Campaigns/Elections

The Palin Wars

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It was clear within the first few days of her nomination as vice president that can-do Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was a peculiarly divisive political figure. But who knew she would become a one-woman Republican civil war?

Here's George Will, in a Sunday Washington Post column that I shall decorate with a few reason hyperlinks:

Some of the Republicans' afflictions are self-inflicted. Some conservatives who are gluttons for punishment are getting a head start on ensuring a 2012 drubbing by prescribing peculiar medication for a misdiagnosed illness. They are monomaniacal about media bias, which is real but rarely decisive, and unhinged by their anger about the loathing of Sarah Palin by similarly deranged liberals. These conservatives, confusing pugnacity with a political philosophy, are hot to anoint Palin, an emblem of rural and small-town sensibilities, as the party's presumptive 2012 nominee.

These conservatives preen as especially respectful of regular—or as Palin says, "real"—Americans, whose tribune Palin purports to be. But note the argument that the manipulation of Americans by "the mainstream media" explains the fact that the more Palin campaigned, the less Americans thought of her qualifications. This argument portrays Americans as a bovine herd—or as inert clay in the hands of wily media, which only Palin's conservative celebrators can decipher and resist.

These conservatives, smitten by a vice presidential choice based on chromosomes, seem eager to compete on the Democrats' terrain of identity politics, entering the "diversity" sweepstakes they have hitherto rightly deplored.

Meanwhile over at RedState and Michelle Malkin's blog, there is, well, Operation Leper.

An intriguing subplot in all of this has been the role of certain magazines of opinion, and what that might say about a conservative moment that once embraced a distinct style of intellectualism. Here's Mark Lilla writing about "Populist Chic" in the Wall Street Journal:

John McCain's choice was not a fluke, or a senior moment, or an act of desperation. It was the result of a long campaign by influential conservative intellectuals to find a young, populist leader to whom they might hitch their wagons in the future.

And not just any intellectuals. It was the editors of National Review and the Weekly Standard, magazines that present themselves as heirs to the sophisticated conservatism of William F. Buckley and the bookish seriousness of the New York neoconservatives. After the campaign for Sarah Palin, those intellectual traditions may now be pronounced officially dead. […]

Over the [last] 25 years there [has grown] up a new generation of conservative writers who cultivated none of their elders' intellectual virtues—indeed, who saw themselves as counter-intellectuals. Most are well-educated and many have attended Ivy League universities; in fact, one of the masterminds of the Palin nomination was once a Harvard professor. But their function within the conservative movement is no longer to educate and ennoble a populist political tendency, it is to defend that tendency against the supposedly monolithic and uniformly hostile educated classes. They mock the advice of Nobel Prize-winning economists and praise the financial acumen of plumbers and builders. They ridicule ambassadors and diplomats while promoting jingoistic journalists who have never lived abroad and speak no foreign languages. And with the rise of shock radio and television, they have found a large, popular audience that eagerly absorbs their contempt for intellectual elites. They hoped to shape that audience, but the truth is that their audience has now shaped them.

I am not now and will never be a Republican (nor any other kind of political tribesman), but I have an active interest in seeing the two dominant political parties in this country embrace the maximum amount of freedom. Which, these days, isn't very maximum at all. What's particularly curious to me about this whole "We need new ideas to connect with those Sam's Club voters we never hang out with" meme is that I've seen very little enthusiasm for adopting a policy that has real juice out there in the grassroots of both parties–opposition to the ill-planned, panic-brokered, $2 trillion-and-counting bailout. The effects of which will be with us long after we remember the cruise-ship habits of star-struck opinion journalists.

NEXT: Melissa Etheridge, Tax Protester

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  1. I like “political tribesman”.

  2. Nominating Palin should be good for winning a handful of states–Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Alaska, Alabama, Oklahoma. That would be about it.

  3. I have to say that I was a “willing victim” of that anti-intellectual conservatism that came down the pike not too long ago.

    The problem is, is that those erudite and learned individuals who espouse populism don’t understand the downstream effects. The young conservative man ends up an annoying, ignorant yapping fool in his college classes because the people he looked up to told him “don’t listen to your liberal professors. All they do is lie and institute bias in the classroom”.

    Thanks, guys.

