Friday, July 10, 2009

Palin and the GOP

On further review, the grand old dame of the GOP (Peggy Noonan) is dead-on in her evaluation of Sarah Palin.

Her history does not need to be rehearsed at any length. Ten months ago she was embraced with friendliness by her party. The left and the media immediately overplayed their hand, with attacks on her children. The party rallied round, as a party should. She went on the trail a sensation but demonstrated in the ensuing months that she was not ready to go national and in fact never would be. She was hungry, loved politics, had charm and energy, loved walking onto the stage, waving and doing the stump speech. All good. But she was not thoughtful. She was a gifted retail politician who displayed the disadvantages of being born into a point of view (in her case a form of conservatism; elsewhere and in other circumstances, it could have been a form of liberalism) and swallowing it whole: She never learned how the other sides think, or why.

Noonan liked Palin's speech at the Republican National Convention and has not become an Obamacan like other "conservative" pundits like David Brooks, Kathleen Parker or William F. Buckley's son Christopher. In other words, she didn't lose her f*cking mind last year. So her short summary on Palin's rise, fall and failure is both credible and thoughtful.

We liked Gov. Palin when she blew away the GOP Convention. We liked her when she held her own in the VP debate. We liked how she rallied the base around a candidate that had formerly been anathema to it. She didn't lose the 2008 election, McCain's panicky response to the financial crisis did (along with his unwillingness to hammer Obama's weaknesses). But as a future standardbearer for the party and a potential candidate for 2012 or 2016, she's inadequate. There are far better possibilities. The GOP just needs to find them because there's no telling what damage Obama can do to this country if he serves two terms.

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