On Palin; No Animus, No Condescension

In my piece yesterday at Pajamas Media I wrote:

. . .thrust-and-parry between a candidate and the media can both sharpen a candidate’s edge and enliven his footwork to his benefit; one smooth slice, well-timed, can topple both press and opponent, and linger in a voter’s memory as a satisfying match they want to see replayed . . . This is something Sarah Palin (and for that matter, the Tea Partiers) may wish to keep in mind for 2012. Palin is perfectly capable of deft bladework, but too often chooses to attack when a parry-and-feint will do. Her methods may please her press-hating base but — as we see with Angle and O’Donnell — one needs more than principles and an echo-chamber-emboldened base in order to win an election. One needs to be able to demonstrate skill with a keen-edged sword, so that when one lifts it above the noise and the babble, a majority will want to follow it to victory.

Well, the hate mail has been pouring in:

“I don’t understand this unattractive animus you display toward Palin…”

“You have no right to criticize our Sarah until you’ve put yourself out there, as she has.”

“You stuck-up, elitist, GOP establishment toady…”

“How dare you!”

I expect that in the writer’s mind, that last line sounded like “how daaaaaaare you” replete with a lightening bolt zapping me to hell.

Sissy Willis, who (bless her) does not seem to want to consign me to flames of woe just yet, suggests that in the above excerpt I have been “flirting with condescension” toward Palin.

I am a little surprised to read this. I thought I had pretty clearly complimented Palin in admitting that she is capable of “deft” bladework, and had merely cautioned that she often chooses not to use that skill. For instance, she went all-out-grizzly at the Family Guy for the Down syndrome “date” episode, when she really didn’t need to, and in fact could have done more harm to Family Guy with wit than with anger.

I have already said that I think the Tea Party had a good outing this election, especially for a very new movement that has no “official” leadership. What so many are taking as “establishment condescension” in my piece was nothing of the sort. I am not a Tea Partier (I am not a joiner, period) but that doesn’t mean I do not respect what is being done. Because I’m not in the thick of it, I have no emotional investment in the movement or in Palin, or for that matter, Christine O’ Donnell. I have defended both of them (Palin, many, many, many times) when I thought it right to, and have constructively critiqued her when I thought it was warranted.

Just because I am not starry-eyed in adulation of Palin does not make me a “hater” or “condescending.” It just means that I am willing to process her without emotion, and speak as I find, which–to my way of thinking–is more useful than being too-much-in-love to see a weakness or too-much-in-hate to see a strength.

Sissy makes a very good point about how Palin is going around media to get to the people:

[Sarah's] energetic embrace of the full panoply of media, old and new–from Twitter and Facebook to Fox News, Entertainment TV, her forthcoming TLC “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” series and even her daughter Bristol’s appearances on Dancing with the Stars–allows her to disintermediate the gateway media and reach the hearts and minds of the Country Class on her own terms.

Yes, Palin is doing that, and rather well. However, if Palin is going to run for president–and I believe yesterday’s well-done SarahPAC video was a hint that she will–she will need more than her base. She has a steep uphill battle before her as she tries to win back the centrists and indies who were initially attracted to her in ’08 (thus helping McCain’s numbers rise), before they fell for the unforgettably savage media attack launched against Palin.

Some would like to believe that Palin “will not need to engage the mainstream media to do that,” but the truth is, she will. Their influence is waning, and they don’t quite control the narrative as firmly as they used to, but for now the “gateway” media still controls the national conversation, itself. Those centrists and independents who turned away from Palin mostly took their cues from the mainstream, upon whom they depend for their headlines-and-soundbites. Part of her ability to win them back will depend upon how deftly (there is that word again) she engages that mainstream, who–if I may revisit the fencing analogy–will grudgingly acknowledge a touche. Recall that when Walter Mondale tried to make Reagan’s age an issue in the ’84 campaign, Reagan disarmed him (and the press) completely by genially responding that no one should hold his opponent’s youth against him. The Osric-press announced, “a hit; a very palpable hit!”

The press would never be on Reagan’s side, but all the rest of the country needed was that grudging admission that Mondale had been neatly flayed.

The US mainstream press–for all its deplorable excess–is still comprised of US citizens. A president who intends to be president of all the nation, and not just his base, will need to remember that; he cannot treat some like enemies. Reagan never did. Whatever his private feelings, he treated the press like fellow-citizens who simply held another view. Right now, Palin is getting a great deal of mileage out of hating-on the mainstream media (and let’s face it, hating-on the media is fun and kind of righteous at the moment) but eventually–if she means to be president–she is going to have to see them as her citizens, too.

Finally, for those taking offense at my “echo-chamber” remark, I have repeatedly warned of the disorienting danger of excessive insularity; if one is only listening to voices that are in unstinting agreement with one’s own views, one begins to believe that the whole world thinks as one does. That leads to nasty surprises in elections. The echo-chambers are fun, but they do occasionally need to be exited for a bit of fresh air or they become dull, stagnant places.

I have written about Sarah Palin and about the Tea Party in general, without much passion or prejudice, never dismissing either of them thoughtlessly or out of hand; I have simply applied what I know of politics, people, bullies and survival to my observations. We have become such an infuriated left-right nation that for some (on both sides) anything less than full-throated approval is received as hate, and that is not helpful to any of us, if we want to restore common sense to the public square.

No one has to agree with me; reasoned disagreement is always welcome. But Palin supporters do not make her more attractive to the centrists and indies by striking out in fury at the mildest of critiques of her. I more than understand why her supporters are overprotective of her, but reservation does not equal hate. It actually indicates a place where true common ground may be pursued, if emotions can be tamped down.

