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March 08, 2010

Much Ado About Sarah

Paul J. of Comic Nut's Jar has posed a question:

Sarah Palin, in my opinion, is a "throwback" type of politician.

It's my belief that in this country's infancy the politicians were
people that led working, middle/middle-upper class lives. They saw a
way to serve their country in some capacity (be it a president, a
mayor, a governor, senator etc) and then they returned to their normal lives as American citizens.

Today, we seem have nothing but career politicians. People born into
political families who seem to know nothing about how the average
American lives on a day to day basis.

Palin reminds me of those politicians of old. She's your next door
neighbor, the other mom at your kid's karate class etc - but with a
keen political view.

So here is my question:

Why did Palin stir up so much emotion? Do you think the reason she is so despised by some is that she threatens "The Elite's" control on
politics?

Is it that the middle class is so disgusting to these people they
couldn't imagine a member of the unwashed mass leading people? Or is
she really just stupid? Or is it something else entirely?

First, let's deal with the factors identified by Paul:

1. Do you think the reason she is so despised by some is that she threatens "The Elite's" control on politics?

I very much doubt the average American harbors deep affection for members of the political elite. I find it even harder to believe the average voter has any real desire to protect or preserve their interests. Voters are more interested in protecting their own interests, however perceived or defined. To the extent a politician succeeds in identifying himself with those interests or in convincing the public he can deliver what they want, he will succeed or fail. This was Obama's greatest strength as a candidate: people heard what they wanted to hear in his speeches. Rightly or wrongly, they were convinced what he was selling was what they wanted.

2. Is it that the middle class is so disgusting to these people they couldn't imagine a member of the unwashed mass leading people?

I'm not sure what class has to do with anything. When Microsoft, Intel, GM or any other large corporation hires a CEO, they're interested in experience and ability, not social class. Being an everyman or woman might help people identify with you, but it isn't any kind of qualification for high office.

Here's a better question: what qualifications is it reasonable to expect in a candidate for the highest (or second highest) office in the land? Before throwing the question out to you all, I'll be happy to proffer my own criteria:

1. Leadership experience. When trying to decide whether a candidate can lead the world's largest superpower it seems reasonable to ask, "How much executive experience do you have, and how applicable is it to the Presidency?" As I noted in an earlier post, the job most like the Presidency is governorship of a large state. By this measure Palin was unarguably the most qualified candidate on the slate. On the other hand, Alaska is not California or Texas and she didn't have the depth of experience of a Ronald Reagan, a Lyndon Johnson, or a George Bush. The question here is, "What have you done in your lifetime that demonstrates you have the ability and experience to lead a country of this size?"

2. Experience on Capitol Hill or a suitable substitute. Many a politician has seen his hopes of reforming Washington sink in the La Brea tar pit of partisan rancor. Therefore, it seems reasonable to ask whether the candidate can demonstrate the ability to build consensus for his platform and effect enough of a compromise to get fence straddlers on board? The question here is, "What have you done that demonstrates the ability to gain the cooperation of disparate factions behind a large scale initiative?

Though compromise has become a dirty word in politics these days, it is more necessary than ever.

3. Rhetorical ability. Preaching to the choir is fine when your choir is large enough to vote you into office, but the true test of political acumen is finding common ground with those who disagree with you: minimizing differences and emphasizing common interests. Presidents must deal with not only competing constituencies at home but with foreign nations whose interests often sharply conflict with our own. The fine art of sticking to ones' guns without arousing unneeded antipathy is rare. Often it involves not only the ability to state your case forcefully and convincingly, but also the ability to smooth the waters and provide enough political cover for at least some of your opponents to support you without alienating their own constituents.

I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the President or Vice President to have more experience and more ability than your next door neighbor. I like most of my neighbors, but I wouldn't vote for any of them for President. This isn't elitism. It's common sense.

3. Or is she really just stupid? Or is it something else entirely?

The over the top rants of her detractors, though highly entertaining, aren't terribly convincing. Palin is clearly not a stupid woman. Being deep selected as the VP candidate presented her with about as difficult a task as any politician has ever faced. To her credit, she performed remarkably well. It was hard enough being catapulted onto the national stage without sufficient prep time, but Palin was further constrained by the knowledge that it wasn't her campaign. She was expected to champion a platform she had no hand in shaping.