  4. I tried getting myself put onto RedState’s Leper list, but to no avail.

    I thought it would be a badge of honor… apparently I have to somehow perpetuate smears anonymously rather than openly denigrate the party’s priorities. Oh well.

  5. “Operation Leper” is very, collectivist for a party that says it is for individualism, no?

  6. “Operation Leper” is very, collectivist for a party that says it is for individualism, no?

    Goes to show… both parties are equally collectivist. One wants to send Americans into the military if they disagree with them… the other wants to send the military after them if they get out of line.

  7. Couldn’t help but notice that (1) Operation Leper seems to confuse a “smear” with an accusation of unsavory conduct, and (2) they didn’t say anything about whether the “smears” or accusations are truthful or not. This is purely about blind loyalty to the failed wing of the Republican Party.

    How do the GOP Leper people expect to evaluate what went wrong if you can’t even remark why Palin was a crappy choice? If she runs in 2012, we’re talking Mondale numbers.

  8. They laughed at Ronald Reagan too, Lamar!

  9. “very, collectivist for a party that says it is for individualism, no?”

    he he he…

  10. I think Palin’s a slightly better politician than people give her credit for being, but anymore she is damaged goods. You almost never have a losing veep candidate come even remotely close to the Presidential nomination, and her general image, while it can be rehabilitated, probably can’t be rescued to a point where it would survive another Presidential campaign. Enough to serve as a future Secretary of the Interior or Secretary of Energy, maybe, but nothing that would involve her, you know, having to campaign or get elected.

  11. How much more proof do we need that the Republican Party is intellectually bankrupt? Bob Dole, two Bush terms, McCain, Palin…The jig is up. They’re running on fumes, illusions and an equally bankrupt nostalgia.

  12. This is purely about blind loyalty to the failed wing of the Republican Party.

    I think there’s still a debate about which wing of the Republican Party failed in this election. Since the moderate wing headed the ticket, I think there is some justice to the fingers being pointed that way.

    Why settle for Dem Lite, when you can go Full Dem?

  13. Well, since the economy alone will likely make Obama a single-termer, the GOP should think long and hard about pre-anointing anyone who lacks the experience and readiness to be president. Like Bush and Obama, for instance. What the hell is wrong with us that we keep electing people who are not ready for prime time? Palin doesn’t need to make it three in a row, thank you very much.

  14. They’re running on fumes, illusions and an equally bankrupt nostalgia.

    I won’t argue with that, but the Dems seem to be reaching back to the ’90s to staff the new administration, and to the ’30s and ’60s for policies.

  15. “I think there’s still a debate about which wing of the Republican Party failed in this election. Since the moderate wing headed the ticket, I think there is some justice to the fingers being pointed that way.”

    You’re right, and I suspect the debate to continue through at least 2010, further weakening the GOP’s numbers. This debate was played out by McCain’s own campaign. Maybe he is Dem-lite. Sarah Palin, by contrast, is a nod to the full-on social con fruit cake wing of the party. The GOP needs to decide if it wants to nominate centrist leaders or right wing fruit cake. I personally hope they go with the non-fruit cake option. Surely there are plenty of conservative politicians who don’t need to be certified witch-free.

  16. “…but the Dems seem to be reaching back to the ’90s to staff the new administration.”

    The Dems seem to be reaching out for the last 8 years as well. After all, what could possibly go wrong with a young, inexperienced president relying on the advice of officials who achieved success in a former administration?

  17. I think there’s still a debate about which wing of the Republican Party failed in this election. Since the moderate wing headed the ticket, I think there is some justice to the fingers being pointed that way.

    Do you really think Huckabee (the primary candidate closest to Palin) would have done better than McCain? I think McCain lost by less than any of the other primary candidates, except Romney, would have. Romney’s the sole exception because he’s the only candidate with any sort of legitimacy on economics.

    Also, during the general election, McCain pretty much abandoned all of his moderate positions. He took back what he said on Falwell, drilling and the Bush tax cuts, while simultaneously raising the volume on social con issues and other issues that matter to red meat conservatives. He basically dumped the things independents liked about him to rally the base. So he won the base and lost everyone else.

  18. Well, since the economy alone will likely make Obama a single-termer,…

    I dunno, the economy in 1932 didn’t make FDR a single-termer.

