Some of the elite conservative punditry have a problem with Sarah. I have a problem with them. by Phil Manger
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Much of the elite conservative punditry, those well-bred and well-paid right-wing columnists who write for the upscale opinion journals and the opinion pages of the "big" newspapers, have been having a field day this election season reminding us of the alleged shortcomings of Gov. Sarah Palin.
George Will is only the latest of the breed to join in this gleeful piling-on. On Thursday, in a column in The Washington Post (" Call Him John the Careless"), Will chastised Sen. McCain for his "carelessness" in choosing Palin as his running mate:
Did McCain, who seems to think that Palin's never having attended a "Georgetown cocktail party " is sufficient qualification for the vice presidency, lift an eyebrow when she said that vice presidents "are in charge of the United States Senate "? She may have been tailoring her narrative to her audience of third-graders, who do not know that vice presidents have no constitutional function in the Senate other than to cast tie-breaking votes.
And I thought our schools were failing. I'm relieved to learn that third-graders, "who do not know" that the "only" function of the vice president is to break ties in the Senate know more about the constitutional duties of the office than Mr. Will — he, with his Princeton Ph.D., who does attend Georgetown cocktail parties.
As a matter of fact, here is what the Constitution says about the office of vice president:
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
President of the Senate? That sounds like the vice president is "in charge". Senators have no power to bar the vice president from the Senate or prevent her from presiding. And in that capacity, she could set the agenda, decide whom to recognize and whom not to recognize, and what motions to permit to come to a vote. True, the rulings of the chair could be challenged and overturned. But if the vice president set her mind to it, she could bring all business in the Senate to a grinding halt — which, come to think of it, might not be such a bad idea.
The elitist conservative trashing of Sarah Palin started the very day McCain announced her as his running mate. A former Bush speechwriter, the neoconservative David Frum, threw out the first smear, characterizing Palin as an "untested small-town mayor" — as if she had never been chair of Alaska's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission or governor of the state. This was quickly picked up by Obama supporters who described Palin as a "small-town mayor" every time they mentioned her name.
Soon other pundits from the Right chimed in: Peggy Noonan, a former Reagan speechwriter, called the Palin pick "bullshit" (when she thought people weren't listening — later she went public with her denunciations of Palin); David Brooks, a New York Times columnist, labeled Palin a "cancer" on the Republican Party; Kathleen Parker demanded that Palin resign from the ticket; Christopher Hitchens went David Frum one better and characterized Palin as "the former Miss Wasilla", not even giving her credit for serving as city councilwoman and mayor; and Christopher Buckley, son of the late William F. Buckley Jr., who inherited not only his father's looks, but also his arrogance and pretentious writing style — he went all the way: Palin was so bad ("an embarrassment, and a dangerous one at that") he endorsed Obama.
I got to thinking about all this, because their arguments don't make any sense. They all damn Sarah Palin for her alleged ineptitude, incompetence and lack of experience, while extolling Obama's supposed virtues, particularly, to quote Buckley (who actually stole the phrase, without attribution, from Charles Krauthammer), his "first-class temperament and first-class intellect".
But Palin has an outstanding record of both personal accomplishment and consistent adherence to the conservative principles these columnists claim to believe in. She has managed a business, a city, a regulatory commission, a state, and a family — which is a lot more than any of the other candidates for the top two offices have managed (although Biden, as a single father, did manage a family). She has overcome entrenched special interests and the leadership of her own party to cut government waste and taxes. And, at least until she began running for vice president, she had the highest approval rating of any governor in the country.
What's not to like about her? Oh yeah, there's the matter of one of her answers in the Katie Couric interview. It sounded like she was trying to get all the talking points her handlers had crammed into her head out in one sentence. No, I don't blame Couric for asking a "gotcha" question — a candidate for an office as high as the vice presidency should expect such questions (unless, of course, that candidate is Barack Obama). But I do blame the McCain campaign for trying to turn Palin into something she's not.
But Obama offers nothing beyond his "temperament" and "intellect". He has, as even George Will has admitted, "never run so much as a Dairy Queen", and all of his public pronouncements have consisted of either socialist clichés or promises of grandiose schemes that would bankrupt the country. Even while endorsing him, Buckley "secularly prays" that Obama won't keep his campaign promises.
