Saturday, August 30, 2008

More Thoughts On Sarah Palin

I have my reservations about Sarah Palin. We still must find out about her judgment, character and capabilities. But I have been appalled over the last 24 hours at the left's attempt to assassinate her character.

The left is trying to do to her what they did to Dan Quayle in 1988. There was a media frenzy when Bush the elder picked him to be his Vice-President. The media and the Democrats defined Quayle unfairly as an airhead. The left has a long history of attacking Republicans as stupid: Reagan, Ford, Eisenhower, and I believe even Wilkie and Coolidge were attacked thus.

Quayle never recovered from that initial onslaught. He never was able to redefine himself. To this day he is radioactive in politics.

Now they're trying to paint Palin as a second Quayle. I don't think it will work because the world is different today. 1988 was in the last days of MSM dominance.

Also, Palin is NOT Quayle temperamentally; her basketball nickname, Sarah Barracuda, bespeaks a scrappy character, a fighter. She holds a gun with authority -- something urbane leftists, from Obama to Dukakis to Adlai Stevenson could not do. If you want an historical comparison for Palin, don't look at Quayle, look at Theodore Roosevelt.

William Kristol (who incidentally was Quayle's chief of staff) gets it right: the left is scared to death of Palin. So the big push is on now to destroy her character.

Let's hope she spells potato right.


I don't find the arguments about experience persuasive -- not in any case, not for McCain and Biden and not against Obama and Palin.

Taking experience alone as a qualification, then the most qualified man to be President is Jimmy Carter. He did it before, and having served only one term he is eligible to be reelected. When you talk about 3am telephone calls, he's been there. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the hostage takeover in Tehran must have been two telephone calls from hell.

Would you want Jimmy Carter to be President?

Ideology is of supreme importance. Experience is a minor factor compared to what a man believes.

Barack Obama is ideologically a lot like Jimmy Carter. Neither has a good understanding of America's enemies in this dangerous world. Obama, you could say, is Carter without the experience.

Which of the two inexperienced candidates, Obama or Palin, would you rather have answering that 3am telephone call announcing China's invasion of Taiwan? A lifelong member of the NRA or a man who holds collectivism as his ideal? A woman who once worked as a commercial fisherman or a man who once worked as a community organizer (a job that is by its nature altruist-collectivist-statist)?

Ideas get little discussion in American politics, and that is a shame. For whatever reason, American politics is occupied with nonessential concretes, from kissing babies to eating greasy food at state fairs. A candidate's experience is the facts of his resume, and today's anti-conceptual minds can parse these empirical facts all day without having to consider ideas and principles. For the most part it's a waste of time.

As I noted, I have reservations about Palin, specifically her mysticism. I want to find out more about how she thinks. But however bad she might be, I have a hard time believing she could deal with the invasion of Taiwan worse than Obama or even the supremely experienced Jimmy Carter. Remember, Obama's initial reaction to Russia's invasion of Georgia was mild and carried no moral condemnation of Russia. It took McCain's strong response to bring the Obama campaign around the next day to issuing something a little firmer than a wet tissue.


david said...

I completely agree with your assessment of the "experience" issue.

I do, however, think that Palin will make an excellent VP (or possibly Pres?). My initial reaction to all of the reports about her is that she does live firmly in the real world -- allegations of her "creationism in schools" seem to be a bit overblown.

She seems to be a genuine person - warts and all - and a whole different breed of politician, one that I think will be a refreshing change from the "establishment" pols.

And the Left's attempts to discredit her and destroy her are, indeed, reprehensible.

Excellent post, Myrhaf.

Myrhaf said...

Thanks, David. I must say that on a purely sense of life level, I find Sarah Palin entirely likable and attractive. And that is why the left is panicking (sp?).

Anonymous said...

Will the right have any consistency in what they want for President. I won't do so, but I bet I could go through your blog's archives and see you berating Obama for his not spending 30+ years in Washington, DC. This woman will be a heartbeat away, and has NO federal government experience, and only two years of State government experience. I don't give a crap how hot she is. She's not remotely qualified. I'd not complain had she been named a year ago, and millions of voters would vote otherwise, on the basis of SOME experience.

madmax said...


If I am not mistaken, you once had a post on experience that I thought hit the nail on the head. You asked the question "experience? experience at what?" What do politicians have experience at? At confiscating and redistributing wealth? At passing laws that violate individual rights? Experience to a politician is experience at the game of manipulating the welfare state. Who cares if a politician has experience at that. All that people looking for "experience" are saying is that they want a career politician which also usually means a career manipulative lawyer. Such experience is not a positive. I too have questions about Palin. But her lack of "experience" is a positive as far as I am concerned.

madmax said...

Also, a question I have about judging politicians in general is how much to weigh their opinions on abortion? If Palin is better on energy and self-defense than Obama, does being "pro-life" rule her out?

Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

My view of Palin is this: She's pro-life, anti-gay marriage, and she's not for individual rights as evidenced by her "windfall tax" on justly earned profits by oil companies.

She's pro welfare in that she believes that it is right to tax tax monies from oil companies and redistribute them to people who have to right to that property. In effect, she's for creating a subset of a welfare state bringing dependancy into the lives of people in the form of annual income supplements they are not entitled to and didn't work for.

I see no evidence that she's for shrinking the size of government unless she's pissed at a former relative, but instead; I see a person who will use power vindictively to hold onto or gain even more power.