    When anyone questions his performance Obama will simply blame Bush. And I see no reason why folks won’t accept that.

  19. The Dems seem to be reaching out for the last 8 years as well. After all, what could possibly go wrong with a young, inexperienced president relying on the advice of officials who achieved success in a former administration?

    The Ford and Bush 41 administrations were successful? That’s where Rummy and Cheney came from. I can’t think of any prominent Reagan guys in the current administration.

  20. her general image, while it can be rehabilitated, probably can’t be rescued to a point where it would survive another Presidential campaign

    If Obama can get elected after insulting gun-owners and the pious, I don’t see why Palin can’t do it after insulting everyone else.

  21. I voted for 41. Maybe I was too young back then, but was Cheney insane back then? And I recall Rumsfeld being a part-timer in the Reagan Administration.

  22. Warren,

    I think the GOP should try a limited government, more liberty-minded approach. Screw the social conservatives.

  23. Pro Libertate,

    Wouldn’t we all. Wouldn’t we all.

  24. Lamar,

    I was too young to vote for 41 wither time, so I don’t remember much about Cheney. Hard to criticize much though, since he was SecDef during Iraq and Panama. Both he and Rummy started off as Chiefs of Staff for Ford. Rumsfeld was also SecDef for Ford.

  25. I think the GOP should try a limited government, more liberty-minded approach.

    That’s far too conservative. You obviously haven’t tasted the liberalism. One people! One world!

    Come over here to the punch bowl, and mind to tred lightly on the corpses gathered around it.

  26. It Takes A Mega-Church – And Other Lessons Children Teach Us

  27. Sarah Palin, by contrast, is a nod to the full-on social con fruit cake wing of the party.

    She was certainly painted that way by her enemies, yes.

    Not at all sure that’s the whole story. One of the big failures of the McCain campaign was its failure to foreground her constant fights with entrenched interests in Alaska, most especially including some in her own party.

  28. The civil war over her pretty much, by itself, ensures she will go away.

    Parties don’t nominate controversial figures. They nominate unifying ones. Palin is cooked.

    However, the civil war over her is interesting in itself and how it turns out may influence the future direction of the Republican party.

    It’s somewhat complex since Palin herself is probably not nearly as bad as she’s made out to be. However, over the campaign she’s come to represent what I’d call the “ignorant bigot” wing of the Republican party. Her nomination was such a blantant pander to social conservatives, and don’t without any respect for even their intelligence (much less the rest of the party’s).

    For that reason, I’m kind hoping that the Palin camp gets it’s ass kicked. Even if she isn’t what people think she is, her supporters certainly are.

  29. “One of the big failures of the McCain campaign was its failure to foreground her constant fights with entrenched interests in Alaska, most especially including some in her own party.”

    Perhaps. McCain’s campaign misused a lot of the tools they had to work with. But this debate is about the future of the GOP. I distill it down to this:

    Free markets vs. Fruit cake.

  30. I was too young to vote for 41 wither time, so I don’t remember much about Cheney. Hard to criticize much though, since he was SecDef during Iraq and Panama. Both he and Rummy started off as Chiefs of Staff for Ford. Rumsfeld was also SecDef for Ford.

    Based on their records both were seen as competent managers who would provide experience and direction for the new administration in 2001.

    A lot of people, including a lot who are not seen as Republican sympathizers, saw it as the adults taking over after what was widely perceived as eight years of somewhat poorly executed foreign policy.

    Go figure.

  31. “One of the big failures of the McCain campaign was its failure to foreground her constant fights with entrenched interests in Alaska, most especially including some in her own party.”

    Kind of hard to do when she’s been tight with the most corrupt of them for so long as a founder of “Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.,”.

  32. Good god, Sarah Palin makes my teeth itch. Can we please send her to some remote corner of the earth, like Mongolia, or the CW?

    On the bright side: Good news from “the science” about why i have to get absolutely hosed every night to deal with Palin and her ilk. It’s because i’m so smrt!

    http://urbzen.com/2008/11/09/martinis-taste-like-happy/

  33. The Ford and Bush 41 administrations were successful?

    The people they pulled out of them were. People forget it now, but Rumsfeld got a ticker-tape parade with Colin Powell after Gulf War I. And Cheney would have been welcome there too, had he not been a vampire incapable of traversing the daylight. Of course, this was back before he used the blood of the last unicorn to craft a gem making him capable of standing the sun in small doses.