So what are these conservative pundits thinking?
Buckley, no doubt unintentionally, provided a clue when he wrote of Obama, "As for his intellect, well, he's a Harvard man." It was that sentence that gave his game away — that, and the little Latin phrases that rather pointlessly pepper his pretentious prose. It brought back memories of something he had written 25 years ago.
In an article in Esquire titled "Viet Guilt", Buckley wrote about how, as a 19-year-old Yale student during the Vietnam War, he showed up at his draft physical armed with a letter from his physician describing a childhood asthma condition. He shuffled along, "trying to look wan and tubercular", he said. As a result, young Buckley was excused from military service, as were the vast majority of the sons of the wealthy and well-connected of that era.
Buckley wrote about his "guilt at not having participated", although from other things he said there and in interviews with Washington Post reporter Myra MacPherson for her book Long Time Passing, it sounded more like regret at having missed out on some great adventure. (You can read about one of my great "adventures" here, but it's in a newspaper archive, so you'll have to pay for it — I don't own it.)
But Buckley should have felt guilty. He was a supporter of both the war in Vietnam and the military draft, and was still supporting the draft and foreign military adventures when he was interviewed by MacPherson in 1984. He had no problem with sending young men and women off to pointless wars as long as he wasn't one of them.
So what did Buckley do to try to assuage his faux guilt? Says MacPherson: "Buckley made a few halfhearted attempts to do something for veterans by trying to volunteer at the VA, but seemed to view the veterans as largely in need of remedial help. 'I offered to teach English or writing or something mildly useful.'"
Nothing Jane Fonda ever said or did made me quite as angry as that statement. It distills the very essence of the arrogance, self-importance, and sense of intellectual and moral superiority that characterizes members of the cultural elite to which Buckley and his fellow pundits belong. I, as well as most other veterans, never faulted anyone for not going to Vietnam. But we also don't like being patronized by those who didn't go. To me, Buckley's message was loud and clear: only the stupid, uneducated and unsophisticated got sent to Vietnam. People like himself, those with a "first-class temperament and first-class intellect", did not get sent.
And there you have it. That is why Buckley and his fellow pundits despise Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin is University of Idaho; Chris Buckley is Yale. Sarah Palin's son is an infantryman serving in Iraq; Chris Buckley dodged the draft during the Vietnam war. Sarah Palin has embraced her special needs child; Chris Buckley refuses to have anything to do with his. Sarah Palin is the Alaska outback and small-town America; Chris Buckley is Greenwich, the Upper East Side and Georgetown. How dare one of the great unwashed, the graduate of a lowly state university — a woman married to an oil rig worker, for Christ's sake! — aspire to the second highest office in the land?
Doesn't she know those positions are reserved for the elite?
Did you like this article? If you did, Thumb It! 23
thumbs so far
The views expressed
in this article are those of Phil Manger only and
do not represent the views of Nolan Chart, LLC or its affiliates.
Phil Manger is solely responsible for the contents
of this article and is not an employee or otherwise affiliated
with Nolan Chart, LLC in his/her role as a columnist.
Oh I understand now. Anyone who disagrees with the Republican base is an elitist. First it was knowledgeable, Harvard educated candidates who graduated at or near the top of their class through hard work and study. But now its knowledgeable writers.
To be accepted by the base you have to live in a small town and write for a small paper and not have attended an exclusive (academically) institution of higher learning or not achieved academic notoriety.
You have to be dumb enough to say you read everything or graduate at or near the bottom of your class.
That is why McCain is only leading among non-college educated white men.
For those of you who can't quite see the forest for the trees, here are a few points to sharpen your vision regarding the illustrious Sarah Palin as compared with Obama who offers nothing beyond his temperament and intellect ~ or so you say:
Look at these credentials before you write off Obama as someone who doesn't know what he's doing:
1) Barack Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School where he served as president of the Harvard Law Review. He also taught CONSTITUTIONAL LAW at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. Sarah Palin limped through college, finally graduating from the University of Idaho with a BA in Communications.
