From Glenn, on the monster Palin:
On the other hand, if (as isn’t clear to me) she actually wants to be President, she’ll have to learn to be Presidential. Barack Obama has had his problems in that department, too, and unlike Palin, he’s had the benefit of a desperately supportive and eager-to-please mainstream media.
Palin, on the other hand, has been royally screwed-over by that same media, and has managed to come back and beat them out again and again, from “death panels” to “blood libel.” And that engenders considerable sympathy. A musician friend of mine who’s not especially political emailed me the other day: “I don’t particularly care for Palin, but every time they do this to her, I find myself hoping she becomes President, out of pure spite.”
I understand the sentiment, but being screwed over by the media, while it may breed sympathy, isn’t a qualification for being President. Richard Jewell was royally screwed over by the media, too, but he didn’t belong in the White House because of it. if Palin is to be elected President, it’s not going to be on a sympathy vote.
But here’s what’s going on in the dance between Palin and what she calls the “lamestream” media: Every time they attack her, they wind up doing something that hurts them worse than it hurts her. She may not become President, and she may not even want to be President — though, regardless, it’s in her interest to keep everyone guessing as long as possible — but with little more than an Internet connection and Facebook she’s done more lasting harm to their position than anybody else. Last night Barack Obama threw them under the bus over the whole “rhetoric” question, just hours after she had managed to work them into a snarling frenzy with an Internet video. Even though it’s hurting them, they can’t — and I mean, literally, psychologically can’t — leave her alone. And she’s getting rich the whole time.
So I don’t know about “Presidential,” but who’s dumb, here?
This was the core of the “I’ll have more on this” I mentioned Friday; since then, I’ve run across posts elsewhere that bear on what I was intending to say — such as this, from Prof Jacobson:
Why is such an announcement necessary now, at the very moment that the conservative movement is trying to fight back against the mainstream media campaign related to the Tucson shooting?
You can throw Palin under the bus if you want, but what will you do when the next candidate faces blistering false accusations which drive negatives high after a mainstream media feeding frenzy?
Why not let the political and primary process work itself out. We do not even know if Palin is running, or if she will garner enough Republican support to win.
There is an insatiable mainstream media hunger to demonize and marginalize potential Republican nominees. Feeding that beast in the wake of the Tucson shooting is not the way to win in 2012.
The issue is not Sarah Palin.
The issue is whether we will demoralize voters who would work hard to elect a Republican — even a Republican not quite to their liking — in the general election provided the primary process were viewed as fair and open.
If “she can’t win” is the means by which one of the candidates wins the Republican nomination, then we can’t win either.
No one on our side has an obligation to support Palin just because Palin has been a target of almost unbelievable hatred merely for being. Support whomever you want, and make the case for other Republican candidates, but don’t join the mob as some people did in the wake of the Tucson shooting.
Palin is not just another potential Republican candidate. Palin is someone who has endured attacks by the mainstream media, entertainment establishment, and left-blogosphere second to no one currently active in Republican politics.
Palin’s political and economic survival under this assault is why Palin’s supporters in the Republican Party are more motivated than those of any other potential candidate.
And it is why people like me, who currently are open-minded as to the field of potential candidates in the absence of knowing who will run, will not support any Republican candidate during the primaries who attacks Palin.
Now, a good one from Billy Hollis:
I am impressed, though, with her intuition, her courage, and her resilience. She absolutely refuses to be intimidated by the usual post-modern, politically-correct leftist BS. She absorbs anything the self-righteous Olbermann types can throw at her, laughs it off, and “punches back twice as hard”, to follow the advice of a well-known leftist.
The constant, withering attacks from legacy media do cause some damage to her image, according to various surveys and polls. However, she has a core group that regards every such attack as proof that she’s right. These folks have been looking for someone of consequence to tell the left-leaning media to pi$$ up a rope for a long time. The fact that it’s a woman doing it just adds to the frisson.
Of course, there’s a core group on the left that regards her as beneath contempt and laps up everything the legacy media hands out. They are joined by the pusillanimous establishment Republican types who still quiver in fear that the Washington Post might say something negative about them, and go into a fan-waving fainting spell when they see someone with enough self-confidence and guts to not give a whit what the lefties at the Post think.
Both groups attack her regularly. Amazingly, though, after the attacks die down and Palin gets back to her tweets and Facebook postings, the damage seems to dissipate. Her unfavorable numbers oscillate around, but the key is that they do oscillate; they don’t go negative and stay there. Plus, the more illogical and mean-spirited attacks sometimes have the opposite effect of damaging the attackers and helping Palin.