  34. Pro Libertate, I don’t think a pro-liberty platform is necessarily one that need exclude social conservatives. There are many points in common, and with some compromises, I think such an alliance could work. If you can win them over with a limited-government message, suddenly you’ve got a quarter or a third of the electorate on your side.

  35. “One of the big failures of the McCain campaign was its failure to foreground her constant fights with entrenched interests in Alaska, most especially including some in her own party.”

    Yes, she’s so against the entrenched interests that she told Stevens he should resign from his Senate seat during the presidential election.

    Of course, now that it doesn’t matter and she has to deal with Alaskan politics again, she’s walked back from those comments. How principled typical.

  36. Good god, Sarah Palin makes my teeth itch. Can we please send her to some remote corner of the earth, like Mongolia, or the CW?

    What, the Arctic Circle not remote enough already?

  37. Papaya,

    Have you ignored the last 8 years? Once they’ve gained control of the levers of power, they revealed themselves to be just as intolerant and nannyish as liberal nannies. They bankrolled Prop 8 to extreme amounts. Look at the extent which they’ve flocked to the biggest government candidate in the Republican primary, Huckabee.

    It’s a fool’s bargain that fiscal conservatives made once before. They figured as long as the so cons voted for small government conservatives and didn’t participate, everything was cool and pandering to them was fine. Then the so cons gained the upper hand, so they’ll do the same to fiscal cons. Take a look at what they did to Romney in the primary, for why there’s going to be an uneasy relationship.

  38. Interesting Rasmussen survey result:

    Down the campaign homestretch, Mr. Obama’s tax-cutting promise became his clearest policy position. Eventually he stole the tax issue from the Republicans. Heading into the election, 31% of voters thought that a President Obama would cut their taxes. Only 11% expected a tax cut from a McCain administration.

    The last Democratic candidate to win the tax issue was also the last Democratic president — Bill Clinton. In fact, the candidate who most credibly promises the lowest level of taxes has won every presidential election in at least the last 40 years.

    Who was the last President to both raise taxes and win re-election? When Obama raises taxes (as he will), I think he will ensure his own defeat. Depending on what kind of palooka the Repubs put up against him, of course.

  39. Kind of hard to do when she’s been tight with the most corrupt of them for so long as a founder of “Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.,”.

    I see you don’t bring up the also corrupt Rep. Don Young. Is because she had her lieutenant governor Parnell run against Young in a primary, or because Young was endorsed by Rep. Ron Paul? You obviously can’t bring up Gov. Murkowski, considering that she beat him in a primary.

    I don’t understand either the over the top pro-Palin or anti-Palin commentary. I’ve seen her record in Alaska; she hasn’t pushed social conservatism. She’s most known for repudiating a corrupt no-bid contract that Gov. Murkowski gave out for a pipeline, and producing a new one that met with approval from Democrats in the legislature and in the state as a whole.

    It’s easy to see why a record of working with Democrats and in opposing (and defeating) corrupt members of her own political establishment might appeal to part of the McCain campaign; it’s anyone’s guess why they didn’t try to sell that.

    Her biggest political opponents in Alaska have been from the Republican political establishment there, including Ted Stevens, not least because of opposing the long-serving Whereas guys like Mike Gravel have said nice things about her, even when appearing on outfits like Pacifica Radio.

    Now, it may be that simply Alaskan Democrats are extremely socially conservative as well, and any evidence of bipartisanship on her part simply means that she’s a Huckabee-style populist. But from what I’ve seen, there seems to be far too many people either supporting her or opposing her on simply the basis of “she’s like me” or “she’s not like me.” That’s politics, though.

  40. Lamar,
    “McCain’s campaign misused a lot of the tools they had to work with.”

    By tool, you mean the ‘hammer’ or ‘drill’ definition and not the other one?

  41. Who was the last President to both raise taxes and win re-election? When Obama raises taxes (as he will), I think he will ensure his own defeat. Depending on what kind of palooka the Repubs put up against him, of course.

    Bill Clinton. Last I checked, he was pretty darn popular.