Joe Biden, an experienced political hand who faced none of the hostility the press directed at Palin, had a hard time remembering what he was supposed to support. His job wasn't half as difficult as Palin's.

I attribute the strong emotion Palin evokes to three things:

1. Her lifestyle. Palin's image and identity provide constant reminders of divisive social issues like the role of faith in public life, abortion, traditional marriage, and women's liberation.

To traditional conservatives, Palin champions everything they hold dear: family, God, country, traditional morals. But in a society where marriage and childbearing are declining, where many women have abortions from convenience rather than necessity, where women have chosen careers over home and hearth, Palin's life represents an unspoken reproach. The very qualities that endear her to conservatives make progressives and secular voters feel bad about themselves and she hasn't yet found a way to champion traditional values without seeming smug or preachy to those who don't agree with her. In her defense, I think this is a far more formidable task for a female candidate than it would be for a male politician.

2. Her directness, self assurance, and strong beliefs. One of the greatest challenges faced by conservatives is convincing secular America that one can have strong faith and traditional morals without wishing to impose either of these things upon others.

The conviction with which she defends traditional conservative values is music to the ears of her supporters. What they don't seem to realize is that these same qualities grate harshly on the ears of those whose beliefs differ from hers. The qualities that endear her to many conservatives play differently with independents and progressives. This is something Palin will need to address if she wants a place on the national stage.

3. The perception that Palin is underprepared and inarticulate.

Given the right venue and a narrow enough message, Palin can deliver a good speech. But at the risk of stirring up the wrath of you unwashed masses, I've never heard her present a clear and convincing defense of conservative ideas. For an example of what I'm talking about, read one of Reagan's classic speeches:

We have so many people who can't see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one. So they're going to solve all the problems of human misery through government and government planning. Well, now, if government planning and welfare had the answer—and they've had almost 30 years of it—shouldn't we expect government to read the score to us once in a while? Shouldn't they be telling us about the decline each year in the number of people needing help? The reduction in the need for public housing?

But the reverse is true. Each year the need grows greater; the program grows greater. We were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry each night. Well that was probably true. They were all on a diet. But now we're told that 9.3 million families in this country are poverty-stricken on the basis of earning less than 3,000 dollars a year. Welfare spending [is] 10 times greater than in the dark depths of the Depression. We're spending 45 billion dollars on welfare. Now do a little arithmetic, and you'll find that if we divided the 45 billion dollars up equally among those 9 million poor families, we'd be able to give each family 4,600 dollars a year. And this added to their present income should eliminate poverty. Direct aid to the poor, however, is only running only about 600 dollars per family. It would seem that someplace there must be some overhead.

That speech was made almost half a century ago and it remains a masterpiece. What has Sarah Palin produced that is comparable?

I say this, not to diminish her very real ability but to provide some context for my judgment that she's not ready yet. Ronald Reagan faced vigorous opposition both from within his own party and from his political opponents. But there's a reason he was called the Great Communicator. It probably didn't hurt that Reagan was a former Democrat who voted for FDR 4 times. He had an insider's understanding of liberalism and he used it to forge a concise, coherent conservative vision that attracted conservative and moderate Democrats as well as traditional Republicans and libertarians.

Perhaps some day Palin will be able to do that. She's not able to do it now, or at least she hasn't demonstrated that ability.

Posted by Cassandra at March 8, 2010 08:29 AM

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Comments

Perhaps she will bring family directly into the equation. We used to take care of our own.
Does the government even check for living relatives when assessing need?

Posted by: tomg51 at March 8, 2010 02:03 PM

"Too Much Ado About Sarah" is more like it. She couldn't even finish out her term as governor and claims (erringly) that she's got a pocketful of answers to guide the entire United States? On what basis does she deserve such attention? Her charming presence before the camera? What bothers me most about the kind of naked populism she represents (masquerading, of course, as "common sense") is that such rhetortic, no matter how shallow, drowns out other, more thoughtful, voices. Sarah Palin may be a fine person - I don't know and could care less - but she's sideshow, and ought to stop believing in her own press releases.

