Thursday, November 06, 2008

Under The Bus

With the post-defeat recriminations among Republicans and particularly the McCain-Palin camps in full swing, I want to revisit what I wrote about Palin a few hours after McCain put her on the ticket. Some snippets from that post:

Some perspective: I've both lived and worked in Alaska, and have been to Wasilla....Wasilla is a nice town in a great state. But there's Hawaii, Indonesia, Kenya, Washington, and the south side of Chicago. And there's Wasilla. There's absolutely no way you can stand in the middle of that small town and think that a 44-year-old whose formative personal and professional experience comes from there is ready to lead the free world....Could we see the stamps in her passport, please?....Those same conservatives who just discovered they're big Palin fans -- no doubt after first making a few phone calls to see what they think -- would do well to remember the lessons from twenty summers ago....If they were really fans of Palin's, they'd prefer to wait a couple of election cycles instead of clamoring for a ticket to Quayle: The Sequel. But Republicans' Bush-perfected habit of subordinating competence to personal and political expedience continues. Throwing basically decent people into jobs they're not ready for à la Miers, Gonzales, McClellan, and Brownie should offend anyone who is truly interested in having competent people enter public service, because the inevitable result and ensuing public scorn make the best ones think twice before leaving the private sector....If McCain loses, hopefully any damage she suffers won't affect her future political viability. It would have been better -- for the country, conservatism, and ultimately Palin herself -- if she had a chance to mature a bit as a national figure and leader, away from the harsh scrutiny and 24-hour news cycle. But we've learned a lot about John McCain during this campaign. And in that respect, at least, his choice of Palin makes perfect sense.

I think most of that, which I wrote on the same day McCain selected Palin, stands up pretty well. Despite her manifest lack of readiness for the vice presidency -- which I found even more distressing than I expected -- and her shameful indulgence of the anti-Obama mob's darkest instincts, I have a latent soft spot for her (or perhaps a small, idealized part of what she represents). When Palin flubbed a debate or interview question, I was more angry with McCain than scornful of her. I think the cheap shots the McCain flacks are taking now are pathetic and cowardly, and say more about them and McCain himself than about her.

If I get around to it (unlikely for now) I'll post a "Memo to Sarah" with some advice on how to spend the next couple of years, assuming she's serious about 2012.


Anonymous The Pale Scot said...

There's ignorance and then there's willful ignorance, which is a tool to maintain a thought process based on 'magical thinking". We are coming to the end of eight years of government run by "gut decisions" and an aversion to "fuzzy math", let's roll a stone over the grave of that beast.

Someone who believes in battling witchcraft and "spiritual warfare" is not a rational candidate for the 21st century, elder on the council of a medieval village yes; officeholder of a nation with a nuclear arsenal not so much.

Palin Witchcraft

Sarah Palin & Spiritual Warfare

11/06/2008 12:56 PM  
Anonymous JohnR said...

"Despite her manifest lack of readiness for the vice presidency .. and her shameful indulgence of the anti-Obama mob's darkest instincts.."

And yet, she seemed not to care or be concerned about these aspects of her performance. Perhaps this is some sort of defense mechanism, but it was all too reminiscent of Mr. Bush - a man who knew little, believed much and didn't care to replace belief with knowledge and understanding. I think I prefer a leader who leavens her confidence with curiosity and tries to understand something about the decisions she has to take, rather than make choices by throwing mental darts at a target saying yes, no, maybe and you betcha. The fact that she was happy to separate "real America" from her political opponents who presumably were "terrorist-lovers" if not outright traitors, said to me that "maturing as a .. leader" might be something dangerous to the country. We've seen charismatic leaders like Mrs. Palin before; a basic reading of history should tell us to be very wary of her.

11/06/2008 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl said...

I do blame whoever thought Palin was a good idea on whoever thought that, but the wardrobe boondoggle she pulled off made me think she's a bit of a opportunist. I hope she just goes away and stays there.

11/06/2008 1:18 PM  
Blogger cenpendem said...

As a result of reading about her power plays in the days she was mayor of Wasilla, her oppotunistic profligacy, her smug misuse of office in the Wooten/troopergate matter, I don't have a moment of feeling sorry for her. She is a power hungry narcissist, happy in her ignorance, with no regard for education or intelligence. Those characteristics lead to her statement to Charley Gibson that she didn't 'blink' (hesitate) a moment when offered the VP position. She had no regard for the awesome responsibility facing her, There is no soul searching by a narcissist.

11/06/2008 1:54 PM  
Anonymous toban said...

Each of the above posts says it about as well as I could have. As time went on she dug a deeper and deeper hole. Jon Stewart's comment about the Palins being "Grifters" really sums it up for me. As good as Tina Fey is, I think that Minnie Driver's character, "Dahlia Malloy" in "The Riches" has some real elements of Palin's persona for me also.

Over time in a career you eventually come across people like her who just don't realize the depth of their ignorance of the world around them, but who make up for it by sheer determination.

For high elected officials, this is a dangerous trait.