  42. The last Democratic candidate to win the tax issue was also the last Democratic president — Bill Clinton. In fact, the candidate who most credibly promises the lowest level of taxes has won every presidential election in at least the last 40 years.

    By the way, I find that claim by Rasmussen to be pretty questionable. He probably had the upper-hand on Bush, but there’s no way he had the tax cutter street cred against the Dole-Kemp ticket. Didn’t Dole promise a big across the board tax cut?

  43. I should point out that blatantly nonsensical stories about Palin aren’t limited to just wacky emails. Newsweek offers this laugh:

    The day of the third debate, Palin refused to go onstage with New Hampshire GOP Sen. John Sununu and Jeb Bradley, a New Hampshire congressman running for the Senate, because they were pro-choice and because Bradley opposed drilling in Alaska.

    Amusing because Jeb Bradley was a former congressman running for his own seat, not the Senate, John Sununu was rated 100% by NRLC and 0% by NARAL, and not even close to pro-choice, Jeb Bradley was rated pro-life by NARAL at 30% (but did vote for embryo research and emergency contraception, hence not 0%), and because she had previously gone onstage with even more pro-choice people like the absurd Lady de Rothschild.

    The only accurate thing in there is that Jeb Bradley was against offshore drilling when in the House.

  44. “What, the Arctic Circle not remote enough already?”

    Maybe if she were frozen in a glacier, like Captain America.

  45. “‘McCain’s campaign misused a lot of the tools they had to work with.’

    By tool, you mean the ‘hammer’ or ‘drill’ definition and not the other one?”

    I just mean they either neutralized or didn’t use their big guns. Obama has no experience? Then why bring in a no experience VP? People think you are too close to George W. Bush? Why not run ads showing your 2000 debates with Bush? Why would you engage in a Rovian campaign when that was your biggest complaint against Bush? Why waste time on William Ayers when your problem is George W. Bush? You want to call Obama a socialist. So why would you vote for the bailout and suggest nationalizing mortgages? You are a centrist maverick, so why do you pick some right wing lightweight that the party is setting up to get Mondaled in 2012?

  46. Mo, have you forgotten the Reagan years? At the time I had many libertarian gripes, but in retrospect those years look pretty darn good. And that was an alliance of limited-government types and social conservatives.

    I’m just saying that democratic politics requires coalitions and compromise, and if libertarians expect to get anywhere, they shouldn’t dismiss huge portions of the electorate who actually agree with them on many points.

  47. RC Dean wrote: “She was certainly painted that way by her enemies, yes.

    Not at all sure that’s the whole story”

    She’s in league with a guy who harassed a poor innocent woman, accused her of being a witch, and had her chased out of town.

    Is she a fruitcake? Let’s ask Giles Corey. What say ye, Giles? “More weight!”

  48. Also, during the general election, McCain pretty much abandoned all of his moderate positions. He took back what he said on Falwell, drilling and the Bush tax cuts, while simultaneously raising the volume on social con issues and other issues that matter to red meat conservatives. He basically dumped the things independents liked about him to rally the base. So he won the base and lost everyone else.

    I think that when he abandoned his drilling position, becoming pro-drilling had become the moderate position anyway. People are anti-drilling so long as they don’t believe it will affect prices in any way. He also never abandoned his cap-and-trade program, since people still believe that it can be done without any actual cost.

    McCain did worse among “the base” (in reality there are many different groups) than Bush. The swings against McCain among white evangelicals were worse than the overall swings in many states. He didn’t run on guns, gay marriage, abortion, or any of those issues. He had an existing voting record (which included being against a federal Marriage Amendment and voting against it), but didn’t run ads on those issues. The only way he appealed to “the base” was on the terrorism issue, but not so much on exciting passions on other social issues.

    I don’t know if you’d call his positions on ag subsidies, free trade, or health care “moderate” or not (seems like people who call themselves moderates feel passionate about both sides of each), but he didn’t change those either.

    Of course, I only saw a blizzard of Obama ads being in NoVa. I saw many, many Obama ads attacking free trade or attacking McCain’s health care plan (a reform that, while not perfect, libertarians and economists ought to agree would be an improvement over the current system.) I didn’t see a lot of McCain ads.

  49. Two points:

    It’s easy to be a popular governor when you’re “spreading the wealth around” with big oil checks to all the citizens. As oil prices slide and the size of the checks slide too, will her popularity remain?

