She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain?

George Will, in a post-election review, makes a corrective worth considering:

Some conservatives who are gluttons for punishment are getting a head start on ensuring a 2012 drubbing by prescribing peculiar medication for a misdiagnosed illness. They are monomaniacal about media bias, which is real but rarely decisive, and unhinged by their anger about the loathing of Sarah Palin by similarly deranged liberals. These conservatives, confusing pugnacity with a political philosophy, are hot to anoint Palin, an emblem of rural and small-town sensibilities, as the party’s presumptive 2012 nominee.
These conservatives preen as especially respectful of regular — or as Palin says, “real” — Americans, whose tribune Palin purports to be. But note the argument that the manipulation of Americans by “the mainstream media” explains the fact that the more Palin campaigned, the less Americans thought of her qualifications. This argument portrays Americans as a bovine herd — or as inert clay in the hands of wily media, which only Palin’s conservative celebrators can decipher and resist.
These conservatives, smitten by a vice presidential choice based on chromosomes, seem eager to compete on the Democrats’ terrain of identity politics, entering the “diversity” sweepstakes they have hitherto rightly deplored. We have seen this movie before. Immediately after the 1972 election, some conservatives laid down the law — the 1976 Republican nominee must be Vice President Spiro Agnew.

We conservatives are standing before an open field, right now, with all sorts of variables hidden in the high, wild grass. How and how well will Obama govern? The Democratic Congress? What will our enemies do? Our allies? What might social and technological innovations wreak? Or not. And perhaps more important, as an internal matter: Who will emerge from among our ranks making compelling arguments that apply our worldview to those unknowables?
Will seems to go too far toward rejecting Palin for 2012, but he is without doubt correct that it is too early to hand her the crown. Before all else, let’s see what she does. If she spends whatever free time her job as governor allows reading the arguments of conservative intellectuals past and present, if she is deliberate about learning the ins and outs of the national and international minefields, it may be that she’s precisely the right woman at the right time in four years. She could step forward in the waning months of 2011 and challenge the hostile media to shake her, wink intact and an answer for every gotcha.
Or she could decide to remain a regional phenomenon, and that would be fine, too.
Whatever the case, it would most definitely be advisable all around to nurture as much internal competition as possible. If Governor Palin or any other conservative wants the mantle, let her or him work for it — with help from the rest of us, to be sure.

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15 years ago

Sarah Palin = Linc Chafee with ideals. She’s the Republican Party’s Patches Kennedy. A blithering idiot who begins talking 10-15 words before their brain engages. One who rubs random ideas together like two sticks desperately hoping for a concept to ignite somewhere in the center of their paragraph.
The reality that Republicans need to take home is that middle America can no longer distinguish between Sarah Palin the person and Sarah Palin the SNL character. She has been Dan Quayle’d. She’s done. Move on.

15 years ago

The only objectionable quality about Governor Palin that I’ve heard of to date – and while it may only be rumor, it’s important enough to mention even as an unproven item – is a possible tendency to raise her voice to staff. If this is untrue or if she loses this unprofessional reaction, she should certainly be in the 2012 line-up.
At the same time, Justin, you’re right. No one should be made the annointed candidate for any reason, not even revenge against a biased media.

15 years ago

Greg, what do you want to bet Joe Biden uttered more gaffs than Sarah Palin? The difference is, she’s twenty five years younger and had twenty five fewer years in politics to practice this stuff.
What’s his excuse?

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