The Fascinating Palin Critique
Thursday, Jedediah Bila published in Human Events, Setting the Palin Record Straight, which was linked many times on Facebook, and I hope is widely read. It’s nice to see a journal of some repute that points to questions of substance more than offering the equivalent of snorts and handwaves, even if offered as intelligent and serious judgment. Now some very respected writers, even of various stripes of conservatism have made such assertions. Some I like very much and whom I’ve read for years. But I have to say that though I work hard at such things, I don’t clearly understand it.
To begin with, I like a few of these writers well enough that I’d like to think there is SOMETHING deeper going on than only chauvinism about an Ivy League education. When I studied philosophy, I read many rigorous thinkers at Harvard. In law and other fields, I’m not particularly impressed. I must be honest and say that I always thought the typical idea of what constituted necessary educational and public service experience was far too narrow, anyway. Simply put, I’ve met many people in my life with no such experience and little public note that I would prefer as President of The United States not only to many supposedly legitimate candidates, but probably to most of the actual Presidents we have had in my lifetime.
But, I accept that the public after all does the voting, expects some threshold of experience by which to access a candidate. We’ve had Presidents and candidates without an Ivy League education, though they may have had years of experience as governors or Senators. There isn’t enough room here for me to list the US Senators that I wouldn’t want near the Oval Office, and not even just Democrats.
But speaking of that, we HAVE a President with a Harvard education though only 2 years as a US Senator. And, he is the worst president of my lifetime and probably ever. That is surely not lost on these smart conservatives. His inclinations are definitively un-American, and I’m speaking of his policies both domestic and foreign. My guess is that his only mooring to presidential reality are his diplomatic and military advisors from the installed establishment: “Uh sir, you JUST CAN’T DO THAT!” His domestic counsel comes only from similarly ideologically dreaming social engineers.
The incautious public that elected him is frantically slamming the brakes on his careening administration, from the 2009 and 2010 elections to state lawsuits to declarations of health care freedom. Thoughtful legislators and governors know that restoring economic vitality, development and employment opportunity will require unwinding much of the financial and regulatory tangle that has been applied. In my lifetime, I can only hope that the total economic calamity of bond devaluation and/or monetary crash will be avoided and we can just establish some sure progress toward reducing the debt. So far, we aren’t even arresting the growth of the debt, and some don’t even want to do that.
I think there are a few governors and former governors out there with the sense and fortitude to press this process forward. But Sarah Palin is surely among that few. Put her in that position, and watch her deliberate disposal of those who would try to stop her. She has executive experience on several levels, at all of which she was effective and through which she rose quickly. I agree with George Will that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is a sober executive with a proven record. And he also does not have to diffuse all of the public flogging that she has received.
But Daniels nor anyone else has the manifest facility of Palin to engage and enthuse people. I like Daniels. And Tim Pawlenty seems like a decent fellow. I enjoy listening to Newt Gingrich’s thinking sometimes. I supported Mike Huckabee in 2008, and he was engaging with rooms of voters. And I think he’d be a serious and deliberate president. Let’s see, did I leave someone out? Oh yeah, there’s that rich former governor with the nice suit and hair. Those are his best attributes.
But, I can guarantee you that none of them will be drawing and inspiring waving and shouting crowds in the many thousands! Ronald Reagan didn’t even do that. That stuff doesn’t grow on trees! And, it puzzles me how experienced political observers can so easily dismiss it. Is that just more indication of Republicans as the STUPID party?