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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Rich Lowry - and most of the rest of the NRO crew - don't get it.

Dear Rich,

Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m starting to think that Christopher Buckley endorsing Barack Obama for President may not have been an isolated case of poor judgment. Your piece, Sarah Palin Up and Out, tells us quite a bit more about you than it does about Palin.

At the risk of being sued for copyright infringement, I’ll quote the beginning of your screed:

In all the speculation about why Sarah Palin quit the Alaska governorship, no one — right or left, supportive or critical, rational or conspiratorial — has credited her stated reason that she had to do it for the sake of Alaska.

It’s just too absurd. Palin mentioned Alaska or Alaskans 34 times in a 17-minute statement that must be a new record in the history of protesting too much. Palin says she hates politics as usual, and true to her word, on July 3 she staged a spectacle in politics as unusual. But she still proved adept at the traditional political art of extreme disingenuousness.

You then go on to state:

She didn’t want to put Alaska through the hell of a lame-duck governor who would “hit the road, draw the paycheck, and ‘milk it.’” Never mind that if she feared becoming a lame duck, she could run for re-election — especially if “serving [Alaska’s] people is the greatest honor I could imagine.”

Well, my friend, and you are my friend, you may have reached the pinnacle of your ambitions by being editor of a magazine that has to beg for gifts from its readers, but Sarah Palin has bigger goals. The reception she received from the Republican base showed that she was the biggest draw in the party. If she wanted to see whether she stood a chance of being the leader of the party, and perhaps its Presidential nominee, she needed to make a move. No matter how much she loved Alaska. You can’t run for President from there. Distance won’t let you; not if you are also the governor.

Let’s look at a few other facts. For example, how well you function in your job if I hit you with a lawsuit daily. Could it be distracting? Could it be distracting to National Review? Could it start to cost you money? Would you decide that, after a while, you had to do something else because I won’t stop because my lawsuits are not costing me anything and I hate you with a burning passion?

And let’s say that the only time you get media attention is when some comic makes jokes about your daughter – do you have a daughter? – getting knocked up by a ballplayer. If you don’t have a daughter, substitute wife, or mother. And by the way, you look like a dickless nerd. Come on, Rich, it’s only a joke so suck it up and ignore it.

So you decide that if you can’t change the rules of the game, you change the game. That’s what Palin did. And creeps like you decide that you don’t like it. So you opine that she should have stayed the governor, played by the rules her enemies made, and remain the piƱata of all the Left Wing nuts who need a hate object. Meanwhile the editors of National Review will decide who the next Republican candidate is, giving us a choice between … oh, Romney, Huckabee or the governor of Minnesota, old “what’s his name.” People who are so dull that the Democrats don’t need to destroy; they self-destruct.

And I’m getting really tired of this statement that gets repeated in every critique of Palin:

For that she needs substance, not the hackneyed sound bites she clings to for dear life. For that she needs a positive program, not just the hatred of conservatism’s favorite enemies.

Every talking dick-head on the Right is giving her advice to hit the books, study up, become a scholar, learn how to regurgitate other people’s thoughts. After the last election, you still cling to the belief that this thing called “substance” matters. What universe did you in habit during the 2008 run for the Presidency? What color is the sky there?

In my essay on The Palin Standard, I opined:

The subject of Republican candidates for 2012 was part of the discussion on July 1. When the discussion turned to Sarah Palin everyone agreed that Palin should be busy studying foreign policy issues to prepare herself if she decided to run. One of the panelists recommended that she send for policy experts to visit her in Alaska to provide a tutorial.

And everyone nodded.

This is the conventional wisdom and it’s wrong. Why should Palin be held to a different standard than the people who won the election in 2008?

Quick ... when did Obama get quizzed on foreign policy?

Obama’s foreign policy consisted of pulling out of Iraq before we were successful and closing Guantanamo before he knew what could be done with the terrorists there. Oh yes, the other leg of his foreign policy was to hold talks with Ahmadinejad of Iran without pre-conditions.

Can anyone remember Obama getting a “test” on foreign policy during the campaign? Can anyone remember anything about the Obama campaign other than “hope and change,” “yes we can,” and “we are the ones we have been waiting for.”

Why is Sarah Palin going to judged on a different standard that the recent winner in the Presidential sweepstakes? Is there a different test that Republican women must pass? Why is there a demand that Sarah Palin be required to prepare a doctoral dissertation and be subject to an oral exam as if she were attending graduate school while the winner of the last election not only does not have her experience, he was not even asked about his knowledge.

Mind you, I am not in favor of electing ill-equipped demagogues to any office, let alone the presidency. But that's just what happened in 2008. The idea that you can't do what Barack Obama so obviously did makes Krauthammer's comments silly and makes me question the motives behind his dismissal of Palin.

In his defense, he may have meant to say that Republicans - unlike Democrats - can't run an empty suit and win. But Ronald Reagan proved that you can win an election on big ideas without taking a test in which you are asked to name the second assistant vice chairman of Bulgaria.

Mind you, Rich, that I confidently predict that she will display her expertise and will have a positive agenda. I wrote about that. What Palin Could, And Should, Do and Palin and the politics of abundance

So Rich, take your snark about Palin and shove it. We had a great intellectual leader in Bill Buckley, but he died. And the people he left behind, sons and heirs, are beginning to get those “strange new respect” awards that are so popular among the chattering classes.


Anonymous said...


Mike ~ said...

A great bull's-eye shot on the status-quo GOP! The deep pontificating by these geniuses that Sarah should "wait," while they are still marinating in the stink of dead elephant, goes to show why we are in the state we are in.

Andy B said...

And how awesome is it to hear a politician say these words. politically speaking, "if I die, I die. So be it."--Sarah Palin

vanderleun said...


I like to think that, while at the salmon camp, every time she gutted a fish she gave it a name first.

Robohobo said...

What a great article and an astounding take down of Lowry. As soon as I read his 'article' I penned an email to him saying much the same but shorter. I am sure he trashed it out of hand.

Gerard - I hope she named the fish thusly:
Letterman, Obama, Biden, Pelosi, Reid, etc.

Palin got inside of the OODA loop of the Left for a time. I hope it buys enough time to establish another Conservative party to rival and circumvent the current elitist professional political classes.

Anonymous said...

NRO has been in the tank for Romney since before the '08 primaries, and they are still pushing him for '12.

Don't expect anything favorable on Palin from any of them.

Anonymous said...

Good thoughts. I am an academic, and the last thing this country needs is an academic, policy wonk for President. Palin excelled, as far as my idiotic, academic mind can see, because see is a normal person and a good citizen. Academia and policy institutes are in shambles. Look to a citizen who relies on common sense and life experience, not an arrogant elitist who quotes Tocqueville and Nietzsche.
(and I really think its funny they all say she needs to smarten up after Barry O wins on trite platitudes. That's some analysis on their part.)