There. You got me all upset again. Happy now? :-)

Posted by: spd rdr at March 8, 2010 02:07 PM

There. You got me all upset again. Happy now?

*snort* :)

Posted by: Cassandra at March 8, 2010 02:22 PM

Well, I am a professional single female who have never really wanted to have children and who spents long hours working so she can enjoy doing what she really wants to do in her free time. And I do not perceive Palin's lifestyle as "an unspoken reproach..."
And I find it extremely appalling that in todays America with the condoms sold at every corner women go for abortion as a means of birth control. For a culture of selfishness and self-indulgence, American women, especially liberal ones, do hate themselves rather too much. I guess, my desire to impose this view on others will disqualify me, too...
I think Palin needs a little bit more time to polish her core platform and her delivery of said core platform before she is really ready for the national office.

Posted by: olga at March 8, 2010 02:23 PM

Tom, years ago I remember people talking about Condi Rice as a possible candidate.

Despite my admiration for Ms. Rice, I didn't think she was ready in 2004. She matured considerably in the various offices she held and I would have considered her in 2008 (in fact, I think I would have been inclined in her favor).

Palin has enormous appeal. I confess to being somewhat bewildered by the strength of feeling she evokes on both sides. I don't see as much in her as many of her supporters, but neither do I think her many detractors have been fair to her.

But in the long run I think that's irrelevant b/c the world isn't a fair place. I hate to see a leader fighting just to tread water. I think she needs to find some broad-based argument or appeal before I'd seriously consider her as a candidate. I haven't seen what I'm looking for yet, but making families the basis of her pitch might work.

Whatever it is, she needs to make a thoughtful, coherent case for it and it needs to be a case that appeals to a broad enough swath of the electorate that she can win a national election. I don't fault her for not being able to do this as the VP nominee. Not sure that was her task to accomplish.

Like spd, I'm a bit suspicious of populism. It wasn't good enough for Harriet Miers (and my argument there was simply that she be allowed to convince us she could do the job). That wasn't an argument conservatives were open to at the time. I'm not sure what changed :p

Posted by: Cassandra at March 8, 2010 02:31 PM

Well, I am a professional single female who have never really wanted to have children and who spents long hours working so she can enjoy doing what she really wants to do in her free time. And I do not perceive Palin's lifestyle as "an unspoken reproach..."

I don't think everyone perceives it that way, Olga. But I can tell you that I've heard this from a LOT of people and I think it explains quite a bit of the resentment.

You have always seemed very secure and inner directed but I'm always surprised how many folks define themselves by what others say or think! I have a relative who's a good example of this.

She is a great wife and mother but she feels conflicted by the differences between the choices she's made voluntarily and the dictates of her traditional, Catholic upbringing. Her feelings make little sense to me, but that doesn't make them go away. They're strong, and they affect the way she sees the world.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 8, 2010 02:35 PM

Cassandra,
I agree she is not ready. And our current experience will make it harder for future neophytes. I don't know what the next leader's quote may be. But I am looking for an answer for "The government is taking over what families used to do". A good proposal may propel the next candidate.

Posted by: tomg51 at March 8, 2010 02:55 PM

Tom, I really think Reagan's "morning in America" message was downright brilliant.

Appeal to the positive. Uplift spirits and inspire rather than appealing to class resentment, envy, and helplessness. These are the kinds of appeals that cross party lines.

A positive vision that affirms our best vision of what we are and can become is what will sell, and it needs to be coupled with SUCCINCT and easy to understand examples like the ones Reagan provided in A Time for Choosing that show WHY government is not the answer. He did a masterful job of framing the issues in such a way that if you disagreed with him, it looked as though you didn't believe voters had the sense God gave a grapefruit :p

There are ways to frame arguments that make it much harder for people to argue. Obama is VERY good at this. We need a politician who understands conservatism well enough to frame it adeptly. I think Romney did that quite well (read his speeches!) but he lacks the charisma.