    Will her “reformer” record stand up to scrutiny when investigated? The per diem and family travel escapades suggest that it may not.

  50. Social conservatives rarely get any of their wishes when Republicans win. Time and time again they get duped by their leaders, so why do they stay in the fold? Because the alternative is worse. The irrational fear so many here display towards ineffective evangelicals is hard to understand.

  51. Mo, have you forgotten the Reagan years? At the time I had many libertarian gripes, but in retrospect those years look pretty darn good. And that was an alliance of limited-government types and social conservatives.

    The Reagan years were what I was referencing when the so cons didn’t have the levers of power. Reagan was first and foremost a fiscal conservative and hawk. He campaigned on low taxes, less government interference, states’ rights and defense. Nothing there about Roe v. Wade and he signed pro-immigration bills. Do you think social conservatives would ever let a Republican president nominate O’Connor?

    The problem isn’t that Republicans could use social conservatives for their fiscal agenda. The problem is that social conservatives went from being in the back seat of the Republican party, with the hawks and the fiscal conservatives driving, to a situation where hawks and social conservatives are driving with fiscal conservatives in the back seat being made fun of because he got a fancy education.

    Look at the Republican’s focus of the last couple of presidential elections. It’s primarily been over cultural issues and identity politics. Gay marriage, abortion, is X patriotic, a little about tax cuts (but not much on spending discipline), dissing civil liberties and the war. That’s pretty thin gruel for libertarians.

  52. “Good god, Sarah Palin makes my teeth itch.”

    Well, if she makes StephanieinCA’s teeth itch, she must be really bad! This is the reaction to her I’ve found among most leftists: visceral hatred without knowing a thing about her.

  53. I’m not a leftist, but I can’t stand her. She represents all the worst aspects of the Republican Party: a militarist and a social conservative. And she’s dumb. Anybody who believes dinosaurs were put on earth 4000 years ago so we could have gasoline for our pickup trucks and snow mobiles is dumb in my book.

  54. “This is the reaction to her I’ve found among most leftists: visceral hatred without knowing a thing about her.”

    I’m not a leftist and I can’t stand her. Why don’t you get off your high horse and admit that many conservatives loathe everything she stands for? She is an insult to anybody with an education who lives near an urban area. “Real America” my ass.

  55. Social conservatives rarely get any of their wishes when Republicans win. Time and time again they get duped by their leaders,

    James,

    Like stem cell research bans, faith based initiatives, the subpoena of Michael Schaivo and over 100 US attorneys hired from Regent University Law (a tier 4 school). Yup, nothing to see there. You’re living in the past. Social conservatives have been getting their wins, the small government wing are the chumps now.

    It’s like the old poker saying, “If you can’t spot the sucker at the table, it’s you.”

  56. Mo, you’re forgetting about Reagan’s social conservatism in the form of his fierce war on drugs and his war on porn. Remember Attorney General Meece?

  57. Some small wins for sure, but ya’ll squeel like government has mandated church attendence or something. Anyway, stem cell research is legal, even with federal funds for existing strains. The real fundies didn’t want any part of the faith based initiative, lest government interfere with their mission. Schaivo is free. And I know nothing about the Regent attorneys, but they are probably less threatening to liberty than Harvard grads. I do accept bookworm’s point, damn Christians.

  58. Anybody who believes dinosaurs were put on earth 4000 years ago so we could have gasoline for our pickup trucks and snow mobiles is dumb in my book.

    while i’m certainly not going to argue that palin is some kind of super genius, it’s always entertaining to see people say that she’s dumb based on the content of an easily disprovable chain email. “this nigerian fellow is a total moron! ha, he doesn’t even KNOW me!!!”

  59. bookworm,
    I’m not saying he wasn’t socially conservative and willing to throw them a bone. Compared to the focus in modern campaigns, it wasn’t much. Compare AG Meece to AG Ashcroft.

  60. Anybody who believes dinosaurs were put on earth 4000 years ago so we could have gasoline for our pickup trucks and snow mobiles is dumb in my book

    Sigh. Link, please? Credible source? Something, anything, to support the hate?

    Look, I hate John McCain, so I got nothing against hatin’ on politicians. I just get offended by stupid, easily debunked smear campaigns. And that’s about 90% of what we got on Palin.

