reid, John Edwards, Joe (the U.S. drove Hezbollah out of Lebanon) Biden, Mike Huckabee, Geraldine Ferraro, Tom DeLay, Jimmy Carter or Sarah Palin?
My pick? Gov. Palin, surely the most grounded, common-sense person on that list of prime-time politicians.
The quick surge of party-wide excitement and campaign contributions after his selection of Sarah Palin made clear that the McCain candidacy was moribund and headed for a low-turnout debacle. If he had picked any of the plain-vanilla men on his veep short list — Pawlenty, Sanford, Romney or Lieberman — they’d have won approval from the media’s college of cardinals, and killed his campaign.
The stoning of Sarah Palin has exposed enough cultural fissures in American politics to occupy strategists full-time until 2012. We now see there is a left-to-right elite centered in New York, Washington, Hollywood and Silicon Valley who hand down judgments of the nation’s mortals from their perch atop the Bell Curve.
It seems only yesterday that the most critical skill in presidential politics was being able to connect to people in places like Bronko’s bar or Saddleback Church. When Gov. Palin showed she excelled at that, the goal posts suddenly moved and the new game was being able to talk the talk in London, Paris, Tehran or Moscow. She looks about a half-step behind Sen. Obama on that learning curve.
Lorne Michaels, the executive producer of “Saturday Night Live,” lives on the forward wave of American life. This week he gave his view of Sarah Palin to EW.com: “I think Palin will continue to be underestimated for a while. I watched the way she connected with people, and she’s powerful. Her politics aren’t my politics. But you can see that she’s a very powerful, very disciplined, incredibly gracious woman. This was her first time out and she’s had a huge impact. People connect to her.”
Uh-oh. Sounds like the cancer could be in remission.
(per usual, emphasis added)
There is no problem with conservatism. Maybe the Republican party. But not conservatism. This country remains center-right in its political orientation. The reason McCain has done so well is because Palin energized so many people–and all of this despite Democrats’ massive home-court advantage (Bush, Iraq, Ted Stevens, the credit crisis, I’m sure I’m forgetting something).
This country is looking for some excuse–any excuse would do–to vote for someone other than Barack Obama. I respect John McCain and certainly honor his service, but heaven knows I’ve had my problems with him as a Presidential candidate.
Above all else, a loss by McCain should not be viewed as a repudiation of conservatism or Sarah Palin. The opposite is true. Conservatism is still favored by a majority in this country (if not “Republicanism”) and, excepting the media, Angry Left, and political elites, loves Sarah Palin.
That is to say, average Joes like Sarah Palin.
If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.