Friday, July 10, 2009
The Left has recently focused all of its hatred -- which is a not inconsiderable amount -- on the soon-to-be ex-governor of Alaska, who, by dint of her appointment as Vice Presidential nominee in 2008, seems to be the presumptive frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 2012.
The media anointed her an instant star after her initial speech at the Republican convention. She did have some clever, cutting lines about the Democratic ticket, and she delivered them well. But it was the speechwriter who was the real star, not Palin. McCain could have hired any number of good-looking actresses to make the same speech equally well (there were no other pretty governors available, however). But Palin was given credit, much in the same way a movie star is assumed to be sophisticated because he recites the scriptwriter's witty lines.
Unfortunately, there was nowhere to go after that brief, shining moment but down. When Palin was interviewed, her lack of political grounding quickly became apparent. Yes, Katie Couric did her best to ambush her, but Palin's deer in the headlights response to the attack did little to instill confidence. When asked about her foreign policy expertise, Palin responded that on a clear day you could see Russia across the Bering Strait. (Wince.) She was equally uninformed on other issues. To her credit, she did have a track record of going after malfeasance in her own party, showing an admirable independent streak. But she also lied about her track record concerning the Bridge to Nowhere.
Palin just isn't Presidential material (any more than Joe Biden, though for different reasons). Not only is she not a thinker, she's not even a particularly effective saleswoman.
The Right invested too much of its hopes in her, and as a result the Left has invested much of its hatred in her (which in turn makes the Right like her even more). But the Left also finds her irritating because of what she symbolizes: a particularly fecund brand of white motherhood, a fervent Christianity, and a sort of Annie Oakley-style self-reliance. She even helped her husband with his fishing business (this is a dangerous occupation) in the summers. The East Coast elite finds this sort of resume, at a certain level, somewhat intimidating, simply because they know they never could or would do any of those things. So they respond the way they know best: with contempt.
The Democrats like to present themselves as the party of the common people, who stick up for the underprivileged against the privileged. But when someone like Paula Jones (who accused Bill Clinton of sexual harassment) gets in their way, their true colors come out. All of those liberal women who are usually all too happy to act as pc thought police started calling Jones "trailer trash" and the like. (The usual class warfare, just fought from the other side this time.)
The same crowd has reacted in similar fashion to Palin.
The real threat to Obama in 2012 would seem to come not from Palin but from the well-informed and well-spoken Mitt Romney. He was denied last time around because he split the conservative vote with Huckabee, giving McCain the plurality, but that probably won't happen in 2012. Romney is a bit of a flip flopper (most notably on gay marriage when he ran for Governor of Massachusetts), but compared to Obama he looks like the Rock of Gibraltar. He is rich, and will not have to scrape for money in the next three years, as Palin will. And after a few more years of our economy being run by a leftist community organizer from Chicago who inevitably favors unions over companies (and even over workers), the national mood may shift. The electorate will probably start to hanker for the business savvy (or at least the presumed business savvy) of a self-made man like Romney.
As a Morgan Stanley analyst recently said, "Look for the union label...and sell it."
Imagine if Romney were to pick Palin as his VP. I hope he doesn't, because of all her negatives; but if he did, it would be the best-looking ticket ever. (Would they be able to keep their hands off each other, or would it be too much Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith?)
In the meantime, let the Left focus its virulence on Palin. She'd make a lousy Presidential candidate, but she makes a fantastic stalking horse.