I also think the party has a lot of growing up to do. 1994 is repeating itself and it will be moderates who help us regain Congress... if we can keep from shooting ourselves in the foot long enough for that to happen. Then all we'll need is the right leader at the helm.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 8, 2010 03:03 PM

Apparently, at some point Gov. Bobby Jindal was approached as a potential VP candidate for Sen. McCain, and Jindal flat out refused. Didn't even want his name considered. Not because he could not stand McCain (as I understand it), but because he saw any hope he had for future political office as being destroyed if he jumped into the national ring so prematurely.

And honestly, from Sarah Palin's example, he wouldn't have been too far off the mark. I can't really speak to the veracity of the previous paragraph, because I am unable to cite my sources. Not that I don't want to, I literally cannot recall where I heard/read it. But regardless of if it's even a truthful recollection, it applies to Sarah Palin. Ignore the fact that of the four Presidential/Vice Presidential candidates she was the most qualified to hold the office. That mostly speaks more towards the lack of qualifications of the other three. If she had somehow become POTUS, would she have been able to do the job? Most likely. That's no damnation through faint praise, just a statement of my beliefs. I think she probably would have even done a pretty good job. But that's really beside the point of the original post.

What makes some love her irrationally and others hate her just as irrationally. Honestly, I think it's because those who love her want to attribute to her all that they WANT her to be (the superconfident supermom who can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never ever let Todd forget he's a man). And those who hate her see in her everything they dislike about their political opponents (stupid, irrational, judgemental, anti-feminist, racist, fringe, kook, etc). She has become less of a person and more of an icon for both sides. But why her?

I think it's because the first exposure most of us had to her was the acceptance speech. Our first impression was like a flare in an otherwise dull, gloomy and unexciting campaign. I knew folks actively talking about staying home rather than voting for McCain who came back the day after her speech talking about how they'd hold their nose and vote for McCain JUST for Sarah Palin being on the ticket. Those on the other side of the isle saw their cakewalk campaign suddenly become a horserace again, and they couldn't stand for that. She MUST be destroyed to prevent any possibility of losing. And so each side put her up as the font of all their hopes/hate. The more those on the Right built her up and got excited about her, the more that made those on the Left hate her and denigrate her, which then caused those on the Right to defend her and build her up more, and so on and so on.

It really stopped being about her and more about their opponents and their perceptions.

Posted by: MikeD at March 8, 2010 03:11 PM

I agree with you, Mike. I think for both Obama and Palin it has always been more about what people see in them than in what they're selling.

That explains a lot of the buyer's remorse from the Obama camp - people liked him more than his policies. I think we need the whole enchilada - a gifted politician who makes us believe in BOTH the person and the policies.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 8, 2010 03:22 PM

Most of what I read about Palin makes me simply shake my head, if not bang it against a wall. But I agreed with just about every word you wrote.

Posted by: Texan99 at March 8, 2010 04:15 PM

I think it is too early to write Ms. Palin off. Remember Reagan was 55 when he was first elected Gov. of CA and Palin is only 46. Ms. Thatcher was in her mid 30s when she first became involved in politics and 54 or so when she first became Prime Minister. Ms. Palin still has plenty of time to season. The only question is whether she will or not. Regardless, she already has had a large impact on the body politic and there is probably more to follow.

Posted by: Barry at March 8, 2010 05:46 PM

I'm not sure that saying she's still not ready is the same as writing her off permanently :)

As I said earlier Rice wasn't ready in 2000, much less 2004. But I would definitely have considered her in 2008. I think what has readers like spd annoyed is that she does have a tendency to suck all the oxygen out of the room. That's OK if she's a viable candidate (perhaps - assuming her persona rather than her policies deserves pride of place, a notion I'm not sure I'm willing to endorse).

If she's not ready yet then we need to focus on someone who is ready now.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 8, 2010 05:53 PM

Sorry, I wasn't "opining" at you, more at some of the posters. Not sure about Ms. Rice. I prefer my Presidents to have some executive experience. I want them to have actually run something, been successful at it and been responsible for it. At least Ms. Palin has signed the Front of a paycheck and not just cashed them. I still think she needs some (perhaps a lot) of seasoning, though.
Not sure if the right possible candidate for '12 is on the National stage at this point. The next 12 months will be interesting and informative.

