Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Sarah Palin Files, Pt. 2

For all twelve people on this planet that read this blog, you probably suspect that I hate Republicans, and while that's a reasonable conclusion to draw, the fact is that there is a small sliver of card-carrying right-wingers that I respect. I do not agree with them, but I think they are principled, which is more than you can say about the average Republican, who will fervently support their party when it says one thing, and turn around like leaves in a wind storm and support their party just as fervently when their party does an about-face. On Palin, suppose the tables were turned, and she was the Democratic VP selection: the right would be HOWLING with laughter at her. Every conservative talking head would be pushing attention toward the "troopergate" scandal, and there would be measures from the Republicans in Congress to sent more federal money to Alaska to fund the investigation. Republicans would openly mock her, her beauty pageant past, and the fact that the population of Alaska is less than almost a dozen and a half U.S. cities.

The reaction from the rank-and-file Republicans has been anything but. What a brilliant pick! What a leader she is! And on and on.

Despite all the cheerleading, some of the principled conservative side are taking a sober look.

This from the conservative National Review's David Frum:

Here's I fear the worst harm that may be done by this selection. The McCain campaign's slogan is "country first." It's a good slogan, and it aptly describes John McCain, one of the most self-sacrificing, gallant, and honorable men ever to seek the presidency.

But question: If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency?

Here is a blogger (Ramesh Ponnuru) at "The Corner," one of the National Review's blogs:

Both the pros and the cons are pretty obvious. I’m going to focus on the cons, mostly because conservatives right now seem to be paying them less attention.

* * * *

The cons:

Inexperience. Palin has been governor for about two minutes. Thanks to McCain’s decision, Palin could be commander-in-chief next year. That may strike people as a reckless choice; it strikes me that way. And McCain's age raised the stakes on this issue.

* * * *

Tokenism. Can anyone say with a straight face that Palin would have gotten picked if she were a man?

* * * *

Now, as I said, there are pros too. Maybe Palin will be a terrific candidate and vice president. But let’s not underestimate the potential downside.

And here is a self-described ideological conservative writing in to Andrew Sullivan's blog states:

No remotely serious politician--no honest patriot--would think of placing this individual a heartbeat away from the Oval Office, however admirable she may be, however lively her biography.

Moreover, the elation on the right regarding Palin's nomination made clear to me that none of them has ever been remotely serious about national security, either. On the contrary, as the left has insisted for years, for them it really has all been about political advantage, noise and bluster and ugliness with no core of principle, no genuine strategic commitment.

The very same people who, only yesterday, insisted that Obama's resume was too dangerously thin to entrust him with the oversight of our national security, today are celebrating Palin's accession as a triumph for conservatism (evidently this is because she is hostile to both abortion and polar bears). Their hypocrisy is staggering--they truly do believe in nothing but their own entitlement to power by any means.

And I'm very much afraid I must conclude this is as true of McCain as it is of his ghastly cheerleaders, the Limbaughs and the Hannitys. Nothing else could explain the elevation of a woman so singularly unqualified in every aspect save gender.

The most pertinent question - given that this is an obvious, cynical play for women's votes is the one of tokenism. No man with her resume would have gotten selected. Fact. There are some women in the Republican party who are more qualified who ought to be incensed over this. People have argued that the Hillary Clinton crowd feels slighted because Obama's winning the primary felt like a story they are all too familiar with: a qualified and capable woman being "passed over" by a man. Well, what are they are supposed to think about Palin - this is a passing over by a younger, prettier woman. That isn't going to sit well.

Women aren't stupid. They'll see through this. And some of them will say (and I've seen some anecdotal evidence of this on the web), that the fact that she had a Down's Syndrome baby 4 months ago and has accepted the invitation to be VP - which as a candidate or as the winner of the election is basically a 16-20 hour a day job - is irresponsible and deplorable (in fact, this was the Hot Rodette's first reaction to the news).

This could backfire on McCain. Big time.

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