UPDATED: Now this is more like animus.

I think Richard Fernandez is on to something.

Jonah Goldberg predicts infighting in the GOP. Good thing I’m not a Republican!

Evangelicals and what they can learn from the election

Melissa Clouthier: Palin and Rubio?

Breaking: Nancy Pelosi running for leadership. It’s just too delicious. She’s going to leave her fingernail marks on the wallpaper of congress, before they get rid of her.

Looking back: There is an art to good politics

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • BAP

    The bottom line is painfully simple: what you’re doing is hurting your candidate–the very person you most want to help. Regardless of what you think of our reservations, your reaction to them makes Ms. Palin look weak and is driving away the folks who might someday be persuaded to join her side. Is that what you want?

    [I doubt very much that my very mild--so mild it can't really be called a criticism--remarks will drive anyone AWAY from Palin. But I can say that the over-protective folks who cannot bear to hear even that are not helping to bring anyone TOWARD her. Is that what you want? -admin]

  • J

    I think you want her to copy Reagan…..when attacked, to consider it and deflect it, not to attack back. Rarely did Reagan show that the animus directed AT him, hit. In a non-condescending way, he was above it. It was a skill and possibly part of his makeup, I don’t know whether it can be learned.

  • SCSoxFan

    I am so sick and tired of people assigning motives of greed to Palin’s resignation out of their own dislike for her.

    Look at the facts — she had been forced to defend herself against dozens of ethics charges that the state summarily dismissed, but which left her over $500,000 in personal debt. It is foolish to assume that the assault on her finances would not continue throughout her term in office. Alaska does not pay for the defense of officials who win in ethics reviews, nor will it allow the Governor to establish a legal defense fund. So, she would have to pay for this herself. And, the Palins were NOT rich.

    She had taken on and defeated the “Corrupt Bastards Club” that was the Alaska GOP. In the first two years she got through all of the major parts of her legislative agenda, though. Her governing coalition in Alaska was a few GOP legislators and a group of Democrats. Once she became the VP nominee, those Democrats got their marching orders and refused to work with her.

    So, her choices were to stay in office for the remaining 18 months of her term, accumulate mounting legal debts and get nothing accomplished, or resign, preserve her family’s financial viability, and let her Lt. Governor, who would not have these problems, continue pushing her agenda.

    And, she didn’t need to resign to “push her book.” She was already working on it before she resigned, and had already been cleared by the Department of Law to conduct a book tour, thus preventing any idiotic ethics charges on that front.

  • Jeff

    She connects with that primordial “base” that is America. I predict good things for her.

  • Irenaeus

    “the media…is still comprised of US citizens”

    I think the proper usage is “comprises US citizens.”

  • Denise

    Old Fan:
    The reason Sarah gets credit is that the failed Obamacare Summit was a direct result of Sarah’s “death panel” comment. As a private citizen (even as Gov.) she would not have been invited, of course. No one’s saying no one else contributed. But she’s clearly a leader.

    And on the BP spill: she forced Obama to admit it hadn’t called the BP executive because Obama had NO IDEA how to hold him accountable for the spill. She was not just mimicking Obama’s answer – she was pointing out that he couldn’t accomplish anything. Again, she has a knack for clearing the MSM smokescreen and exposing Obama’s inept actions.

    She did not abandon her responsibilities in Alaska – she left them in the very capable hands of her Lt. Govenor. If her absence caused any problems in Alaska, I’m sure we would have heard by now.

    And you forget that her book sales were absolutely put into question by her honorable resignation from her position. And a half million in debt is actually serious stuff to most people. It is significant that it is democratic operatives who were attacking her: Pete Rouse (now White House Chief of Staff) is the one who started the “troopergate” scandel on the campaign. Troopergate was dismissed, of course.

    I don’t hate people who criticise Sarah Palin, but I do dislike their loose and free interpretation of the facts and their intense hatred for the woman.

    I like to think that pointing out the truth is not mindless support on my side – it is meant to sway some minds.

  • charles

    Your line about Palin .. and O’Donnell and Angle is patently aburd What about Fiorna? What about Bielat? Guess what – it doesn’t matter how you “thrust and parry” when party affiliation favors the opponents by ten or more points.

    Occam’s razor wins again.

  • Terrye

    Pam, you said:”It was as if she was raped, beaten, and left in the town square of AK, naked in the rain. She got up, humiliated and embarrassed…proceeded to govern, and then faced 500,000 worth of (later dismissed) charges by DNC hacks, and NOT ONE Republican came to her aid …not one.”

    Oh please. Raped? I have actually been raped and let me tell you there is a difference. This is the kind of thing that is impossible to respond to. You can say that Sarah was raped and so she had to quit being Governor. Fine. But to most people out there if being Governor was too stressful, what will it be like for her to President.

    And what do you mean not one Republican came to her aid. What were they supposed to do? Who are you talking about? All sorts of people came to her aid. She is rich, she is famous, she has her own TV show, she has devoted to the point of cult worship following. And here we are still listening to people portray Sarah Palin as the eternal rape victim.

    It is just so overwrought and hysterical.

    Bush put up with years of unrelenting attacks from in and out of his party. He was accused of all sorts of evil and vile things…and yet he never complained or whined or demanded that he be rescued.

    Portraying Sarah Palin as a victim that has to be worshiped and adored by all will only make people resent her and be more critical of her.

