DON'T SELL PALIN SHORT
By Jeff Jacoby
The 2008 presidential campaign may be over, but Sarah Palin's moment in the spotlight has yet to run its course. In a media marathon last week, the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee sat down for interviews with CNN's Larry King and Wolf Blitzer; had Matt Lauer of the "Today" show up to Wasilla for a family dinner; and told Fox News's Greta Van Susteren about getting the call from John McCain on her cellphone while she was admiring the local produce at the Alaska State Fair. She disdained the Republican "jerks" who spread anonymous rumors painting her as geographically illiterate, and vehemently denied the accusation that she had milked the campaign for a $150,000 wardrobe for herself and her family.
All that was a prelude to her star turn at the Republican Governors Association meeting in Miami, where she met reporters at a press conference, drew standing ovations from several hundred GOP donors, and humorously updated her fellow governors on what she'd been doing since last year's meeting. "I had a baby," she told them. "I did some traveling; I very briefly expanded my wardrobe; I made a few speeches; I met a few VIPs, including those who really impact society, like Tina Fey."
Of course she was asked whether she plans to run for president in 2012, and of course she deflected the question. "The future is not that 2012 presidential race; it's next year and our next budgets," she said. But there can't be much doubt that Palin has become the brightest star in the GOP firmament. A whopping 91 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of her, according to a recent Rasmussen poll, and she is the runaway favorite when they are asked to rank possible contenders for the party's 2012 presidential nominee.
Elsewhere, however, the savaging of Palin continues. In The New York Times, Maureen Dowd devotes yet another column to bashing Alaska's governor ("a shopaholic whack-job diva"). The popular Washington blog Wonkette, characteristically crude, pronounces her "human garbage." At TheAtlantic.com, an obsessed Andrew Sullivan calls her "deluded and delusional . . . clinically unhinged" and describes her as a nitwit with "the educational level of a high school dropout" who "regards ignorance as some kind of achievement."
Not everyone on the left is in a gibbering rage over Palin. The feminist social critic Camille Paglia, a pro-choice Democrat, is appalled by the Democrats' anti-Palin debauch, especially their attacks on her intelligence. "As a career classroom teacher, I can see how smart she is," Paglia writes, "and, quite frankly, I think the people who don't see it are the stupid ones, wrapped in the fuzzy mummy-gauze of their own worn-out partisan dogma."
After witnessing the poise, energy, and panache with which John McCain's 44-year-old running mate handled herself on the national stage, can the backbiters working overtime to trash her intellect really believe she is nothing but a vain and ignorant airhead? Well, maybe; partisans and ideologues are good at seeing only what they want to see. But they might want to recall that the last Republican to inspire such ardor and admiration among the party faithful -- Ronald Reagan -- was also derided as a dim bulb. Diplomat Clark Clifford called Reagan an "amiable dunce." The New Republic's Robert Wright viewed him as "virtually brain dead." Nicholas von Hoffman lamented that it was "humiliating to think of this unlettered, self-assured bumpkin being our president." That "bumpkin" became one of the greatest presidents of the 20th century.
I suspect that the loathing of Palin by so much of the opinion elite is driven not by contempt for her brainpower but by fear of her political potential. She is cheerful and charismatic, an unabashed and likable conservative who generates extraordinary grassroots enthusiasm. Tens of thousands of voters showed up at her campaign rallies, and even now, when she appears on TV, record-breaking numbers of viewers tune in. "Her politics aren't my politics," said Lorne Michaels, the creator and executive producer of "Saturday Night Live," after Palin's appearance on the show. But "I watched the way she connected with people, and she's powerful."
Whether Palin has the skill and stamina it would take to win a presidential nomination, let alone capture the White House, it is way too early to tell. But the smart money says she is a force to be reckoned with. That may be just what her critics are afraid of.
'No' To Obama's Experimental Government
On Sunday night, President-elect Barack Obama told "60 Minutes" that Franklin D. Roosevelt would be a model of sorts for him. "What you see in FDR that I hope my team can emulate is not always getting it right, but projecting a sense of confidence and a willingness to try things and experiment in order to get people working again."
This is a problematic standard. What do you want in a surgeon? One who "gets it right" or one who projects "a sense of confidence?" Ditto accountants, defense lawyers, mechanics and bomb-disposal technicians: cocky and self-assured, or gets it right?