2) Barack Obama has been scrutinized by magazines, newspapers, radio and tv commentators, other candidates, his opposition, political blogs, and the news media for more than 20 months. Books have been written both about him and by him, innumerable articles and feature stories have covered every aspect of his life and his family so that he has been thoroughly analyzed, discussed, and investigated. Sarah Palin has not.
3) Barack Obama has been in 26 national debates, televised and broadcast by very capable questioners, he toured all 50 states and several special provinces as he went through 53 primary elections so that his views on every issue that someone wanted to question him about were analyzed, discussed, and vetted. Sarah Palin has not.
4) Barack Obama has put forth very detailed, comprehensive, specific programs on 26 different subjects from energy to poverty to the (so-called) war in Iraq on his website and through various public releases. He discusses each program in detail, and spells out how it will be funded. Sarah Palin has not.
5) Barack Obama has attracted and recruited very highly-respected and capable people to assist him in running for office and to serve in his administration when he is elected. These are people with a great depth of understanding and expertise about every subject that he will face as President, both men and women. Sarah Palin has not.
6) Barack Obama has energized new and traditional voters to contribute more money to his campaign than any politician in history, which indicatestheir support, confidence, and desire to have him serve as our chief executive. Sarah Palin has not.
7) Barack Obama has met with foreign leaders, military leaders, business professionals, and Congressional leaders about our country's most troubling problems. He has discussed these issues with them, and offered his opinions as to how to improve them. Sarah Palin has not.
8) Barack Obama, as a member of the US Senate, has had to review spending priorities, budget allocations, and government policies for every kind of national issue from healthcare to bank reform to the (so-called) war in Iraq. He has been on committees that have studied these issues, and has heard testimony from those who have been called to Congress. Sarah Palin has not.
And, perhaps even more important than these other items,
9) Barack Obama has NOT voted for, or supported, the extreme right positions of the Republican party regarding such issues as abortion, gay rights, stem cell research, original intent of Supreme Court justices, gun control legislation, tax give-aways to the rich, and the (so-called) war in Iraq. But Sarah Palin HAS!
I shudder, personally, to think of an ex-beauty queen, an ex-sportscaster, and a communications major stepping in to take over the Presidency should the President die. And, at John McCain's age, and with his medical history and personal military history, the likelihood of him making it through four years of the Presidency is -- it seems to me -- very unlikely.
I wonder how many world leaders Sarah Palin can even name? I wonder what her plan for the middle-east is? And, I wonder -- I actually shudder -- how she could stand up to the Russians when the US tries to put missiles in Poland?
As an added bonus, maybe some consultant should come in and help her do something with that cheerleader/legal secretary hairdo she has. All she's missing are a couple of pencils to put in it. If she's going to be a top executive, at least she should try to look like one.
Palin may not be perfect, but I’d trust her more then the other three: Obama (the aspiring communists), Biden (the socialist), and McCain (the liberal). There’s a reason the leftists and neocons are so afraid of her, and more importantly, what she represents: the patriotic values for which this country was founded upon—things like individual liberty and freedom from the tyranny of big government—the opposite of socialism.
"I shudder, personally, to think of an ex-beauty queen, an ex-sportscaster, and a communications major stepping in to take over the Presidency should the President die."
Which makes my point. The Palin-haters are snobs, and so are you. Ronald Reagan, one of the most effective Presidents in history, and certainly the most effective since World War II, is an ex-sportscaster, ex-actor, and a graduate of a small, church-related liberal arts college. George W. Bush, for whom I'm sure you have no love (neither do I), is a graduate of Yale and the Harvard Business School.
Reagan was the BIGGEST LIAR and MASTER ACTOR of all! He gave the appearance of wanting to help EVERYONE, but spread the difference between the HAVES and HAVE NOTS greater than anyone ever has.
Reagan had no qualifications except that he was LIKABLE. He gave the appearance of calm and wit and patience ~ all of which resulted from his acting skills. His solution to inflation was a deep and lingering RECESSION. His solution to international problems was IRAN-CONTRA. His solution to deficits was to revise the methods of MEASUREMENT. His solution to drug problems was the WAR ON DRUGS. His solution to combatting the Russians was STAR WARS!
Come on. Reagan is the ROYAL MYTH of conservatives, and the LASTING DREAD of those who watched their jobs leave the country.