Posted by: Barry at March 8, 2010 06:54 PM

I agree! :)

Posted by: Cassandra at March 8, 2010 07:22 PM

I like Ms. Palin, but on the level that I see as comfortable; a mom. For me to see her as a national leader and in the role of a protector or defender she had to lose the outfits, the hair and the shoes. As someone who majored in journalism, on those levels she was sending all the wrong messages..and she should have known that.

I would love for her to go through a course. She has poise, but she needs to be groomed. I don't see that happening because I think the Republican Party doesn't see her as a contender.

Another thing that bothers me a great deal is that she is going to be in the public eye and people are going to take cheap shots at her family because they can. While it just makes her detractors look ignorant and mean spirited to refer to her 'retarded' child, she doesn't do the cause any good by lashing out. A better response would have been to be surprised and confessing to not watching the episode or better yet, the show, as she has to fill her time with research.

The problem is not her intelligence; she can't fly off the handle when someone attacks her family; it is going to happen. You called it maturity. I call it growing up.

Posted by: Cricket at March 8, 2010 09:07 PM

I guess I have a different take on the "Why did Palin stir up so much emotion? Do you think the reason she is so despised by some is that she threatens "The Elite's" control on
politics?" question that you did. I didn't really view it as the average American voter's view of politicians. Those who have this venomous hatred of Palin aren't "average American voters". I believe many of those people - the Palin haters - do despise her middle class, non-Ivy League creditials. She was a beauty queen, she has gotten her hands dirty - literally - in making a living (and having a life). She and her husband are entrepreneurs of their own making - they didn't come from money, and didn't have "connections". She didn't go to the "right" schools. She was "just" a small-town mayor and governor of a "small" (and backward, in their view) state. The fact that Palin is so popular scares those who hate her, for all these reasons.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at March 8, 2010 11:47 PM

Would I have voted for her for president in 2008? Probably not (though I doubt she could do a worse job than Obama has done so far). But I believe it was Mark Twain that said about the VP slot: "Once there were two brothers. One of them ran away to sea and the other was elected vice president, and nothing was ever heard from either of them again." I would have felt comfortable with her in the VP slot, gaining experience to perhaps stand for the presidency in 2016. As for all the comments thrown at her by the left about "Do you really want her a heartbeat away from the presidency?" my response was basically that that was a non-issue; better to have her a "heartbeat away" from the presidency than to have Obama actually *be* that heartbeat.

I might as well go ahead and admit that it's difficult to this day for me to discuss this rationally, because I was so utterly disgusted by the hysterical, hatefilled, *VILE* reaction to her by many quarters of the Left. (Case in point: Wendy Doniger's comment that "Palin's greatest hypocrisy is her pretense that she is a woman.") The smears. insults, and outright lies spread about her by the left just fill me with despairing anger. (And the fact that Andrew Sullivan *still* is flogging the question of whether Trig is really her baby just boggles my mind. It's beyond sick.) We wonder why there are so many sleazebags and slimeballs in government: perhaps reactions like the one that met Palin are the reason why. After all, it's said we get the government that we deserve.

Posted by: colagirl at March 8, 2010 11:55 PM

I like Sarah. Aside from the fact that she's a fairly attractive woman, the thing I find most appealing about her is that she seems to actually "walk the walk" rather than just "talk the talk".

Is/was she ready for national office? Perhaps we shall never know...although considering what we've got now, that doesn't seem to require much in the way of qualifications.

Posted by: camojack at March 9, 2010 01:37 AM

Miss Ladybug, I think you are right, which is why she does need to be groomed...but it won't happen.

This is a tangent, but related to the discussion at hand. The Obama campaign made a lot of hay about the fact that she didn't have executive experience, but Obama voted 'present' as a US Senator. Palin made some good changes as governor
but then stepped down. I think she should have
finished her term, and then either sought re-election or run for another slot like Senate
to gain more experience. I think had she done that, her detractors would have been silenced because she could have shown that she had a cool
head under fire.

I think your points about her being self-made
are the pulse of what is driving this. That is why I like her. She is 'one of us.' She isn't
an elite, but she does have some rough edges.
I don't share her religious beliefs; the majority
of her supporters don't. I don't think she wants
to impose those on anyone else, but there is much
to be said for the power of example. Those who
do not share them might feel judged. I don't
think they should. To give her and Mitt Romney credit, I think they would do better than their peers or liberal counterparts in upholding existing law then trying to change it.

My sister, the Sierra Club member, just foams at
the mouth when you mention Palin. My brother
does it just to watch her. According to my sister, Ms. Palin is more of a threat to the planet than Global Warming.

I find that irrational and highly amusing. But I would far rather support her on something more than just 'the common man' meme. I want to see
her take on a cause, and follow it through to the end, and acquire some experience in the process.

If Obama can credential himself into the White House as a 'community organizer,' I see no reason
why Mrs. Palin can't do the same as a top executive.


Posted by: Cricket at March 9, 2010 07:00 AM

Those who have this venomous hatred of Palin aren't "average American voters". I believe many of those people - the Palin haters - do despise her middle class, non-Ivy League creditials. She was a beauty queen, she has gotten her hands dirty - literally - in making a living (and having a life). She and her husband are entrepreneurs of their own making - they didn't come from money, and didn't have "connections". She didn't go to the "right" schools. She was "just" a small-town mayor and governor of a "small" (and backward, in their view) state. The fact that Palin is so popular scares those who hate her, for all these reasons.

Well, it's more than possible that different groups hate Palin for different reasons MLB.

I do know several ordinary Americans who have a strong dislike of Palin though. The strength of their dislike surprised me, but it has nothing to do with her social class (or at least I've heard nothing to that effect when they tell me why they don't like her). It has more to do with their perception that Palin believes she has lived her life "correctly" and anyone who has made different decisions is wrong and therefore inferior. And that impression is widespread. Whether it's correct or not is another thing.

My personal theory is that Palin is not a person beset by much doubt. She decides what she wants to do and does it, and if she has doubts or fears they don't trouble her much. People who found Bush too sure of himself by half didn't want another leader they felt was deaf to their concerns.

But more importantly Palin's lack of self doubt, coupled with her faith and lifestyle, can come across one of two ways. To those who believe the same things she does, such steadfastness is admirable. But for people who don't believe the same things she does (or to whom those things are just not important) her breezy assuredness makes an entirely different impression.

I keep coming back to the Harriet Miers controversy.

In no way was Harriet Miers the best qualified candidate Bush could have put forward. His justification for selecting her was essentially a populist one (i.e., she was qualified *enough*, she brought an unusual degree of personal integrity to the table and it would be a good thing for America to have a more down to earth, less elitist court). These arguments were roundly rejected by conservatives.

I don't think anyone can seriously argue that Palin was the best qualified VP candidate McCain could have chosen either. She chose to base her appeal on populist grounds: I'm an outsider. A maverick. The risk in that strategy is that some people will use your own sales pitch to point out all the was in which you are not presidential (or vice presidential) :p

I think she's very smart and very talented. I'm not convinced that she's anywhere near ready for the Oval Office yet and stepping down from the governorship of Alaska was probably the worst thing she could have done. I know many conservatives who wrote her off after that. Still, politics is full of comebacks. Look at Nixon!

Posted by: Cassandra at March 9, 2010 07:04 AM

My take on the "Political elite" issue (which really doesn't change your analysis at all) is that I think you've underestimated the tendency for liberals to think of themselves as members of the political elite.

The model of, say, the RCC where there is a very clearly defined clergy and laity doesn't work. We may think of Kos as part of the laity, but I doubt Kos sees himself that way at all. We may think of journalists as being part of the laity, but I also doubt they see themselves that way. Does ANSWER, NOW, ACORN think of themselves as part of the laity? Thus a threat to the power of Pelosi, Reid, et al would be a threat to their own power, personally.

Well, it's more than possible that different groups hate Palin for different reasons MLB.

And for the same group to have multiple reasons.

This is why I don't think it changes the analysis much. Even when you include those people who would self identify as part of the political elite, while they make up a fairly large percentage of those who are publicly vocal, they are still a fairly small group numbers wise.

Everyone else has to have their own reasons. Otherwise their would be no vocal minority as the criticism would collapse without a base of support.