Is it possible for social conservatives to find a leader with some intellect, or are those mutually exclusive?

11/06/2008 3:29 PM  
Anonymous judyo said...

In my younger years, we called women, such as Pallin, barracudas.

11/06/2008 3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is video of McCain's staff on Fox News describing Palin's lack of knowledge, even on simple geography, and her temper.

But don't you have to worry about a state that elects a 84 year old, and a convicted felon (7 counts) to boot. Icks!

She's had her 15 minutes of fame, and we understand what she stands for, her character, her education, intellect and commonsense. Much of that is what it is, and can't be changed. With 300 million people in the US, there has to be a better candidate for the highest office.

11/06/2008 4:03 PM  
Anonymous A Historian said...

CR, you are sensible, rational & smart, which is why I have been reading you for over 3 1/2 years. That is also why I am baffled (and a bit disturbed) by your lingering fondness for Palin. She appears to be your exact opposite in so many ways! (Maybe that's it...?)

When I see her or hear about her I often think of Suzanne Stone, the dim but ambitious & scheming weathercaster in the movie "To Die For" who had her husband whacked. I have no trouble imagining Sarah Palin having someone whacked to further her career, given the right circumstances. (I have even less trouble imagining Todd doing the whacking.) That scares me.

11/06/2008 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Kilfarsnar said...

I don't want to sound over the top, but Sarah Palin is a willing fascist. Others have noted how she gleefully whipped up the darkest tendencies of the far right, abused her power in Alaska, and took the McCain campaign for all it was worth. She embodies to me the height and depth of unsophistication, both intellectually and spiritually. God help us if she ever gets her hands on any real power.

11/06/2008 5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Fascism will come wrapped in a flag and carrying a Bible."
~ Sinclair Lewis 1935

11/06/2008 6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a woman who destroys the lives of others when they oppose her. She abuses the powers of her office. Feel sorry for the librarian and other public servants that have lost their jobs because of this lizard.

11/06/2008 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Pennypacker said...

I agree with a few of the earlier comments -- there's nothing admirable about Palin, an immoral political opportunist who is willing to tap the worst impulses of right-wing fanaticism. I find it fascinating and sad that you find anything admirable about this woman who clearly lacked enough self-knowledge to know that she was way, way out of her league.

For the sake of the country, I hope she's not serious about 2012.

11/07/2008 1:27 AM  
Anonymous Ted666 said...

Palin is the poster child of the modern GOP. I hope she never goes away.

11/07/2008 2:39 PM  
Anonymous tsynnott said...

"...assuming she's serious about 2012."

Oh, please. Let's stipulate that she's an impressive striver and give her an A for unbridled ambition - hell, an A+. Grading her performance, however, might get her a D on a very generous curve. Not to put too fine a point in it, as a national leader she's egregiously inferior. While she may develop more polish by 2012, she's not going to be any smarter.

Given the damage her ambition would cause us all, she needs to remain where she can do as little damage as possible. Let's acknowledge this hard fact: As varied as their reasons may have been, 53 million people did vote for her, as she is now, in 2008.

11/07/2008 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on, CR. Is it her looks? It certainly can't be her questionable "conservative" credentials. Social conservative, sure, but fiscal? She left a previously debt-free Wasilla with $20M of debt. And that bridge to nowhere... and the pipeline deal, which may not even get done, might cost Alaska $500M if the Oil companies (who were hit with a ("socialist") windfall tax) don't play.

And let's not get into her relishing the role of Lee Atwater with her hateful, divisive "Real America" rhetoric.

It has to be her looks and her charm.

Think with the other head, CR.

11/07/2008 4:28 PM  
Blogger Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

Memo to Sarah:

Go back to Alaska. Take your loot and don't give it up to those losers at Goodwill. Declare Alaska a destination state for the hundreds of thousands of like minded folks whose xenophobia and ignorance color the President-elect as a 'terrorist' and traitor. Offer tax incentives for newly landed residents of Alaska. Offer to pay their passage, airfare, container costs, whatever. Once you've established your very own 'End Times' Empire, kick in the Secession plan. Declare yourself a Sovereign. Have a nice big ceremony with a big band and crown yourself Queen of the North. Having fulfilled your political ambitions, feel free to do more shopping (duty free, of course!) and make sure to set up a Fox News/NRO Online/WSJ Edit page bureau right there in Wasilla.

Good luck and Godspeed.

11/07/2008 9:12 PM  
Anonymous OCPatriot said...

for more, see: What's most distressing about Palin is how she appears to thrive on rabble-rousing. In an uncertain economy, this can bring out killer instincts in a crowd. If things got bad (before they got good, or if they just took a dip), she could incite a riot. She appears to be unaware that she does this; or else it is an act. This trait is in addition to the fact that she seems to have no residual intellectual curiosity about her subject matter; she seems totally uninterested in the reality behind her words. She also lies with alacrity; out and out brazen lies; and here I believe she knows what she doing.

12/08/2008 10:23 AM  

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