In essence, I see the John McCain/Sarah Palin ticket as no safer than Obama/Biden. In fact, I see it as a greater threat. By putting faith in that team, one is
leaving too much to chance - just like religionists do.

I'd love to vote against Obama, but voting for McCain seem to be to be no better than a variation on a theme and Palin's lack of respect for property rights speaks volumes in and of itself.

Anonymous said...

Shrinking the government is dead to republicans. They actively endorse the welfare state now and help expand it, only they bring the churches into it as well via the faith-based initiative. A vote for Republicans is no longer a vote for even their old perverted form of "free-market" favoring.

Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

Palin also has experience in REAL life. Obama has been mollycoddled and lived in an affirmative action cocoon all his adult life. Americans simply want someone authentic not some manufactured puppet carefully and cynically groomed by a political party.

Myrhaf said...

Patrick, I think you are exactly right. Someone like Mitt Romney is just another pragmatist politician, a boring middle-of-the-roader. Palin in not a beltway insider. Jeez, what has Biden done for 35 years in the Senate but spend taxpayers' money?

First Anonymous, don't judge all right-wingers from this blog. My distain for experience is idiosyncratic, to say the least.

Madmax, thanks for reminding me of that post. I've been thinking I should reread it.

Rick, you're certainly anti-Palin. I'll have to give the issue of her attacking corporations more thought. If she is big on that, then she fits McCain perfectly -- and this is not good.

Second Anonymous, you're right. The Republicans are just another welfare state party now.

mike18xx said...

After Gustav rips out a hundred oil-rigs and dumps them into the blitzed-out shell of the Superdome, we'll see if McCain and his ANWR-squishy side-kick can manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

She's a religious conservative (a form of collectivist), she not only demanded a windfall profit tax from Exxon, but tied the tax on oil companies directly to the price at the pump. As the price goes up; so, do the taxes on their business.
She ended gasoline consumption taxes at the pump which means people will use more, conserve less, drive up the cost of oil and pass the bill along to not only big oil, but the rest of us. Isn't that exactly what Obama wants to do? Seems she's beat him to the punch.
It seems she not only knows how to use a gun, but she's also become adept at hold-ups.
She's McCain in drag. To me, death by sword or gun doesn't really matter - you're still dead. I'm staying home or I'm writing in MacBeth.

Joseph Kellard said...

Rick writes about Palin:

"She ended gasoline consumption taxes at the pump which means people will use more, conserve less, drive up the cost of oil and pass the bill along to not only big oil, but the rest of us."

This endorses taxes as a means of price controls—both of which damage the economy. The less the price of gas, the more people will consume of it, and this will likely raise prices *temporarily,* in the short-term, but will ultimately lead to more production of oil and even lower prices in the long term.

There is no virtue in “conserving” energy sources if there are means to producing more of them. If oil wells were truly running dry, this would just mean that more explorers of other sources of energy would focus their productive capabilities on producing viable alternatives. Solar, wind, electric cars are still nowhere near taking that roll in our mass industrial world – but that’s not to say they could not be, in short time, if we suddenly found ourselves with another ten years left before all the oil dries up. Free, inventive men would work much, much more feverishly to find that next mass-productive energy, so they could get rich doing so.

Actually, there already exists a viable alternative energy— nuclear power—but the environmentalists, at least in America, have stopped us from using it, or at least expanding on using it. I hear nuclear power supplies well over 50 percent (up to 70?) in France and Japan.

Valda Redfern said...

Madmax asks, "If Palin is better on energy and self-defense than Obama, does being "pro-life" rule her out?" I think it does: I regard a candidate's position on abortion as a litmus test. If neither McCain nor Palin have any concept of individual rights, what will they be defending? The same thing, I think, as Bush has been defending these last few years by making Iraq safe for Islam: Christian values.
(And, as Rick has pointed out, Palin isn't any better than Obama on energy.)

Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

Palin had better win the VP position. It won't be long before her 80% approval rating at home falls. BP is already looking to back out of deals involving drilling on state owned land in favor of drilling federal lands because the taxes are lower. She seems to not understand that the lower the potential return on investment appears, the less likely business will be attracted to a specific area or activity.

They's survive, though, but will have a perpetually strained economy as we have in Massachusetts where our politicians have also failed to absorb that concept. Business here has been leaving in droves for a couple of decades. In fact, people have been leaving in droves as well - I just wish they would move further away than New Hampshire or Vermont!

Anonymous said...

Valda redfern writes: "I regard a candidate's position on abortion as a litmus test. If neither McCain nor Palin have any concept of individual rights, what will they be defending?"

It may be true that "neither McCain nor Palin have any concept of individual rights". It is also true that neither Obama or Biden have any concept of individual rights, there support for abortion (Obama is a bit squishy on this point) notwithstanding: the left's support for abortion is not at all predicated upon the principle of individual rights. Rather, the left views abortion as a corollary of GROUP rights specifically applying to women.

Shran said...

It's not entirely accurate to say that Sarah Palin levied a windfall profits tax on oil companies. The oil in Alaska is collectively "owned" by the citizens. The oil companies buy it from the state. When the market price of oil went up, Sarah Palin merely raised the price of the crude to the oil companies, just as the oil companies raised their prices to the market. Personally I like Alaska's method of financing the state government. Let the government have a monopoly on a natural resource or commodity and use the proceeds to pay for the legitimate functions of the state, and return any surplus to the citizens.