So my message to those on the right who are not especially enamored of Palin is this: you need her. She’s the tank on the team. The leftist monster must be slain.***
I’m not the only one thinking along these lines, of course. I first mentioned the tank comparison in a comment at Legal Insurrection last week, and William Jacobson seems to be on the same general page in his post yesterday. This is just my way of explaining why we need her, even if we don’t think she’s perfect.
I have no idea what her chances to become president are, and at this point it’s too early to care. She’s certainly not my top choice, but she comes in well ahead of Mitt “Plastic Fantastic” Romney. (Mike “Worst of Both Worlds” Huckabee isn’t even on the list; if the GOP is stupid enough to nominate him, they might as well prepare for a third party).
As long as she’s highlighting the dishonesty and mendacity of the left, the overall bias of the media, and the cowardice and privilege-protecting mewling of the establishment GOP, she has my support. It will take a team to do what has to be done, and we need a tank. She’s the best one we have right now.
Those who really don’t quite get Palin’s support among a whole lot of people — and who sincerely want to try to understand it, as opposed to deriding or mocking it — don’t need to look a whole lot further than the Lincoln quote in Muir’s Day By Day a couple of days ago: She fights. She says what she believes without embarrassment, self-consciousness, apology, or timidity. What she says, a great many of us agree with. She speaks mostly to the kind of larger-issue, macro-not-micro themes that a lot of us want to hear addressed, particularly from higher leadership. And sure enough, we cannot spare her. The great tragedy with Republicans in this age is that she’s pretty much one of a kind.
A lot of people, particularly the Beltway-insider crowd mentioned by both Jacobson and Hollis, insist that she needs to start getting down and dirty with specific policy proposals, and maybe there’s some truth to it. But I wouldn’t want her to allow herself to become bogged down in futile pedantry via some hostile newstalker, quibbling over whether it’s more essential to cut 2.3 billion or 3.2 billion from one alphabet-soup bureaucracy or another, to the detriment of sustained focus on her larger themes: freedom, limited government, the inherent superiority of capitalism over a federally-managed economy, and the critical importance of a strong national defense.
A lot of people, myself included, like Palin because she represents our views with vigor and without compromise. Speaking for myself, I was dismayed to read that she was considering another attempt at courting the liberal media; it’s pointless, and accomplishes nothing but prolonging their day of reckoning by lending them a credibility they long ago abandoned.I don’t see any reason in the world for a conservative to bother with them: conservatives will never be granted a fair hearing by them; they will always be attacked by them via underhanded means. Liberal-advocacy “journalists” will always do everything they can to hide heir bias while sneakily indulging it to the fullest extent they think they can get away with.
There are many more-credible alternatives for getting one’s message out, and the more support they receive from folks like Palin, the quicker the old, established liberal institutions will crumble into dusty irrelevance. People like Couric and Lauer and Amanpour are not harmless, honest, even-handed purveyors of information; they are advocates, particularly unscrupulous and devious ones.
A lot of people know that. They know they have a lot more in common with Palin than they ever will with Couric. They know that liberal-media “journalists” are horrified by the very idea that a woman like Palin even exists. They know from whence a good bit of Lefty discomfort with and resentment for Palin really comes: many, maybe most, elitist liberals left home for big urban centers mostly to escape from the supposedly strangling embrace of their bourgeois suburban parents — the kind of boring, upright people that Palin reminds them of all too uncomfortably.
Palin is a little too close to home for liberals, and a lot like home for middle-American conservatives. Reflexive liberal hatred for her will never abate; her every utterance stokes the fires of the adolescent resentment that cramps their souls and keeps them in thrall to the snotty Left mutiny that, to them, represents true freedom.
Palin might or might not be the best choice for the GOP 2012 presidential nomination; it’s way too early to tell about that, and the current to-and-fro amounts to political onanism on the part of people who really need to step away from the op-ed circle-jerk now and then and get out more. But she’s certainly providing us not only with a strong, stalwart spokesperson for limited-government conservatism, but with some fine entertainment, as we watch one of the uglier aspects of arrested development reveal itself again and again. To paraphrase Lincoln once more: we cannot spare this woman.
Update! Here’s a link to the DBD cartoon mentioned above. Don’t know why I didn’t think of including it before.