Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Palin Brawl At NRO

Palin [Rick Brookhiser]

I have not had a TV to watch all week, though I have had internet, so I have followed the Palin pick entirely through the medium of the Corner.

I share the initial reservations of David, and to a lesser extent, Jay. The Palin pick shows a low opinion of the vice presidency, and it shows conservatives in a bad light.

1. The Vice Presidency. Either McCain thinks the war on terror isn't serious, or he thinks the vice-presidency isn't. Since the former is obviously untrue, it must be the latter. McCain is certainly following a very old conception of the job. One nineteenth century veep was reputedly so underutilized that he kept a tavern in his home state. But that is not our conception. Vice Presidents have grown in clout and responsibility. In the last fifty years, four former vice presidents have run for president (Nixon, Mondale, elder Bush, Gore), two of them successfully, while since Carter/Mondale, veeps have been given more and more to do. McCain, bless him, intends to do everything himself. Good luck! Perhaps the Palin pick is a sly diss both of Obama/Biden and Bush/Cheney. Palin will go to funerals.

2. Conservatives. Palin will also be assigned to pacify conservatives. On the evidence of the numerous emails reprinted here, that will be easily done. Reader after reader said that the base was now energized. You would have thought the base was energized by being in a war. If not, perhaps we need a new base.
We have shown the same color-by-numbers mindset that liberals did when they rallied to Obama. Liberals love Obama because he is a Numinous Negro. Conservatives love Palin because she has a Downs baby and an M-16. For both sides, that is all on earth ye know and all ye need to know. You might call it mystical and childish.

May I be so wrong that a hundred harpies will pluck my eyeballs.

Re: Rick on Palin [Peter Robinson]

Understanding your objections, Rick, which are, as is typical of all your thought, both grounded in American history and elegantly stated, I nevertheless have a question: Who the heck should McCain have picked? The man is a working politician. No fair asking him to clasp his copy of de Toqueville to his breast as he goes down to defeat.

P.S. If my inbox is any indication, don't look up. The harpies are already circling.

Re: re: Rick on Palin [Andy McCarthy]

I don't often disagree with Peter, but there is nothing elegant about Rick's assertion that "Conservatives love Palin because she has a Downs baby and an M-16." It's offensive.

It's also flat wrong. Rick's assessment is offered as an analogy to liberal love for Obama as "Numinous Negro." The comparison doesn't come close to the mark. The so-called "numinous Negro" is a story's hero figure for no better reason than complexion. His or her assumed wisdom is the treacly projection of collective, indelible liberal guilt over the dark slavery and segregation chapters in American history; beyond color, we know nothing about the character.

The contrast to Sarah Palin couldn't be more stark. Even if the only things we knew about her really were that she'd rejected the option of aborting her baby and owned guns, those would be concrete indicia of a conservative American life actually lived.

This is a real person: living through the crises and enjoyments that people and families go through, and making choices that tell us a great deal about who she is. It happens that the two facts Rick chooses to highlight provide very advantageous political contrasts to Obama, who has labored to protect a right of infanticide, and the Democrat ticket, which is hopelessly Second Amendment-challenged. But for purposes of Rick's snarky analogy, that's quite beside the point. No one is asking you to assume Palin is wise due to something so irrelevant to wisdom as the color of her skin. You can make a reliable judgment about who she is, though, by the choices she has made when confronted by life's highs and lows.

Of course, there's more. As Mark pointed out yesterday, despite living in the eye of the storm (or, perhaps, because of it) Palin is more modest and mature on "climate change" than McCain and Obama/Biden, who are captives of the green cult. She's actually held executive office — and the Governor may have started as a small-town mayor, but she was already experienced in that position when the guy at the top of the other ticket was a "community organizer" imbibing Jeremiah Wright's Black Liberation Theology and Bill Ayers' radicalism. While Obama has moved seamlessly from Chicago's corrupt political culture to Washington's earmark festival, Palin fought Arizona's Alaska's corrupt political culture and told Washington to keep its Bridge to Nowhere earmarks.

Palin has drastically cut legislative spending sprees. That is a nice contrast to the Democrat legislators on the other ticket — particularly Obama who, as Stanley Kurtz has richly documented, kept pushing for increased spending in Illinois even as an ever widening budget gap pushed the state to fiscal ruin. And Gov. Palin has concretely supported aggressively increasing America's energy resources, pushing for drilling, including in ANWR, and negotiating a $26 billion natural gas pipeline deal with a Canadian company. The opposing ticket is against drilling no matter how high prices go (Sen. Obama is only unhappy about the pace of rising prices, not the fact of them), and Obama's principal dealing with Canada has been secretly to dispatch an emissary to assure the worried government there that all his anti-trade rhetoric is just pandering. Once again, while Palin has taken concrete actions that tell you exactly where she's coming from, we are left to wonder whether Obama is lying to the Canadians or to his base.

Now I could be wrong, but I don't think Rick ever uttered the suggestion that Sen. McCain might be thought unserious about the war when McCain pushed his amendment giving Fifth Amendment rights to captured alien terrorists (during a war in which intelligence gleaned from interrogations is urgently needed); or when McCain pushed to close Guantanamo Bay, which has been an intelligence coup; or when McCain implied that President Bush's warrantless surveillance program — the penetration of enemy communications which has always been a staple of war-fighting — was illegal.

The possibility of unseriousness was not raised until McCain named as a running mate a woman who's instilled in the son she raised a love of country that induced him to enlist voluntarily in the United States Army on the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. This September 11th, he'll be deployed to Iraq to fight the war we are winning despite Barack Obama's best efforts to force a pull-out that would have given victory to al Qaeda.

I think Rick's suggestion is extremely unfortunate.

No comments: