Thursday, July 09, 2009

Two [Now Three] Conservatives Say Nothing Good About Palin

"She lacks any real accomplishment - no military or private-sector career of note, no academic achievement beyond a frenetic bounce between five colleges, including a sun 'n' surf-oriented outfit in Hawaii. She has served only two years as governor of a small and uniquely easy-to-govern state (other governors pine for Alaska's small population and billions of dollars in easy revenue from oil production), a job she has now abandoned." Mike Murphy in The New York Daily News

oh and he forgot - she's an idiot.

"Harriet Miers was not their idea of a Supreme Court justice. She was, they noted, intellectually undistinguished, ill-qualified for the job, lacking impeccable conservative credentials and inept in handling basic constitutional questions.

All those things, of course, could also have been said about Sarah Palin. But just as quickly and vigorously as conservatives rejected Miers, they embraced Palin. Even after her bungling performance in the 2008 presidential campaign and her recent strange decision to resign as governor of Alaska, some of them still do.

"This unusual move might be the right move for her to become president of the United States," insisted William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard. Columnist Jonah Goldberg assured the governor that no matter what, "You are the 'It Girl' of the GOP." National Review editor Jay Nordlinger confessed, "I am an admirer and defender of Palin's. Oh, what the heck: I love the woman."

Why are they infatuated with her? Palin has hardly helped to revive the conservative cause. For all her alleged star power, she did nothing to improve the GOP ticket's fortunes. She showed no gift for articulating conservative themes, beyond ridiculing liberals as overeducated elitists -- a description that applies equally well to most conservative commentators.

In two months on the ticket, she boosted her unfavorable rating to 48 percent from 7 percent, while the unlovable Joe Biden ended up viewed negatively by only 32 percent of Americans. Finally, last week, she gave a pitifully incoherent explanation of why she was stepping down as governor of Alaska with a year and a half left in her term -- which you might think would mortify anyone who put his faith in her.

But it's really not hard to see why Palin inspires such devotion. And I do mean "see." She has one obvious thing going for her that Miers didn't: She's a babe, and she doesn't try to hide it. As an article in the latest Vanity Fair puts it, Palin "is by far the best-looking woman ever to rise to such heights in national politics." And while that fact doesn't earn her points with me, it obviously does with many people."
Steve Chapman in The Chicago Tribune

You know the stereotypes - dumb blondes, beauty queens.

Yeah. As a gay man this is hard to appreciate but then again I can't help but recall what Richard Lowry of the conservative National Review once wrote:

"A very wise TV executive once told me that the key to TV is projecting through the screen. It's one of the keys to the success of, say, a Bill O'Reilly, who comes through the screen and grabs you by the throat. Palin too projects through the screen like crazy. I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, "Hey, I think she just winked at me." And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can't be learned; it's either something you have or you don't, and man, she's got it."

Little starbursts. Well the love affair is over. Lowry and Palin broke up.


Add Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal to the roster of conservatives to call Palin a know-nothing:

"She went on the trail a sensation but demonstrated in the ensuing months that she was not ready to go national and in fact never would be. She was hungry, loved politics, had charm and energy, loved walking onto the stage, waving and doing the stump speech. All good. But she was not thoughtful. She was a gifted retail politician who displayed the disadvantages of being born into a point of view (in her case a form of conservatism; elsewhere and in other circumstances, it could have been a form of liberalism) and swallowing it whole: She never learned how the other sides think, or why.

In television interviews she was out of her depth in a shallow pool. She was limited in her ability to explain and defend her positions, and sometimes in knowing them. She couldn't say what she read because she didn't read anything. She was utterly unconcerned by all this and seemed in fact rather proud of it: It was evidence of her authenticity. She experienced criticism as both partisan and cruel because she could see no truth in any of it. She wasn't thoughtful enough to know she wasn't thoughtful enough. Her presentation up to the end has been scattered, illogical, manipulative and self-referential to the point of self-reverence. "I'm not wired that way," "I'm not a quitter," "I'm standing up for our values." I'm, I'm, I'm. In another age it might not have been terrible, but here and now it was actually rather horrifying."

Well, Noonan was tough on her during the campaign season as well now that I think about it but even so, the conservative elites (those with brains) don't think too highly of her. She finds her support with the conservative value-voter base because (a) the conservative straight males think she is pretty, (b) she has many children, reflecting their value in having children and (c) she has that folksy charm. All style, no substance.

No comments: