Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Outsider Cred

Here’s why I think Palin works (unless she commits a blunder): I subscribe to the simple theory that outsider candidates--the candidates who run against Washington--do better than insiders. This is one exogenous reason why governors (Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush) do better than senators, the ultimate insiders.

This election was a bit odd: both candidates, as senators, bear the Scarlet "I" of Washington insiders, but both have a plausible claim to outsider status--McCain because of his maverick and reformist ways, and Obama because of his fresh face and newness in town. But his outsider cred is a bit suspect, and his pick of Biden smacks of the old politics. Palin reinforces McCain’s outsider cred in a way that Kay Bailey What’s Her Name wouldn’t have.

Add this, by the way, from Camille Paglia, as quoted in the London Times: “We may be seeing the first woman president. As a Democrat, I am reeling,” said Camille Paglia, the cultural critic. “That was the best political speech I have ever seen delivered by an American woman politician. Palin is as tough as nails.”

Discussions - 22 Comments

Steve, forget Washington insider versus outsider. The question to ask is does she come across as sincere?

Better still, ask, does she come across as sincere when compared to the Messiah and his palavering apostle?

I'm betting you already know the answer.

The initial appeal of Obama was his outsiderness. He seemed like a fresh new thing. One reason his appeal might wear is that once we get past his rhetoric, his policies and promises sound like the same old thing. Choosing Biden tied him to experience, which he must have felt,(or his handlers and friends must felt) he needed. Biden seems safe and comforting as an old uncle to Democrats I know. That choice was intended to make Obama's policies seem like a dream and more like political possibility. Old Joe will see things get done right and see the dream made reality. Isn't that the impression the coupling is supposed to evoke?

Palin is something else. I hope, with her freshness, she can take what is ahead. Our whole church rose up to pray for her this morning, in a spontaneous gesture at the mention of her name. Actually, her name was not even mentioned; some guy stood up and said, "God bless the new candidate, who...." and people were on their feet. The good will, the sincere hope that she can pull this off, was in every word of open prayer. I have not seen this before and was impressed.

So, Cas Balicki, I would say that at the moment Sarah Palin is received by folk in the hinterland as sincere. Somehow, sincere and fresh, she's going to have be awfully sharp, too. Don't we just hope she's got that?

Does it make anyone else cringe that the way to win American elections (and increasingly elsewhere in the "industrialized, modern" world) is to create a particular kind of spectacle better than one's opponent?

There's a great deal of overestimation of the role that Biden will play supposedly "dragging down" the false messiah.

I don't think that Obama truly cost himself any Electoral College votes by tapping Biden, despite Biden being a consumate insider.

Obama is going to cost Obama votes. And Biden is going to be running around trying his best to put one finger after another into the holes in the dikes that Obama just created.

Biden's task throughout this campaign is to cover a multitude of Obama's multicultural sins.

Picture it this way, real American Joe riding to the rescue of a guy who doesn't quite know what, or who, he is, {hence the ever growing Greek chorus of "mentors," Joe himself being but the latest}.

All of Joe's acquired skills at deception will be needed to pull off such a Herculean task. But if anybody can pull that ambiguous "American" over the finish line to victory, if anyone in that party other than Clinton could do it, ---------------- it's Joe Biden, Senior Senator of The First State.

Hillary's staff noted well what they termed "an American deficit" in Obama's soul. But in as much as they were fighting for the Democrat nomination, ---------- such a "deficit" couldn't be taken advantage of. But now Barrack Hussein Obama is in the general, and continually pointing out how "different" he is from "those" on "the dollar bill" will only get him so far.

EVERYBODY needs to remember that the ONLY reason he's even in the U.S. Senate at all is because his creepy little minions got Jerri Ryan's divorce complaint unsealed. Without that, Obama wouldn't even have beaten Ryan, --------------- and that was Illinois!

So Steve, be wary of overthinking the situation.

What is the gut reaction, the visceral take of the American people of the two candidates?

We have on the one hand Barrack Hussein Obama, a portrait in studied, and multicultural ambiguity.

On the other hand we have former Naval Aviator John McCain, who still has a healthy amount of "flight suit attitude" all about him.

Now who would you lay money on?

Kate, a whole church rising to pray for Palin only proves my instincts about her are on the money. In politics, you can fake everything save sincerity. By that I don't mean to imply that this is all Palin has to offer, not by a long shot. But most folks do not vote the insincerity ticket, at least not unless they are deceived, terminally partisan, or on the 'make' in some way.

