Some people with similar political views and a similar sense of humor to me say that they would love to have Sarah Palin run for President, as it would be hilarious and would be an unsuccessful campaign. As far as I can recall, I’ve never bought in to this for a couple of reasons: the prospect is too scary to begin with and I am still hoping for some sort of legitimate intellectual conservatism to emerge.
I’m not sure I really have as much restraint in the face of Donald Trump. He’s just such a great caricature of the tea party that I can’t help but watch. When talking about how he was a better businessman (and therefore more qualified candidate) than Mitt Romney, he recently said: “[I have a] much, much bigger net worth. I mean my net worth is many, many, many times Mitt Romney.” I seriously can’t wait for this year’s Republican primaries.
I watched (er, listened to) Glenn Beck’s hour-long interview with Sarah Palin. I’ll save you the time and tell you that it’s almost entirely uninteresting, but there were a couple of things worthy of comment. First, for laughs, my favorite part of the exchange was:
Beck: Who’s your favorite founding father?
Palin: All of them.
The other thing that struck me was her statement that “God played an essential role in the founding of this nation.” Couldn’t the same be said about any other nation? Actually, wouldn’t she say the same thing about literally everything? On a less pedantic note, statements like this attribute God’s favor on certain geopolitical entities. I don’t attribute this to malice on the part of the speaker, but I find it quite discomforting because it sounds too much like something a king or other leader would say to rally people into a war or crusade. Are we really less happy if we’re not “God’s Favorite Country”?
Her assertion — that the government would set up boards to determine whether seniors and the disabled were worthy of care — spread through newscasts, talk shows, blogs and town hall meetings. Opponents of health care legislation said it revealed the real goals of the Democratic proposals. Advocates for health reform said it showed the depths to which their opponents would sink. Still others scratched their heads and said, “Death panels? Really?”
I can’t think of a more influential but demonstrably false statement from this year, can you?
Now that the election has passed, there are a lot of things anonymously leaking from McCain campaign staffers about Sarah Palin. Fox News had some of the leaks here:
These anonymous post-loss leaks are somewhat silly, since you don’t know who they’re coming from and if they have an ax to grind. I don’t think that Sarah Palin literally didn’t know that Africa was a continent, but I don’t really care. What I do believe, however, is that campaign staff were legitimately concerned the she did not have the “knowledgeability” to be McCain’s running mate and a heartbeat from the presidency. I believe that part because it’s not news at all, most people watching her came to the same conclusion. It takes a certain kind of cynicism to work to elect someone you think is unqualified, though. As I said before, some of this is certainly sour grapes, but I don’t remember seeing this much after the Kerry, Gore and Dole campaigns (do you? maybe I missed it).
This reminds me a bit of Scott McClellan’s book: nothing he was saying was surprising to me (and a lot of other people), but it’s just another data point of confirmation. If they were claiming something much more divergent than what we already knew, it’d be more suspect.
To be honest, I was looking forward to not writing about Sarah Palin anymore. They lost, and there’s no need to pile on. Here’s what made me change my mind:
“a new national poll said 64 percent of Republicans consider her their top choice to run for president in 2012″ (Anchorage Daily News)
Paul Begala (Democratic strategist and commentator) brought up a similar statistic on Bill Maher’s show and appended “and 100% of Democrats want her back, too!”. If my goal were to elect Democrats, I’d agree, but it’s not, so I couldn’t disagree more. I really don’t want Sarah Palin to be the future of the Republican Party. I think it’d be bad for the GOP and, in turn, bad for the country. I want a real, intellectual, moderate conservative movement in the US, and I think she’s the opposite of the type of person who should bring it.
The UPDATE section below turned out to be based upon a fraudulent blog post (thanks to Brendan for catching it). The blog linking to it published a retraction and deleted a post soon after linking, but I didn’t see the retraction later. I’m leaving it in just to give coherence to the subsequent comments.
[…] in the context of [debate] prep, it slowly became apparent that her grasp of basic geo-political knowledge had major gaps. Could she have passed a multiple choice test about South Africa or NAFTA. Probably. But it was clear that she simply didn’t have the ease of knowledge that we come to expect from a major party political candidate. Other slights came up, too: Not knowing the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas. Or the difference between the Shiites and Suni. Or when it came to international terrorist organizations, knowing that the IRA was in Northern Ireland, and ETA in Spain.
This sounds entirely plausible to me, especially with a named source to back it up. These types of things aren’t just trivia questions, they’re a clear indicator of her total disinterest in foreign policy. McCain’s choice of a VP, the clearest demonstration of his judgement we saw in the campaign, was absolutely reckless and failed to put country first.