Before you answer that, please ask yourself what your point of view on this question was during the eight years of the Bush administration.
In short, there can be a chasm between being right and merely appearing to be right. Why anyone stakes greater value on the appearance than reality is a mystery to me.
But as Obama clearly recognizes, that was a big part of the FDR magic. FDR came into office promising "bold, persistent experimentation" -- and delivered. Raymond Moley, an early member of FDR's "brain trust," saw the New Deal for what it was. "To look upon these programs as the result of a unified plan was to believe that the accumulation of stuffed snakes, baseball pictures, school flags, old tennis shoes, carpenter's tools, geometry books and chemistry sets in a boy's bedroom could have been put there by an interior decorator," Moley wrote later.
Yet Americans thought it was all part of a plan, even though experimentation and planning are in fact near opposites. Why? Because FDR always projected such confidence, even as he made things worse. But this isn't another column about how FDR prolonged the Depression. Been there, done that. I'd rather be forward-looking.
In fact, I want to be experimental, too. So here's my idea: Just stop. Stop talking about bailouts and stimuli. Stop pondering ever more drastic action. Give it a rest. Let it be.
One of the main reasons there's all of this "money on the sidelines" out there among private investors is that Wall Street doesn't know what the government will do next. Will it bail out the auto industry? The insurance companies? Which taxes will go up? How far will interest rates go down? How long will the federal government own stakes in the banks? Will more stimulus checks go out? If so, how big will the deficit get?
Interventionists, bailout czars and "bold experimenters" in all parties claim to be like firefighters; they can't stop what they're doing until the fire is out. But this analogy only works if you understand the nature of the fire. If it's a credit crisis, that's one thing. If it's uncertainty, it's quite another. And if the problem right now is uncertainty, then these aren't firefighters, they're arsonists.
Brookes News Update
Will Obama's economic policies drag the US down?: "Things are turning nasty for the US economy. Just how nasty was made clear when on hearing of Obama's victory the markets fired a salvo across the bows of the Democratic Party. Markets are always forward looking, and what they said was that Obama's ragtag baggage of economic nostrums pose a severe threat to the American economy and hence recovery
The economy sinks deeper into recession while the economic commentariat flounders : The economy is in recession and has been for several months, and yet our brilliant economic commentariat are still debating when it will happen. In the meantime they are losing their hair over the 'global financial meltdown'. Nevermind: The truth is still out there
Is Obama another Roosevelt and will 2009 be another 1937?: Obama's union, spending and taxation policy was first implemented by Roosevelt during the Great Depression. The Result was another crash and a dramatic rise in unemployment
The myths of Clintonomics : Obama's attempts to reassure markets have failed. This is because markets know that Obama is recycling myths about the Clinton years. Naturally, that pack of economic illiterates that we call the media are cheering Obama's economic nostrums
I am proud to be a conservative : With few exceptions conservatives play by the rules, respect property and rights of others and do not resort to tricks and fraud to succeed. This is because they believe their views will prevail if people can be properly informed and because they believe Americans will do the right thing for the country even if other policies will enable them to unfairly receive more than they deserve. This cannot be said of the Democrat Party
Ten years of 'change' in the UK : For real change to come - for the dominant 20th century culture of grievance and victimhood to move on to some more healthy social psychology rooted in a degree of personal responsibility and self reliance - this would take leaders of far sterner stuff than Barack Obama
The worse is yet to come under President Barack Obama: Opponents have unsuccessfully tried to inform Americans about changes in the tax law to "spread the wealth" from the so-called "wealthy" to lower income voters. Though under the current "progressive" tax system this already occurs; President Obama will enshrine and expand the tax policy toward the Marxist ideal
Counterfeit Marriage and its Counterfeit Movement: With a unified voice amplified several million-fold through the ballot box megaphone, African-Americans have spoken on the issues of marriage, family and human sexuality. Whether young or old, male or female, Democrat or Republican, blacks are justifiably fed up with the deceptive antics of the self-described and craftily contrived 'gay rights movement'
Obama's New Deal v. the US economy : Just as I predicted, the US economy is in another recession. And what does Team Obama intend to do about it? The same things that Roosevelt did. And informed people know just how well that worked. The man will be an economic disaster if he implements his economic program
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)