  • Terrye


    Yes, but Fiorna is in California. O’Donnell was just not a good candidate and Angle was weak as well. I liked Angle, but she was just not good at dealing with the public and O’Donnell had all kinds of baggage, such as she was a well known quantity in DE and people there just did not like her. In fact a couple of years ago she was defeated by Biden, 65-35. She was not really a product of the Tea Party.

  • Terrye


    Reagan did have a gift at turning something around on people, they would end up looking foolish instead of him. You are right in that it might not be learned, I think his career as an actor helped him in this regard.

  • http://www.aol.com exhelodrvr

    Your column was right on target. Hopefully Palin won’t have the same attitude that some of the commenters have, or any run for office will fail. I think that she, and the country, would be better served waiting until 2016 or 2020. That would give her time to get out of the hole that the media tossed her into. Yes, electability does need to be considered. If she is going to win a national election, she will have to convince a lot of people who are currently dead set against her to vote for her, and there isn’t time between now and 2012 for that. And the fact is, we still don’t know enough about how she would do in the White House. And please no one use the “Well, she’d be better than Obama” argument. Is that really where we want to set the bar for Presidential candidates?

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    And you, old fan, what the hell is this obsession you have with me? You are bordering on stalking, you know.

    Here’s a suggestion, worry about yourself. No need to worry about me.

    By the way, old fan, I’m still waiting on that apology from you for your malicious and libelous smear falsely suggesting that I am an anti-Mormon bigot. Please have the decency to make that apology before directing any more comments in my direction.

  • http://www.saintnickschurch.com pdn Michael

    I get a sense of “talking past one another” here and I’m not exactly sure why. I concede the point made by many of you about a certain over-protectiveness toward Gov. Palin, but then I’m from Indiana – and I remember what the MSM did, and did relentlessly, to Vice President Dan Quayle, and I proceed to notice some disturbing similarities with the MSM treatment of Palin.

    And let’s not forget the stomach-turning spectacle the MSM made of themselves in rallying to the defense of a sitting president who had committed both adultery and perjury. This propensity has not changed; in the Wednesday NYTimes, here’s Maureen Dowd: “Even though it was predicted, it was still a shock to see voters humiliate a brilliant and spellbinding young president, who’d had such a Kennedy-like beginning …….” Lemming-like adulation is no specialty of Palin fans! However, what seems new and different is the spectacle of the MSM not only defending their boy, but suddenly having to defend themselves; Dowd again: “But he (Boehner) could not resist taking a few jabs at the “liberal media elite” distorting things, and a few more at a puffed-up White House that got punished for not paying enough attention to people’s anxieties.” Exactly. This is why the Palin supporters aren’t just being paranoid.

    And this leads me to think that, however annoying it may be, the Palin apologists have a foundational leg up here precisely due to the treatment Republican figures have routinely been subjected to. It’s a matter of history rather than current events. We see that Carter and Clinton can prance about sticking their noses and venturing their opinions into any number of social issues and political hot-spots and can say almost anything and still be treated with a measure of journalistic courtesy. However, an earlier poster made a very salient point: Bush has to be kept quiet and under wraps. The only place he can still exercise his role as a public figure and remain relatively unmolested by the MSM is in airports, welcoming home US troops. Now, he was a two-termer and Carter a one-termer, he has at least as much experience and insider insight as Clinton and Carter, but it’s not thought safe to let him comment or the MSM will paint the clown face on him one more time.

    I think it’s here that the Palinists are justified in what appears to be paranoia. About 37 or 38 years ago Woodward and Bernstein’s important work was translated into a license to sling increasingly large truckloads of mud at conservatives generally and Republican presidents (and vice presidents) specifically.

    Since the left went first, they should go first in reigning in the malevolence (Dowd would be good place to start!); Palin supporters might be the first to notice and appreciate it publicly.

  • Cbalducc

    I thought all the blogs at First Things were supposed to be about religious issues, especially ones dealing with Catholicism. Yet here folks are diving into political issues as if they are more important than religion. God bless.

    [Wrong. First Things was founded to be the voice of faith in the Public Square, where people of faith were encouraged to talk about politics and policy. -admin]

  • Kevin

    Chalk it up to old-fashioned chivalry, but most of us men don’t take too kindly to a woman being subjected to the type of vicious slandering that Sarah palin has been subjected to. Within 24 hours of her introduction to the national spotlight she was gleefully branded as a bitch, a liar, a tyrant, a traitor to women, an adulteress, a whore, book-burner, a secessionist, a transsexual, a fundamentalist radical, a racist, an anti-Semite, an inbred, an illiterate. She was accused of faking her pregnancy, she had to sit by and watch her children branded and ridiculed as sluts and deficients. She was made the subject of a series of XXX movies that got more mention in the media than her historic pipeline deal.

    Oh, and how many people are aware of the fact that arsonists set fire to her church and did so knowingly with people inside it? Didn’t see much coverage of that did we?

    In another time, when honor meant something, people who spoke like this and did such things could expect to be challenged to pistols at twenty paces.

    Anchoress, if every criticism of her, like yours, was constructive, then I doubt very much the hypersensitivity of Palin’s defenders would have reached the level where they currently reside. But what she and her family have endured is beyond what anyone in a civilized human society should expect. Criticize policy positions, fine. Attack inconsistencies in her public record or statements, fine. Debate whether or not she has the experience or mettle for the job, no problem as long as the arguments are based upon substance and not SNL caricatures. But an orchestrated attempt to drive an entire family to suicide is going to trigger some pretty zealous and reactionary apologists.

  • Nora

    Bender, all’s fair in love and war, and politics is both.