As for Matt descrying political spectacle, the only difference between us and our forebears is that we play our spectacle out on the TV in an age when the 24 hour news cycle is everything. The question to ask here is what effect would television have had on Socrates? Would the old boy, before doing himself in, have done Lary King Live, taken calls from Sparta, maybe even left a video testament to be used by anti-hemlock militants had he had our modern conveniences? This post, of course, says nothing about the kinky potential of Jerry Springer going to air with Oedipus Rex. A ratings buster if there ever was one. I can just hear Jerry's opening question, How's your mum? followed up by, you must have done it a lot, cuz you're soooo blind? Maybe, Oprah could interview Mrs. Rex?

(Sung to the tune of Davy Crockett)

Born in the northern part of Idaho,
Destined for fame, she just didn’t know.
Learned to hunt and fish, even in the snow,
Never was one to just go with the flow

Sarah, Sarah Palin,
lady from “The Last Frontier.”

Moved to the North before she was one,
Landed in the “Land of the Midnight Sun.”
Beautiful and strong, she likes to have fun,
She always works hard, but her work is never done.

Sarah, Sarah Palin,
lady from “The Last Frontier.”

With her five kids and a man named Todd,
They carved out a life eatin’ moose and cod.
Alaska had some waste and a lot of fraud,
So she went to work and laid down her fishin’ rod.

Sarah, Sarah Palin,
lady from “The Last Frontier.”

Matt you don't seriously mean to tell me that you believe that there is something to politics other than spectacle..."All of life is but a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages."

Come on Matt, you can sing: "Sarah, Sarah Palin lady from the last frontier"...take it from the top: "Born in the nothern' part of Idaho..."

But notice what happens if you get serious about the song, here we have Davy Crockett the rugged male hero being replaced by a woman. We have the damn state of Alaska represented in tought by Ice Road Truckers and Dangerous Catch being shown up by a librarian who is tough as nails and fixin' to become VP. Damn women take all the college degrees leave the men with the dirty work, and then replace them in ballads. Camille Paglia is happy because this election assuming it is won by the democrats or the republicans helps cemment the end of the white male power structure. It is over, the old white guy heads up the republican ticket and takes second string on the democrat one. The fresh movers and shakers are a black man and a white woman. Assuming that some level of sexism and racism is rational, it makes more sense to be sexist, if only because Obama actually isn't as representative of black folks as a whole as Palin is of women. I suppose if you are a musician annoyed with rap music you may feel differently, but it is precisely the overspending on rims, speakers, and bling fueled on by the rap culture that keeps the black man down thus negating the threat. Racists who fear that blacks would follow the good example of Obama and thus become powerful are being rather silly. Can Barack Obama really overcome all the negative/ill suited to modernity aspects that keep the black man down? Technically I suppose it would be possible to be racist and desire what is best for blacks up to the point where they become viable threats. On the other hand sexism is much more of a rational viewpoint. Women are surpasing men on all sorts of barometers and thus constitute a real threat. It is probably too late to que up the sexist for Obama before republicans do what democrats or legions of feminist couldn't achieve overtly namely the androgyny of Davy Crockett.

With a calm, collected and "Harvadized" black man running against a vocal gun totting woman...but I recon it will take sports illustrated comming out with the male swimsuit edition before folks realize that the apocalypse(end of history) is upon us.

Lets be clear the more republican or conservative the woman is, the more of an affront she presents to gender steriotypes. In this sense Ann Coulter is appreaciated by the same feminist who likes pirate stories. It is just another way to point out that sexual steriotypes are innacurate, thus useless, thus dead.

So come on Matt, sing with Paglia: "Born in the northern part of Idaho..."

I'll keep defending Palin--It's an easy thing to do. But I think it is gonna get tough, due to the prejudices of what the opinion makers think the VP office requires. I'm not even sure if Kate's prayers can make it happen.

Luckily Biden is the VP opponent. A man who plagiarized at Syracuse University in order to get his law degree. I suppose that is all-American, if we are to accept the canard that all people cheated their way to the top. No--it only happens to be true for Biden.

Of course we all know the emptiness of the top of the ticket. If only he had listened to the dean of U Chicago Law School where he taught with absolutely no credentials or qualifications. He would simply be an overrated professor instead of president.

In addition, if I lived in a world that accomodated to any of my desires, then I would wish Camille Paglia was a person whom one did not defer to for any buttressing of opinion.

She is certainly encyclopediac in her knowledge, but she thinks that Madonna's transmogrifications are serious indicators of what is what.

Give me a break! Madonna is an idiot, and so is Cagp;fubwvuwdkjiwbrv!

I know I sleep well at night knowing Palin is 'commander' of the Alaska national guard. Just knowing her perky voice is ready to suggest lilting commands, her pantsuits are poised for action, and that she has a son in the military qualifies her for commander in chief, gives me all the confidence I need to face the 'transcendent' crisis of the 21st century, radical islamic extremism. That, and knowing that churches full of lemmings pray for republican candidates, steels me against the coming night. God bless america!

