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Ross to the Rescue

Writing on the Atlantic blog, Ross Douthat (how’d he get to good at so young an age anyway?) makes the case for Palin amidst the number of conservative voices (Heather MacDonald, Charles Krauthammer, etc) who dislike the pick. Sample:

McCain is running for the Presidency at a time when the Republican brand is in the toilet, with a party that seems unable to excite its hard-core supporters or woo swing voters, and a leadership - McCain included - that gets the heebie-jeebies when called upon to discuss any topic save terrorism, 9/11 and the Surge. Even if by some Jeremiah Wright-aided miracle he edges out Barack Obama, he’ll limp into the White House as a John Major-in-the-making - an aging politician who won an election that belonged by rights to the other party, facing Democratic majorities in both houses, a media that will be primed to treat Senators Obama and Clinton as the default co-Presidents for the next four years, and a conservative base that’s just waiting for an opportunity to turn on him. Does this sound like a recipe for a successful Presidency? And if it isn’t, wouldn’t it be better for McCain, who at present seems like the last candidate of a fading party and a dying generation, to sweep into Washington with a popular, dynamic, female politician as his junior partner, rather than a dull white male like Ridge or a Romney or a Pawlenty? And wouldn’t it be better, frankly, for America as well?

As the saying goes, RTWT.

Discussions - 11 Comments

I'm having trouble figuring out why McCain is the underdog who'll need a miracle to win when for weeks now the polls have shown the race to be neck-and-neck. Could somebody 'splain it to me? If it's because this is "suppposed" to be a Democratic year... well, that attitude is probably the easiest way for the Democrats to ensure a loss.

Well, I suppose you should begin by rethinking exactly why you listen to polls at all. I mean, your own blog makes it seems as though you despise the influence of that always-predatory "liberal media," but it's this same media utilizing the polls you cite in order to pull you in . . . and that's why polls exist (well, that and to treat citizens as mere consumers, making ambiguous the differences between the two (which works to destroy the former while reinforcing the latter) . . . and to utilize the opinions of the few to throw in the face of the many so as to get a particular response - and to actually shape public opinion with a small sample of the public's opinion . . . and to verify the televisual success of the televisual medium itself).

If you say so.

Yeah. I'm probably way off.

McCain has reached down into the second tier of the Republican Party to pick a woman of enormous potential - a Margaret Thatcher with Ronald Reagan's charm. No matter who wins in November, Palin - provided she handles herself well - will be on the fast track to the presidential nomination in 2012.

Douthat is right. The top tier of the Republican Party is composed of compromised mediocrities who have failed conservatives. We are tired of dutifully voting for them because the Democrats are even worse.

The John Major scenario is very well taken. IF McCain wins, he is still going to face a very Democratic Congress. The only way McCain could possibly get that Congress to pass any conservative reformist laws would be to clearly and powerfully rally the public for expanded oil drilling and regulatory reform for nuclear power, and or free market health care reforms. Otherwise McCain's term will just be stalemate puntuated by comromise on Nancy Pelosi's terms. I'm sceptical of a President McCain's ability to rally the public to his presidential domestic policy (heck I'm not even sure about the strength of his inclination), but McCain has already pleasantly surprised me several times this year.

Palin might help him become President but whether McCain has a dynamic term of office is entirely dependent on McCain not Palin. If he has a listless domestic policy, the Republican party will seemed old and tired regardless of anything Palin might do.

One thing Palin does do is that it reminds the public that the GOP is not just the party of the over-the-hill and the mediocre. In the 90s, the Republicans produced a huge crop of fresh reformist politicians. There was Thompson in Wisconsin, Engler in Michigan, Weld in Massachusetts, Giuliani in NYC, The Bush boys in Texas and Florida. In Congress you had guys like Gingrich, Ashcroft and Spence Abraham pushing a reform agenda. They had vaious degrees of success but there was an enormous energy and creatvity there. Today they mostly seem like burnt out cases. Giuliani spent the primary campaign recounting his (spectacular) succeses in New York but they somehow seemed irrelevant to today's problems. It was like watching an old line New Deal politician continuing to hit the same Social Security/Unemployment Insurance/WPA notes to a late 1960s audience. He jus seemed to be running in the wrong decade. From his pitiful primary campaign, you would never had guessed that Tommy Thompson used to be one of the most creative politicians in the country. Most of the rest of the 90s reformist conservatives are out of office and their issues seem to have been resolved in the public mind. So what does that leave us? Old men like McCain and cynical trimmers like Romney or retreads from the past. The leader of the House Republicans is a hack named Boehner and the Senate Republican leader - while much better - lacks all charisma.

Over on National Review, Richard Brookheiser argued that conservatives had fallen in love with Palin because of how her biography flattered conservative lifestyle preferences. That her moose hunting, Downs Syndrome bearing past made conservatives mindlessly rally to her in the same way that Obama'a biography caused as certain kind of liberal to mindlessy fawn over him. I think Brookheiser is wrong. If McCain had picked Bobby Jindal, conservatives would have gotten at least as exited. And as far as I know, Jindal has never hunted moose or given birth to a special needs baby. Conservatives have fallen in love with Palin for the same reason that they want to like Jindal. Palin and Jindal point to the hope that conservative leadership can be young, bold, and reformist, not dull, old and mediocre.

Margaret Thatcher? Palin is a creationist cheerleader. A pretty face is not going to help the sinking ship of the Republicans in this election.

Check out RED STATE, which has a "Tale of the Tape" comparison between the false and fraudulent messiah, and the accomplished "naughty librarian."

I certainly agree with the disgust for mediocre, washed up, tottering, and hopelessly corrupt leadership. I'm only ambiguously and partially excluding MacCain from that category. But I'm equally disgused with for the old white guy followership with creepy Reagan nostalgia that still listens to the geriatric windbags Rush and O'Reilly. Sarah Palin might reinvigorate the party by appealing to real young people with real lives, real children, real jobs, and a real sense of civic duty. I agree that the old new, reformist Republicans were Sarah and Bobby J. In VOGUE, she says she puts her hair up and wears the schoolmarmish glasses not to be thought of as a young and very attractive woman. But she just can't get that job done. She also seems utterly fearless and unflappable, and even the MSM is starting call her charming, even charismatic. Not a Quayle. Not a Ferraro.

Quayle was a rich boy, Ferraro, in addition to being a longtime pol, wasn't perceived as an ordinary person. Sarah is so ordinary, I bet she shops at Wally World.

I'd like to think the neck-and-neck polls mean something, but I don't because the pollsters terrain has changed so dramatically with unlisted cell phones and folks who don't answer their land lines (if they have them) to avoid the salesmen.

I've just never believed that a) the youth vote would come out, even for Barry, given their track record of not even registering, b) that the over age 50 reliable-voting white folks would vote for Barry for president at all, a half-black mystery man with a Muslim name, or c) that those same folks who get squeamish about a president named Hussein would turn their backs on Mac who has a genuine reputation for straight talk and action.

Palin just enhances what I've thought all along would be Mac's win. She ensures it will be big.

"A pretty face is not going to help the sinking ship of the Republicans in this election." What evidence is there that McCain has been piloting a sinking ship?

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