    If that ridiculous woman wants to compare herself to a “mama grizzly” she deserves the obvious responses. Mama grizzlies kill. Duh. They’re predators. Carnivores. And for all Ms. Palin’s smart-assy rhetoric, she’s really not as tough as she pretends to be. She’s manipulative, and I don’t respect manipulative people.

    Here’s the thing — there are more people, at the end of the day, who aren’t in thrall to the spurious charms of Sarah Palin than are. In two years’ time, I doubt any serious candidate is going to want to have anything to do with Palin and her ilk than Dems right now want anything to do with Obama.

    Also — Palin’s “death panel” comment had less to do with the failure of full-on Obamacare than the lobbyists for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries did.

    America, even her base, will grow tired of Palin because she’s all about the drama and never about substance. America does not see her sitting in a one-on-one with the head of state of another country. America, actually, cringes at the thought. You think all that kow-towing and bowing and scraping and tugging of the forelock Obama did was humiliating for us? That’s nothing compared to what a joke Palin would turn us into, and most people instinctively understand she’s not Presidential material.

    One last thing — there are more people who think and feel like I do about Palin than there are folks who worship at her shrine, and we have more money than those who think she’s the Second Coming. That’s just a cold, hard fact.

  • Elaine S.

    It is NEVER good for any candidate or officeholder, no matter what their party, to become an object of adulation or be regarded as above all criticism.

    There is not and never will be any such thing as a political Messiah who will set everything right and bring about conservative (or liberal) heaven on earth. All officeholders and even the greatest statesmen of all (Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, etc.) made mistakes, sometimes pretty bad ones.

    I know the Left seems to regard Obama as such, but let’s not fall into the trap of regarding Palin or any Republican (Rubio, Christie, etc.) as the Right/conservative Messiah either.

    I’ve said before and will say again that while I personally like Sarah Palin and think she makes an excellent spokesperson for conservatism, I am NOT yet convinced she ought to be elected POTUS. That’s not an insult to her — a lot of good, wise, intelligent people who are good at what they do are still people I wouldn’t want to be POTUS.

    I would feel much better about voting for Palin if she were to serve a few years in Congress or in a Cabinet post first. In 2016 or 2020 I might be ready to vote for her — she’ll still only be 56 years old in 2020 — but not now.

  • Kevin

    Let’s also put a stop to this nonsense that Palin’s defenders are commensurate in their devotion to her than Obama’s are to him. I have yet to see people presenting their infants to Sarah Palin with her name written on their foreheads. I have yet to see choruses of schoolchildren singing praises to Sarah Palin, or adults using their children in ads viciously attacking her political opponents. I doubt we’ll ever hear the editor of Newsweek compare her to God, and if Sarah ever said that she was the one America had been waiting for, or that her election would heal the planet and lower the oceans, I feel pretty confident in saying that a great deal of her supporters would sour on her immediately.

    It ain’t the same. Not by a long shot.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    I believe that one thought seems to be that Sarah Palin is a pretty face with not yet enough substance to run the country.

    So, if I read you right, Lioness, your point is that the reason that Palin is not taken seriously by some (thought to have enough substance), is largely because of her looks — that she’s not a threat because she’s pretty.

    And you would have a good point there. Indeed, much of the criticism of her that began soon after McCain picked her was catty criticism (from women) having to do with her looks. (And Palin has not been the only one — Hillary has had comments focusing solely on that as well.)

  • John O.

    About all the criticism, don’t let the turkeys get you down (this being November and all)

    Perhaps they all read the Noonan piece before they read yours…

    Anyway, one observation I would like to make. In the Burn’s Civil War documentary on PBS a few years ago, they had a line from historian Shelby Foote, “Gettysburg was the price the South paid for having Robert E. Lee as commander.”

    O’Donnell in DE was the price of having the Tea Party and Sarah Palin involved.

    Sometimes when we complain about the price of something it is because we don’t really desire the thing. After all, if we really, really want something price is no object. Right?

    I think that is what some of your critics are thinking and that’s unfortunate. Sometimes we have to bicker about the price for something we want – how else are we going to get it cheaper?

  • mrp

    That leads to an interesting question:

    What do we desire most in the 2012 election cycle?

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    I am NOT yet convinced she ought to be elected POTUS. That’s not an insult to her — a lot of good, wise, intelligent people who are good at what they do are still people I wouldn’t want to be POTUS.

    And yet, we are singling out Sarah Palin for this judgment.

    So, who else is there that does not make the mark? What other potential candidates can we single out as needing more preparation?

    Or, to make it easier, who is there out there that is ready and does not have to prove himself/herself again and again and again??

    Any of the old wave retreads are wrong, wrong, and more wrong on the issues. Any of the new wave, the next generation of Republican leaders, has even less experience than Palin.

    And, if no one else has the necessary qualities, if no one else has the right combination of philosophy, policy positions, attitude, and experience — why are we so singularly focused on Sarah Palin?

  • Elaine

    I like Sarah Palin and wish her the best. I want the best candidate to win in the GOP and if she decides to run that would be fine with me. I would love to see all the top GOP debating on how they would lead the country. I think the candidates should be artful and articulate when telling the people why they would do better with a conservative running the country. I like Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor and other young folks in the GOP and right now I want to hear their ideas and how they would solve the problems. The challenge is always how the press will portray these folks and hopefully they will be able to get their ideas out. I think one of these GOPers will figure it out!

  • Elaine S.

    As for the notion that electing “outsiders” with little or no previous experience in a COMPARABLE public office is better than electing “insiders” who have grown too corrupt or complacent: it depends on the situation.