I'll remember this post the next time Mr. Lewis gives us a Hegel dissertation. His consciousness is from television, and by television. Maybe the theme song from the Munsters will enlightenment us on the republican platform. As for Palin, the media will soon be all over her pipeline deal, one of only 2 pieces of legislation she passed as governor. It was major league corporate welfare for Big Oil, with the state picking up treble damages for a pipeline that doesn't even have its endpoint in the U.S. That means no guarantee the oil goes to americans. Of course very little alaskan oil goes to americans now. The pipeline deal is also packed with billions in federal loan guarantees. You would know this if your knowledge of alaska did not come from tv shows like ice truckers and dangerous catch.

A huge percentage of americans are against the war and think that the country is moving in the wrong direction. All the dems need to do is circulate how Palin is against abortion rights even in the case of rape. The vast majority of americans do not support that view. As Weston put it, that is like a rapist bill of rights, where the rapist gets to choose which woman will bear his child. Palin is about as reformist a candidate as Trent Lott.

I was also at the American Political Science Association Meeting in Boston when the Palin announcement was made. All 100 conservative Political Scientists seemed pleased; all 6,900 liberals were at best nonplussed, at worst, saying things like this, overheard by your writer at the Brookings Institution's booth in the Exhibit Hall Saturday morning:

Unknown female speaking, and I paraphrase: "She's going to hurt McCain because now he can't use Obama's inexperience."

She's neglecting a "special needs child."

They can't have vetted her thoroughly, and she's a beauty queen. There's probably all kinds of compromising videos of her all over the internet." (Note: we've seen the "I may be broke but I'm not flat busted t-shirt"--pretty risque, eh? How do you get elected and re-elected to local government offices in a small town without everything coming out? Liberals do not live in the real America.)

"Wacked out right wingers won't vote for her because she should be home with the children."

Before my stroll past the interesting conversation at the Brookings Institution Booth, I had a conversation with one of the 6,900 nonconservative political scientists who told me that all his acquaintances were appalled at the nomination of Palin and thought it was a disaster. He did admit that they were all Democrats.

Best line I heard at the APSA meeting: Palin is the human bridge to nowhere.


Regardless of the rumors circulating about Palin being Trig's grandmother, it seems Palin has admitted that her 17-year old daughter is currently pregnant. How's this going to play for abstinence-only education?

Ren, I love this phrase “. . .churches full of lemmings . . .” You know of course that there is some serious scientific dispute over the issue of lemming mass suicide; the buggers may not actually kill themselves. But, that’s not why I love the phrase. I love it because is shows a disconnect between what you would consider religious congregations and political congregations. Hate to break it to you, ren, but the only difference between these congregants is what they call their ‘creed.’ In a political party the creed, Nicene or otherwise, is more commonly referred to as a platform. You know what a platform is don’t you? It’s a commonly held set of beliefs and ambitions. And any set of commonly held beliefs and principles is not that different from a religious creed. Your comments indicate that you have drunk some flavour of Kool-aid, it may be a different flavour than that imbibed by those poor religious schmucks you call lemmings, but there is no question you've been dipping into the smiling pitcher, Bud. Oh! And don’t tee off on me because religions operate on ‘Faith-based’ principles, because there is no greater demand for faith placed on political man than some of the tenets enshrined in some political platforms.

Click on the link from anon and read Sarah's hugely classy response on her daughter's pregnancy. Again, she's dealing well as a real-life mom. Kids really do make mistakes sometimes and have to grow up quickly, and their loving parents support them and help them do what's right. The "rumors" are ridiculous, if only because it's older moms that are far more likely to have Down syndrome kids. I also heard the "regular" political scientists sayng all sorts of stupid and inappropriate things about her--the kind of stuff Obama himself has been classy and savvy enough to shut down completely.

Palin's was, no doubt, a classy response. But she's set to become a grandmother sometime between the November election and inauguration. Those insisting that Trig needs her will have to admit that Bristol will need her guidance nearly as much. I thought that Bristol looked unhappy during her acceptance speech; turns out she was preparing to be publicly shamed. Red Staters are surely familiar with the reality of teenage pregnancy, and early marriages in many parts are not uncommon, but some will likely assume that her pregnancy is owed to a lack of parental supervision--I fear that this is going to push women back as political representatives. It drives home that one's own fertility is not the only liability when seeking public office. I really had hoped that Palin represented a post-feminist position, but that is no longer clear. I think the vast majority of parents would prefer that their children contracept if they're going to engage in extramarital sexual activity; I think this revelation may seriously put a damper on the independent women McCain was trying to sway.

It turns out that the UK Times article is great. Her husband made $93K last year doing real work! And the family probably really needed it, although not in any pathetic or whiny sort of way.

Ah! Alaska, where men are men and women win the Iditarod.

The only thing to add is that at least now the election is a race. It may not be a horse race, though.

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