    The really sad thing is how many people fell for it.

    C’mon, folks. The big media outlets turned Alaska upside down trying to find something on her. From what I can tell, they got pretty much nothing.

    Of course, the baseless smears probably did enough damage to end her national career. A lesson learned by political knife artists in both parties. So, let’s not hear any complaining next time around when your guy gets knifed, if you happily parroted the latest idiocy on Sarah Palin.

  61. She is an insult to anybody with an education who lives near an urban area.

    Translation: “I’m insecure about my college degree and live near a city, and she’s done better than me. I hates her, yess I do!”

  62. “I’m insecure about my college degree and live near a city, and she’s done better than me. I hates her, yess I do!”

    I actually feel pretty good about my law degree and lucrative corporate practice, plus, I moved from NYC to Orlando, FL, but yes, I hates her, yes I do!

  63. RC Dean: You don’t think Palin took pot shots at the cities by claiming the cities aren’t real America?

  64. RCDean, people aren’t “insecure” about having college degrees or living in big cities. They are bothered that someone who has a degree and lives in a technically big city for the state she lives in is saying that “real” Americans are the opposite of those things.

  65. Also, Palin refuses to comment on whether she thinks evolution is a viable scientific theory, and the only reason people think she believes in a “young earth” or that dinosaurs roamed the earth along with humans is from a quote from the town she was once mayor of. I don’t think that’s very conclusive but she hasn’t exactly come out against that statement.

  66. Palin was picked so McCain could try to show he was serious about change. From that angle she wasn’t a bad pick. But she was inexperienced, McCain knew that.

    The problem is the voters want an outsider till you give them one. Then they are appalled at the lack of experience.

    Running a family, and Mayor of a small town isn’t the kind of experience that count no matter what she says, neither is half a term as governor.

    I don’t think Palin sunk it as much as the republicans themselves. McCain did Obama a great favor by saying he votes with Bush 90% of the time in front of a camera. And supporting the bailout was distasteful for republicans.

  67. I wouldn’t be suprised if some republicans actually voted for Obama just so they can complain about the next 4 years.

  68. Palin took McCain’s greatest argument off the table (inexperience) and brought little other than the base (who was not going to vote for Obama anyways).

    She didn’t bring Hillary supporters.

    She didn’t bring independents.

    She activated the democratic base as much as she did the GOP base.

    If McCain had picked Tom Ridge he likely would have won PA and the map might have been quite different.

  69. As a Democrat, I wholeheartedly approve of Operation Leper. Anything that attempts to silence the anti-Palin voices in the Republican Party clearly gives a boost the Democratic Party. Palin-Jindal will lose 40 states or so to Obama-Biden in 2012; persona non grataing the McCain people who thought Palin was nuts goes a long way towards that goal.

  70. Geotpf, I cannot understand why intellectually vacuous bloggers like Malkin think they can actually win an election the next time around by weakening people (some of whom are quite powerful) in the party they support. I can’t imagine the amount of blind self-righteousness necessary for such a battle. Then again, I’m not religious-thinking or irrational.

  71. 90% of libertarians give the rest a bad name. The comments hear are proving it. Did someone ignite the leftist call tree or something?

  72. Libertarian = liberal

    What’s so confusing about that?

  73. HEY THAT’S NOT ME

  74. Also, with the exception of Geoptf the self-professed Democrat, who here is a liberal? Surprise, even people in her own party don’t like Palin. I guess that makes some of us…Republicans?

    So now:

    libertarian = Republican to repeat my sock puppet.

  75. doo doo doo doo doo
    I’m lovin’ it!

    Those “Operation Leper” bloggers remind me of the Ghost Shirt movement, or the Branch Davidians, or the Maccabees. It doesn’t matter that the other side has the money, the firepower, the numbers, the institutional support, or any other meaningful measure of power.

    Jeeeeeezus is on our side, so we can’t lose!

    Freaks.

  76. Reagan was first and foremost a fiscal conservative and hawk. He campaigned on low taxes, less government interference, states’ rights and defense. Nothing there about Roe v. Wade and he signed pro-immigration bills. Do you think social conservatives would ever let a Republican president nominate O’Connor?