    We have term limits on POTUS and (in most states) governors and other executive offices for a reason — to prevent someone from turning into a de facto dictator for life. New blood, new ideas, and new perspectives are always needed. And yes, it’s easy to fall into a rut after so many years in Washington or a state capital, and lose touch with the people. So I understand where the “vote all the bums out and replace them with regular Joes and Janes” sentiment comes from.

    However, I don’t know of ANY skilled or professional job on earth where inexperience is considered an asset. If you need surgery, for example, are you going to look for someone who’s never done any procedure resembling your kind of surgery before, on the grounds that you don’t want an “insider” who’s grown too chummy with the medical establishment? So why treat the job of leader of the free world in the same way?

    Now before you all go off on me and say “But Sarah Palin has been a mayor and a governor already” or “But Obama didn’t have that much experience either” — yes, I agree. Obama was not much more “qualified” in the sense of having FEDERAL level or state-level executive experience (he was barely two years into his Senate term when he started running for POTUS) than Palin is now. And look where it’s gotten us!

    Experience, you see, isn’t just about padding one’s resume or making connections with insiders. It’s about demonstrating over a period of time that you know what you are doing and that you can be trusted to keep your word. It’s also about being around long enough for people to get an idea of how you will handle a crisis.

    Obama was not in federal office long enough for anyone to get a good idea of how he would perform as POTUS (sorry, being a state legislator isn’t anywhere near the same — I know, because I am an IL legislative staffer myself!) and we see how that turned out.

    And I also feel that Sarah Palin’s experiences as mayor and governor, while significant, were not long enough (she was governor less than 2 years) or at a high enough level for us to get any kind of valid “read” on how she would do as POTUS. That is why I would prefer that she get some experience at the federal level before she runs for POTUS.

  • http://westernchauvinist.blogspot.com Western Chauvinist

    Pam has provided a moment of clarity:

    “My interest and concern is mainly this; I have been watching politics for 40 years and have never, ever, seen a pol treated as badly by friend and foe, as GWB (who has been consigned to hiding & no comments for fear of reproach by the liberal MSM)….and now Palin.”

    Pam seems to believe GWB removing himself from the national discourse is a bad thing. Has everyone seen the tease from Bush’s forthcoming interview with Oprah? The contrast between GWB and the current occupant of the WH is stark. If we’d care to get back to a Christian discussion, watch it.

    Blessed are those who are persecuted…

    George Bush “gets” it. The presidency is not about the person holding the office just as our own lives are not about us. We are to reflect the goodness and grace of God in being *fully* human, as God intended us to be. Perhaps what discomfits me about Sarah Palin, what I have been calling “style,” is really this… Sarah Palin has become “about” Sarah Palin. That may not be her fault, but it simply is.

    Our next presidential candidate(s) need to make this clear. They need to give us a choice between America becoming a European social democracy, which is the direction we’ve been headed for many many years, or becoming fully American… emphasizing our belief in the God-given rights to life, liberty (including property), and the pursuit of happiness in a free enterprise system, and our core values (what Dennis Prager calls the American Trinity): Liberty (as opposed to equality), E pluribus unum (as opposed to multiculturalism), and In God We Trust (as opposed to secular society, not just secular government). I want the American idea to supersede the candidate’s style. I’m not sure that’s possible with Palin.

  • Elaine S.

    “Who is out there that is ready and does not have to prove himself/herself”?

    A few that come to mind: Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has been in Congress for some time and demonstrated solid knowledge of fiscal issues; Bobby Jindal has just about completed a FULL term as governor in Louisiana; there’s also Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota (outgoing due to term limits). Mike Huckabee had a substantial record as governor of Arkansas, so I think he’s proven himself in that regard.

    I know a lot of you don’t like Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana because of his remark about declaring a “truce” on social issues, but, that remark is open to different interpretations, and I would consider him to have been around long enough to prove himself as far as being an executive (issue stands, however, are another matter).

    I would also have no problem with a former Cabinet member — someone who had worked closely with a previous administration and therefore had an understanding of the job — running for POTUS. Can’t think of any off the top of my head that are considering running, though. Any suggestions?

  • mrp

    Can unabashedly pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment candidates win state-wide office in Delaware and California in 2012? Were Carly Fiorina, Sharon Angle, and Christine O’Donnell defeated in large part because they opposed abortion on demand and gun control? Were they “too Christian” for California, Nevada, and Delaware?

    Leviathan government eventually leads to complete control over every human life. All three candidates above opposed Big Gov. When I read missives stating that this person or that person should “sit it out” for another 8 or 10 or 20 years until that person gets “more experience”, I think they miss the existential crisis facing this country -today- . Obama, Pelosi, and Reid know exactly which direction they want this country to go. That’s why they rammed ObamCare down our throats. Constitutional niceties and legislative traditions? Relics of the past.

    Palin is a fighter. The majority of her endorsees won election. She successfully channeled the Tea Party into supporting GOP candidates, thwarting the hopes of the White House that the Tea Party would go third party, and thus splitting the anti-liberal vote.

    I hope Palin does run for the presidency in 2012 – sitting this one out would not be good for the GOP or for the United States of America.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    Ryan has ZERO executive experience.

    Jindal has been governor since January 2008, about 34 months, compared to 31-32 months for Palin.

    Pawlenty is not a fighter and is wishy-washy on the issues.

    Huckabee is weak on various issues and (if we absolutely must get into the personal) has the character of a used car salesman.

