It's hard to imagine now, but 31 years ago, when I first announced that I was supporting Reagan in his bid for the 1980 Republican presidential nomination, I was routinely asked by friends on the right how I could possibly associate myself with this "airhead," this B movie star, who was not only stupid but incompetent. They readily acknowledged that his political views were on the whole close to ours, but the embarrassing primitivism with which he expressed them only served, they said, to undermine their credibility.
Monday, March 29, 2010
The Trouble With Sarah
Norman Podhoretz has a fine piece in the Wall Street Journal defending Sarah Palin this morning. It is comforting to see some mainline conservatives come out on Sarah's side...especially when they site our blogging pal, Iowahawk for the famed T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII, the gold standard of dissitude for our country-club-let's-just-all-get alon- he's-so smart-Olympia-Snow-Republican-types. To that set, I have one question for you one year and a few months in: "how's that hopey-change thing workin' for ya?" (Said in Palin tones).
Sarah never deserved the annihilation she received in the mainstream press, but McCain's people did a horrible job of preparing her. Why, oh why, was she in Arizona over the weekend campaigning for old Ironbottom? But it is a weak argument to say that Sarah reminds one of Ronald Reagan:
What Reagan had that Sarah lacks is stature. He was a known quantity that had clearly stated his philosophy on numerous occasions quite elegantly - the "airhead" label is a standard tactic used by the left when they can't overcome the clarity of conservative logic - ad hominem, destroy the messenger, attack, attack, attack. Sound familiar? But Sarah came out of nowhere and was a bit of a shock to the electoral system of the country. What she had going for her, charisma, executive experience (a WHOLE lot more that BHO), and a down home aw shucks realism that you either loved or hated. What she lacked was experience, experience and experience. And she still does. Now I know I am violating Ronoldus Reaganus Maximus's guiding wisdom about not attacking our friends, and Sarah is a friend to our side, but here are a couple of observations:
1. When questioned, her answers seem rote...almost memorized and I am always afraid that if you dig a little deeper there is not much there there. RR the Great, we knew and others later learned, had a deep understanding of the American character and a rock solid philosophical core that was unbeatable in a debate. Sarah is not there yet.
2. The family situation seems to always be one step away from full blown train wreck that the left would exploit in howling tones.
I hope we keep Sarah in our camp, stumping and fund-raising. But to those of you out there that think she is the next Ronald Reagan, I strongly suggest you look elsewhere. Maybe if she returns to Alaska and runs for the Senate to get more experience, she can get that gravity I am looking for. For those of you now shouting at your screens and me and saying "she's got more on the ball than Obama!!!" I feel your pain. The fact that the other side got a charismatic incompetent elected should not encourage those of us on the right to try to do the same.