    Reagan created the “Mexico City policy,” you know. He took pro-life stands, like McCain. Yes, he didn’t run on it extensively, but neither did McCain this election. Social conservatives also initially opposed O’Connor because they were skeptical of her abortion leanings, but didn’t have a record.

    You may have also noticed Bush and McCain trying to produce pro-immigration bills (that were then attacked as amnesty.)

    stem cell research bans

    Another example of McCain being punished for Bush, then, like the Medicare bill? It does seem to me that a lot of people voted against McCain because of things Bush did that McCain opposed (and didn’t change his views on), whereas other people didn’t vote for McCain since he opposed them in the first place.

    In any case, we might as well see if all the various Republicans defending Palin continue to do so after she blames Bush’s and the Congressional Republicans spending along with the conduct of the war for their loss.

    Will her “reformer” record stand up to scrutiny when investigated? The per diem and family travel escapades suggest that it may not.

    Right, she’s spent less money on travel than previous governors, but because she’s doing it via getting a per diem while staying at home rather than the state renting them an apartment paying for a hotel room, that’s a huge problem. Since the meaning of “reform” is staying within arbitrary categories rather than saving any money, you may have a point.

  77. “Like stem cell research bans,…”

    There are no stem cell research bans, there is a ban on using federal money for embyonic stem cell research that destroys new embryos. Bush’s restrctions on embryonic research are looser than those that existed under Clinton. Stem cell research in general has no restrictions on it.

    It’s amazing that the people who complain about the GOP’s “anti-intellectualism” phrase their complaints so sloppily so as to show themselves to be completely ignorant or blatantly dishonest.

  78. Palin has shown to be an extremely divisive agent even within her own party. Why on earth would they want to stick with that in 2012?

  79. Republicans loves not to know!

  80. Palin is a good-looking, capable conservative white woman who has lots of babies. Therefore she is a threat and must be banned from the village.

  81. Warren,

    I think the GOP should try a limited government, more liberty-minded approach. Screw the social conservatives.

    Umm… That’s precisely why we want to nominate Libertarian Party ally Sarah Palin.

  82. Geotpf | November 10, 2008, 7:21pm | #

    As a Democrat, I wholeheartedly approve of Operation Leper. Anything that attempts to silence the anti-Palin voices in the Republican Party clearly gives a boost the Democratic Party. Palin-Jindal will lose 40 states or so to Obama-Biden in 2012; persona non grataing the McCain people who thought Palin was nuts goes a long way towards that goal.

    And if Palin is not the nominee, many of us will either sit home and not vote, or vote 3rd party.

    There is Zero chance Palin will not be the GOP nominee in 2012, and even less of a chance that she won’t be our next President.

    Palin or bust!

  83. Hazel Meade | November 10, 2008, 12:36pm | #

    The civil war over her pretty much, by itself, ensures she will go away.

    Parties don’t nominate controversial figures. They nominate unifying ones. Palin is cooked.

    However, the civil war over her is interesting in itself and how it turns out may influence the future direction of the Republican party.

    It’s somewhat complex since Palin herself is probably not nearly as bad as she’s made out to be. However, over the campaign she’s come to represent what I’d call the “ignorant bigot” wing of the Republican party

    Oh, this is nice; calling libertarians “ignorant bigots,” now, huh? Sarah Palin comes from the libertarian wing of the GOP, so she must be an “ignorant bigot.” Whew. Good thing I come here to Reason on occasion. I learn so much useful information. Gotta go now, and polish my “ignorant bigot” award, being that I’m a libertarian like Sarah, from the libertarian wing of the GOP and all.

  84. Dondero both endorses Palin, and declares her victory inevitable.

    Well. I guess that’s that.

  85. Palin has shown to be an extremely divisive agent even within her own party. Why on earth would they want to stick with that in 2012?

    I can only attribute it to the GILF factor, which horrifies me.

  86. I just hope that Obama’s win isn’t eternally credited solely to media bias. The same way I think Palin did not get a fair shot at credibility. According to even The Washington Post, liberal media bias had a tendency to affect some coverage of the election, but that could also be a side-effect of strong positive feelings for a specific candidate. It is common knowledge, or at least should be, that there is not going to be 100% objectivity. As long as there is disclosure, media bias is going to occur. Media consumers, read at your own risk.

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