    Truce Daniels is dead in the water. No, no, and hell no. Bad on social issues, too willing to compromise and get-along on economic issues. And his condescending remark about the candidates in this last election did not help.

    And, just to add a couple more names to the list –

    Chris Christie — doing super-fantastic things in New Jersey, has only a few months experience.

    Bob McDonnell, my own governor, doing a great job, has only a few months experience.

    The fact is that our minor leagues were non-existent for years, do to the insistance that we have a big tent and elect back-stabbers to office. See where that got us. Consequently, any person who is good on substance is low on office-holding experience.

    Meanwhile, anyone who has held office for a long time is part of the problem, not part of the solution — they are the ones who brought us to where we are today, on the brink of bankruptcy, both economic and moral.

  • Susan

    The MSM has been so viscous to Palin I always feel compelled to give her the benefit of the doubt. However, in selecting a conservative Presidential candidate I expect a more than what Palin offers.

    I want someone with a long history of leadership, an individual who has been fiscally responsible in public office, and can articulate conservative policies their administration will focus on. Haley Barbour and Mitt Romney are the sort of people I am looking at. Not Palin.

  • Cowardly Lioness

    So, if I read you right, Lioness, your point is that the reason that Palin is not taken seriously by some (thought to have enough substance), is largely because of her looks — that she’s not a threat because she’s pretty.

    Yes! Exactly…thank you!

    And I never said that was my personal opinion. I didn’t give my opinion of her. But experience tells me that beautiful women sometimes have a harder time being taken seriously.

    No, I didn’t say personal experience…

    Geez, anything else I should clarify?

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    All that said, I’ll repeat what I said in an earlier post, and what I have said all along –

    IF she runs for president, Palin will not be running to win, but to drive the agenda. Most likely is that, knowing that the savage MSM and the corrupt Dem-machine simply will not allow her to win a general election, not to mention the establishment Republicans who detest her, Palin will run in order to push the other candidates away from elitist-estalishmentism to commonsense constitutional conservativism. She will run to control the narrative on the issues, as she has for the last 22 months.

    Palin does not necessarily want to run in order to actually be president, she’s content to let some other good candidate do that. HOWEVER, if there is no one else, if all we have is the same warmed-over weasels (Huckabee and Romney) or those pre-emptively calling a “truce,” then, by default, she will run to win.

    But, that is not her preference. Her preference is to help America succeed, to make this country a better place, and does not necessarily mean running for office. That is not necessarily her best role, and she knows that. She knows that her greatest service to the cause is what she is doing now, a combination of Margaret Thatcher and Rush Limbaugh, the latter of whom also could never get elected to anything despite being brilliant on all the issues. Right now, for all her “weaknesses,” for all her “lack of experience,” it is Sarah Palin who has controlled the narrative more than anyone else in politics these last couple of years.

  • Terrye

    Paul Ryan and Mike Pence are both very capable and intelligent people.

    I know they don’t have executive experience, but they understand the policies and programs and they both express themselves very well. As for the executive experience aspect…Palin had it, but she walked away from it and I think that will hurt her. I understand why she did it, and in fact I think she probably did the best thing for her family…however, when people think about a President, they tend to want someone they think can and will stand up to adversity.

    I like Palin, if she ran against Obama I would probably crawl over broken glass to vote for her. But I think that she has some real hurdles to overcome. Her followers do not do her any favors by pretending otherwise. Simply blaming everything on the press will not help her. No one wants a victim for president.

  • Cbalducc

    mrp wrote:

    Can unabashedly pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment candidates win state-wide office in Delaware and California in 2012?

    It doesn’t look like anti-abortion people can win those states anymore, but the problem is not the candidates. It’s that so many of the voters support abortion and other libertine things. I’m not sure that the Second Amendment is a major issue anymore.
    I consider myself conservative but independent. I may even be radical, because I think radical change is what is needed to get this country’s finances in order. In my opinion, the ping-ponging between Republican and Democrat control of Congress in recent years is because a lot of voters either don’t know what they want or they want contradictory things. For example, some people may talk about “small government” but they don’t want cuts in Social Security and Medicare or think we need to scale down our military and get out of Iraq, Afghanistan or other countries our troops are stationed.
    I would like a candidate who understands economics and is not afraid to tell people that some sacrifices will have to be made to get this country’s economy in order.

  • Kevin

    Meow Nora, meow.

    Pay attention class, this is what you get from those who glean their political knowledge from The View.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    Paul Ryan and Mike Pence are both very capable and intelligent people.
    I know they don’t have executive experience, but they understand the policies and programs and they both express themselves very well.

    That’s it? That’s all there is to be said?

    Sorry, Terrye, my dear old friend, but that’s not how the game is played. We don’t get to say only a couple of sentences about them, and then only to use that as a springboard to talk about Palin some more.

    Where are the dozens of 100-comment postings on all of personal foibles and shortcomings of Ryan and Pence? Where are the proctology exams of them, where we go into every little petty thing about them? Why should they be immune from that obsessive discussion?

    But, no, we will have none of that. And even when we do offer some appraisal of them that might be viewed as criticism, their supporters come running to their defense (overly-defensive, anyone? can’t take the heat?).

    Look, none of this intra-party squabbling is helpful to the cause. Barack Obama and the Leftocrats are the enemy (we who are consigned to the “back of the bus” are certainly their “enemy”). We should remember that.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    Meow Nora, meow

    Someone on some other blog (Pajamas Media?) made the point about most of the Republican women candidates losing, from the “good” Whitman and Fiorina to the “bad” O’Donnell and Angle, while some of the more unlikely men won. Why is that? Why did that happen, no matter how “good” the women were?