Palin is an EXTREMELY CONSERVATIVE, BIBLE-THUMPING, INTERNATIONALLY IGNORANT, UNCOMPROMISING, UNINFORMED, UNAPOLOGETIC CHEERLEADER! Rah! Rah! For OUR side, she'll chant, while the score rolls up for the OTHER TEAM.
Cheerleaders NEVER stop cheering for their team. Even when they've got a LOSING RECORD, a TERRIBLE COACH, and players who couldn't WIN A GAME if they had no opposition.
Just let her put some pencils in her hair, and take NOTES about how the WORLD works. She might be the only VP worse than Cheney!
Republicans are now talking these points. I love Blue Grass and mountain music. I love the culture that made people such as Johnnie Cash, and Loretta Lynn. They were folksy and creative, and gave back to America and the world beyond what they received. Palin is also folksy, but speaks from an empty bowl, she has zero wisdom other then very tiny sound bites voice projected with the sound of a witch from “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Remember that witch?Palin instead of giving back to the United States and Americans after using socialized benefits from union wages of her husband to student loans for college she is taking from Americans. Yes she inflated expense accounts. as Governor of Alaska. She would make ENRON proud of her creative accounting.
Nothing about this woman has anything to do with service to Alaskan people or the United States. It is all about Sarah Palin, and politics of an empy bowl.
Call me an elitist, but I gave up on Sarah Palin after the vice-presidential debate. Seeing her stick to her canned answers, plus her shameless attempt to flirt with the male audience, reminded me of a poorly-rehearsed contestant first-timer in a beauty contest.
But that was only the straw that broke the camel's back. Having seen, by my own research, how she constantly and her campaign constantly misrepresented her record -- from the Bridge to Nowhere (which she campaigned for, and cancelled only when Washington wouldn't fork over more money), to the gas pipleline she championed (on which construction hasn't started, but which has already cost taxpayers a half-billion because private investors won't touch it), to minor matters like selling the governor's jet on eBay at a profit -- made me realize that one cannot believe a word the lady says.
Posted By: Gordon the Plumber
Date: 2008-11-03 13:55:43
You have got to be kidding. This is a woman who *doesn't even know what the First Amendment is for*! Seriously. Not only is Palin *obviously* way out of her depth, her performance as governor of Alaska should be enough to derail any talk of her "experience". Her willingness to hypocritically frame Obama as a "Socialist" having herself "shared the wealth" of the oil companies in her state in the most literal way possible is *despicable*. She frames great swaths of the nation as "UnAmerican", yet she's married to a man who was a member of a *separatist* party, the AIP. She spoke to them *this year*, telling them to keep up the good work". She carries on about Obama "palling around with terrorists" and she *is married to one*! Should I mention McCain's good friend G. Gordon Liddy? Would it make any difference at all?
Palin is less qualified for the job of VP or (God forbid) President than most school children. She is a zealot, a hypocrite, a liar and a power hungry lunatic with no moral compass.
She should form her own party, have her faithful all move to Alaska, and then her and the "First Dude" could realize his dream of seceding from the US. They could then rule Palinistan aith an iron fist as the Royal Couple. The author could be their propaganda minister.
It seems to me that what the country needs is more elitism. After all, if we are going to continue spouting off about how great America is then shouldn't we back it up with actual facts? Is it wrong to expect the leaders of our nation to be the best and the brightest? wouldn't we expect the CEO of a successful corporation to be qualified for the job? The answer should be a resounding Yes! Why then are we content to settle for a Governor of a state with a population just slightly larger than that of Oklahoma City with a journalism degree. Palin has shown her ignorance of even the most rudimentary concepts of government and the Constitution. If you insist on a Neocon in the White House, perhaps Alan Keyes would have been a better choice. He has the education, the experience and the social conservative credentials...but he is black. Yes folks, all of this anti-Obama rhetoric, the questions of patriotism and loyalty, the accusations of Atheism and Islamism boils down to one thing. Obama isn't like us, he is an outsider (He's BLACK)
While I am certainly not an Obama supporter (Black or White he's RED all over) Sarah Palin is certainly deserving of the criticism. The GOP has failed, they will lose the election because they cling to candidates that are all style and no substance, and frankly the Democrats have already cornered the market on that tactic.