And I think for the masses, this is probably it:

It has more to do with their perception that Palin believes she has lived her life "correctly" and anyone who has made different decisions is wrong and therefore inferior.

When your entire worldview is based on your own superiority (*we* are the reality based community, *We* care about the poor. *We* care about the planet. *We* are noble. *We adults* who have to clean up this mess don't want to hear from *you children* who caused it. *We* aren't bitter and don't cling to God, Guns, Religion and Racism. Why can't those stupid rubes in flyover country see that *we* are better for them than those greedy RePukelicans...), this shouldn't be too suprising. One does not need to look down your nose to set them off, simply looking them dead in the eye as an equal is the gravest insult one could give.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 9, 2010 10:59 AM

I'm not convinced that she's anywhere near ready for the Oval Office yet and stepping down from the governorship of Alaska was probably the worst thing she could have done.

Yes and no. I don't blame her one bit for doing it. Her reasons for doing so were noble and valid. The attacks on her were unfair personally, and were harming the state of Alaska. So I don't think stepping down speaks ill of her character at all. It was a selfless act to help the state in both the short term (by removing obstacles) and in the long term (by giving her replacement name recognition and a proven record).

I see it as a very blatant indictment of our political system whereby we self-select for politicians who are selfish bastards.

However, none of that matters. What ought to be should not be confused with what is. And those problems won't suddenly disappear if Palin were to run for or become POTUS. They'll just get worse. Exponentially. Especially since she has told everyone those kind of attacks will work. When you reward something, you get more of it.

So even if she gained experience, matured politically and became the perfect candidate, if she has to spend 75% of her time mired in fighting off librarian, sheriff, and Trig conspiracies, she'll be completely ineffectual.

Fair or not (I vote for not) she simply has too much baggage to be an effective leader in any formal capacity.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 9, 2010 11:19 AM

Fair comment Cassandra. I'm a Palin supporter, but I acknowledge she needs more seasoning. Reagan labored for years in the wilderness shaping his ideas.

But the voting public needs to make its choices not among the ideal best, but rather than from what's on the electoral table in front of them.
Frankly the available menu has been pretty skinny the last few years.

Right now we've got an ideologue who knew how to package himself; but whose lack of executive experience, of the type Palin possessed, has left him flailing and failing.

Posted by: Mike Myers at March 9, 2010 11:20 AM

those problems won't suddenly disappear if Palin were to run for or become POTUS. They'll just get worse. Exponentially. Especially since she has told everyone those kind of attacks will work. When you reward something, you get more of it. So even if she gained experience, matured politically and became the perfect candidate, if she has to spend 75% of her time mired in fighting off librarian, sheriff, and Trig conspiracies, she'll be completely ineffectual. Fair or not (I vote for not) she simply has too much baggage to be an effective leader in any formal capacity.

I agree and this is a big problem for me. I'm not sure anyone completely understands why some politicians (Ted Kennedy or Rangel, anyone?) can have scandals aplenty and yet everything bounces off them like they were made of Teflon and others become paralyzed by mere rumors.

I suspect it has a lot to do with how they handle it, though that's not the entire story. And as Yu-Ain notes, if these kinds of attacks aren't handled they can become disqualifying even if they're not "fair".

Mike, someone will show up sooner or later. I suspect we may all have to adjust our expectations to a more realistic level, though. A bit of time in the wilderness is usually quite effective in that regard :p

Posted by: Cassandra at March 9, 2010 12:25 PM

I'm not sure anyone completely understands why some politicians (Ted Kennedy or Rangel, anyone?) can have scandals aplenty and yet everything bounces off them like they were made of Teflon and others become paralyzed by mere rumors.

I suspect it has a lot to do with how they handle it, though that's not the entire story.

Nup. It all boils down to which side of the political spectrum the pol occupies. The MSM is full of hypocritical scum-suckers -- and they *do* practice professional courtesy for their brethern 'n' cistern in poly-ticks.

Welcome back!

'Fess up -- you thought I was gonna complain that this post had too much "relationships" and not enough "sex"...

Posted by: BillT at March 9, 2010 01:45 PM

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