    And it was asserted in that other blog that the reason for their losing is that a good number of women will not vote for a Republican woman, period. And I think there is something to that, which comes back to looks, mannerisms, etc. Most of the anti-Palin “she’s stupid” narrative originated with women — Kathleen Parker, Peggy Noonan, etc. They will vote for the most idiotic of men (Bill Clinton and Al Gore (who made be educated, but are walking morons), John Edwards, etc.), but when it comes to the Republican women, they begin to get catty and start picking on petty little things.

    The pro-Palin men, on the other hand, do not support her because she’s pretty. It is her philosophy, it is her policy positions, it is her kick-ass attitude. She’s a western American Margaret Thatcher.

    Just an observation. Valid? Maybe. It would not be the first time that women turn against other women who are up-and-coming.

  • Elaine S.

    Bender, I realize that inexperienced people can and sometimes do turn out to be very capable. They also can turn out to be big disappointments, or living proof of the Peter Principle.

    The less experience a person has prior to running for office, the more of a risk there is that you will end up with the second type (someone who turns out to be in over their head) rather than the first (someone who knows what they are doing).

    If you are willing to take that risk, fine. But if some rising conservative star with little experience ends up being POTUS and ALSO ends up fumbling badly on the economy (costing numerous jobs) or on national security/terrorism (potentially costing numerous lives), or turns out to be a GOP version of Jimmy Carter, don’t say you weren’t warned.

  • Terrye


    Well, I am sorry. I did not know I was required to write a dissertation. Fine..Pence was a conservative long before it was cool to be a conservative. He has the kind of solid voting record that conservatives claim to care about. He is articulate, intelligent, honest and he does not run from the press.

    Paul Ryan actually knows what he is talking about. He does not speak in platitudes, he does not depend on emotion to make a point, he does not manipulate people or try to score points..he is a policy wonk who has a better grasp of the entitlement system and how to reform it than just about anyone in government. And he has a road map.

    Mitch Daniels is the Governor here in Indiana. He is a long shot at best, but he is a good executive, a hard worker, a successful manager and he has shown the capacity to work with a lot of different kind of people and still get things accomplished.

    I just hope it is possible for the nominees whoever they are to debate the problems facing the country in a rational way that most people will find useful. I fear that the first time someone challenges Palin we will hear charges that she is being ill treated. This is the thing, politics is a difficult business, a certain amount of conflict is inevitable. If Palin’s supporters can not understand that without flying off the handle every time someone looks cross eyed at Sarah Palin then she will lose. People will grow tired of the drama and want someone who is steady and gives them a sense of security.

  • Terrye

    And I think the stuff about women being catty when it comes to Palin is condescending. It is kind of like people saying you are racist if you don’t like Obama. Or you are just a silly man who likes a pretty face if you like Palin. Suffice to say that men have voted for Clinton and Obama and all sorts of liberals over the years..so I don’t know that the sex of the person has that much to do with it.

    But I do wonder if people would feel such need to protect Palin and attack anyone who questions her if she was a middle aged guy with a beer gut.

    No offense.

  • Elaine S.

    And by the way, as much as I admire Christie I also believe it’s way too early to consider him for POTUS either. He needs to finish the job NJ residents elected him to do first.

    If (unfortunately) Obama should win a second term and Christie decides to go for it in 2016, and he does all or most of what he promised to do in NJ, then I might seriously consider voting for him. But not now. We haven’t even had time to see how well his ideas will work (or not) in NJ.

    Jindal, by the way, was elected in 2007 and by the time 2012 rolls around he will have COMPLETED an entire 4-year term.

  • Terrye

    And I am not sure I would compare Palin to Thatcher. I believe Thatcher had a degree in Chemistry from Oxford and she spent many years in government before she became Prime Minister. She was in fact very much a part of the political establishment. She was not a populist, but a straight forward conservative..and no one ever had to come to her rescue. She could be questioned, debated, yelled at, called names and stay standing. There was no facebook or twitter, she had to deal with a biased press and a determined opposition. And she did.

  • Terrye


    I like Jindal. He might not set the world on fire, but he knows what he is doing. And nothing seems to stop the guy. Smart man.

  • Pam Hoyt

    Bender, maybe not so much a catty woman thing as it is a form of projection.

    As in they project their feelings of hysteria about Palin to those who defend her.

    An example above by Nora..who claimed she didn’t understand my retort about rape..being political rape and not actual rape….of course she did.

    But facts are facts, and in 08, Republican moderates, ie, Rinos who want to marginalize conservatives (and who are the only ones the MSM publishes or has on TV) did not help her when she needed it once she was back in AK.

    Every Republican office holder needs political help, funding, PR help, etc…..why is this objectionable for Palin? And somehow a sign of weakness?

    All Dems get plenty help from the massive MSM/Hollywood/Madison Ave/Academia…their war rooms are immense. For 40 years running.

    Anyway, this country is changing by the minute, and it appears that some may have to get used to the idea that there will be an occasional American who is not of the “correct pedigree”, who may want to run for President.

    Who may have the unmitigated GALL to do so, because the Harvard, Yale and Columbia class have done such a bang up job….

    And this will be a GOOD thing for this country, pass or fail, only in America.

  • Nora

    Pam — I never responded to your claim about rape one way or another. You must be mistaking me with someone else.

    For whoever implied I get my political views from watching The View, I am proud to say I have never, ever even seen that show.

    For those who are whining about how personal those of us who instinctively distrust Plain are making the debate, y’all are the ones who call women who don’t like her names — y’all are the ones who imply we don’t like her because she’s pretty (I’m sorry, but she’s not that pretty — there are far more beautiful women in the world than Sarah Palin, and we are hardly jealous of a woman who wears a Bumpit), or we’re pro-abortion (I was told this several times, which is laughable if you know anything about me, which none of you do), or we’re rabid liberals, blahblah.

    So now, after you folks made it personal, yeah, it’s personal.

    Careful what you wish for…

  • Kevin

    Terrye, while I may be an unapologetic Palinista I don’t begrudge you your reservations about comparing her to someone like Thatcher. Many have objected to that, some almost with hysteria. But God how I wish there was the same kind of objection to the media’s narrative of Obama as Abraham Lincoln, FDR, JFK, and Jesus Christ all rolled into one.

  • Nora

    Whitman and Fiorina lost because their corporate-America backgrounds just don’t resonate with the average Californian. O’Donnell lost because she’s a nut. She’s a flake, a nut, a liar and a lightweight.

    Continually turning every loss incurred by a female politician into a catty bitch-fest does not help Sarah Palin or future female Republican candidates.

    Again, Palin’s fanbase is her biggest detriment because they keep her stuck in a moment. Her fanbase would have a holy fit if she did indeed tone down the kitschy, bogus, ol’-timey rhetoric and worked on her delivery, and stayed out of the spotlight and worked seriously on improving her knowledge and understanding of this country’s history and of current issues.

    She wants the limelight, she wants to be a star — now she’s got it. She’s got a rabid fanbase who now own her, who’ve usurped her humanity. She can only ever be this two-dimensional cardboard cut-out of a woman.

    That’s not her detractors’ fault. That’s her supporters’ fault.

  • Terrye


    Palin is an American, all American. There really is no comparing her to a British PM.

    The media’s narrative of Obama is just bizarre. I mean really, it is…it is a fantasy. But I think they are waking up.

    I like and respect Palin and I would not be afraid to vote for her. I never intended to imply otherwise. My only point is that some of her people are too quick to go on the offensive where she is concerned.

    Such as assuming that anyone who does not like her is jealous or whatever. Maybe they just don’t like her. Simple as that.

    The truth is Palin is popular among rank and file Republicans. That means that the same sort of people who vote for guys like Mitch Daniels and George Bush like her. She is not an outcast in the party or anything like that. I have heard Romney and McCain say worse things about each other than either of them ever said about her.

    Palin’s problems are not with the Republicans, it is with the rest of the country. And that could change in time if people just ease up a little.

  • kt

    “Where are the dozens of 100-comment postings on all of personal foibles and shortcomings of Ryan and Pence? Where are the proctology exams of them, where we go into every little petty thing about them? Why should they be immune from that obsessive discussion?”

    Bender, you are a must-read IMHO.

    Anchoress, to ask the question is to answer it. The insanestream media built a gigantic microscope designated “for Palin only”, and we see you breathlessly waiting in line for a turn to peer through and report back your findings. It’s really not because we are dim palin-drones that we find this less than useful. We just think it’s a waste of time, and a malicious one at that.

  • Elaine S.

    Here’s another analogy that I think might better explain my approach to evaluating candidates’ experience.

    Say you have a car which is unquestionably a lemon, giving you constant trouble, and which you want to get rid of, but before you do, you want to be sure the car you buy to replace it is reliable.

    You go to a car dealer and find that one of the models offered for sale is a sleek, shiny, brand new model that has all the features you want. However, you also discover this model has never been test driven under actual highway conditions — only on closed tracks or other controlled environments. Or, you discover that road testing on this model only recently started and it is too soon to tell, for example, how it will perform in cold weather, or in heavy city traffic, etc.

    Your other choices include models that have been test driven but have shown various design flaws — some serious, others relatively minor.
    Plus none of these models have all the features you want. Only the new, untested one does.

    So which car do you buy?

    You might buy the brand new one on the grounds that you absolutely MUST get rid of the car you have and this one can’t be any worse. And you might be right, it could turn out to be the best car you ever had.

    But, it could ALSO prove to have some critical design flaw that looked fine on paper but failed miserably once the car was actually driven on real roads under adverse weather or traffic conditions. In that case, you may wish you had bought one of those other, more tested models that wasn’t perfect but turned out to be more reliable.

    If Obama is the “lemon” we are currently stuck with, and 2012 is our next chance to “buy” a replacement, it appears to me that the GOP is offering a number of new but untested models (Palin, Christie) alongside some models that have been better tested (Jindal, Ryan) and others that have gotten plenty of road time but proven to have significant problems (Romney, Huckabee, Daniels, etc.) And I’m not sure at this point which one I want to “buy.”

  • Terrye

    “Where are the dozens of 100-comment postings on all of personal foibles and shortcomings of Ryan and Pence? Where are the proctology exams of them, where we go into every little petty thing about them? Why should they be immune from that obsessive discussion?”

    Bender, what does this even mean? Have either of these men ever been on the national ticket of the Republican party running as VP? Has either of them ever developed the kind of following that Palin has…and why get nasty with them? Are they to blame for the fact that Palin has been trashed by people who do not like her? Well, go google Bush hitler and see how many hits you get.

    My point is that people do what gets the most attention…and I fail to understand why someone like the Anchoress here has to get nasty emails for some simple little post like this just because someone gave Palin a hard time. What did she have to do with that? The point is you are targeting people who have not offended you or Palin and who are not your enemy and in the process you are alienating the very people you need to attract. You have the conservatives, now concentrate on the rest of the country.