Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Saint Sarah of Wasilla


By Alan Caruba

Every time I see Sarah Palin, I think of the total population of Alaska which, according to the 2010 World Almanac is 686,293 citizens. Anchorage’s population is 279,243..

Then I think of the many other U.S. cities that have populations that exceed the entire population of Alaska. They include Austin, Texas, Charlotte, North Carolina, Columbus, Ohio, and San Jose, California, to name just a few.

There are mayors throughout the U.S. that deal with problems of far greater magnitude than the former Governor of Alaska and former candidate for Vice President of the United States of America ever encountered.

I may well be the only conservative in America who thought John McCain was out of his mind when he chose then-Governor Palin to be his running mate in the 2008 campaign. The last person to choose a woman running mate was Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter’s Vice President, who in 1984 was soundly defeated by Ronald Reagan.

I do not think America is ready for a woman president. I will leave it to the political scientists to argue whether Sarah helped or hurt the McCain campaign because, in my view, most of the damage was self-inflicted by Senator Maverick.

I confess, I have never been keen on women in political office. It is a prejudice of which I am not particularly proud, but one need only cast an eye on the likes of California’s Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, and Diane Feinstein to find common ground with Burt Prelutsky, a fellow commentator, who says they remind him of the three witches in the opening scene of Macbeth.

There are many other women in Congress and most of the time when I see or hear one, I keep wishing they had stayed home to raise a family or run a flower shop or some other business than the nation’s business.

None of this is politically correct, but I’m not here to offer pabulum.

I watched Palin’s $100,000 address to the Tea Party conference in Nashville and could not shake the notion that it was 98% pure clichés. This is not to say that the attendees weren’t the best kind of patriots America could hope for, but it is to say that Palin has very little to offer other than to wave the flag, mention Reagan a lot, and tease President Obama.

That didn’t keep the audience from giving her many rounds of applause and even, at one point, to shout “Run, Sarah, run.” No, please do not run, even though we both know you have to dangle that prospect in order to remain a viable political figure.

Part of my problem with Palin is that she resigned from the last political job she had. No doubt the rising costs of all the nonsense lawsuits brought against her played a role in that decision. The prospect of cashing in on her sudden celebrity and popularity was no doubt a factor as well. I daresay it may have been the best decision to make at the time.

The Palin conundrum is this: she is pretty much the lone voice of the conservative movement; articulating its fundamental values of self-reliance and responsibility, smaller government, and a strong defense. Almost alone among the Republican Party’s spokespersons, Palin plainly says we are at war with al Qaeda.

Even though I am in agreement with her, whenever I see her I cannot shake the same feeling I get while watching a circus act, akin to fire eaters or sword swallowers; briefly entertaining, but quite forgettable.

For the present, Palin offers the Republican Party a “personality” to carry the flag until someone like the new Senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown, develops a national following or some other new faces emerge from the 2010 midterm elections.

With few exceptions, male Republican office holders tend to be fairly colorless policy wonks and pinstripe-suited folk who have the right answers, but not the theatrical skills to evoke much enthusiasm from a wary and weary electorate.

At some point, however, Sarah needs to return to Alaska…and stay there.

26 comments:

Dave's Daily Day Dream said...

You're correct, Alan, when you infer that there is a certain uneasiness about former governor Palin's presence in the Republican spotlight. She is an interesting phenomenon and she is keeping the issues in the news to some degree.
I too, am looking for someone to take hold of the GOP in a manly fashion. I do not think it will happen because both sides are now too politically correct and contemptuously unconstitutional in their approach to their job.
The voters don't seem to know, or care -"the dim, led by the malicious, vote incorrectly". Not my words, but a quote I picked up somewhere lately.

TexasFred said...

Sarah Palin is a *fluff* piece, that's about it...

I regularly tell my readers, "If Sarah Palin is the best the GOP, Conservatives or the TEA Party has to offer, we, as a nation, are in DEEP Doo-Doo...

If you want an attractive *cheer leader*, she might be the one, but her political acumen is not what's needed to run the USA.

And before someone goes off on qualifications, sure, she has more business sense than Obama, big deal, both of them are terrible examples of what is wrong with politics in America!

Alan, you have NO idea how glad I am to see a person of your caliber write a piece like this, it makes me feel a lot better I'll tell you, I thought I was the only Conservative in America that felt this way too!!

Alan Caruba said...

I am with you, Texas Fred...and I think you owe me a plate of ribs if I ever get down your way! :-)

TexasFred said...

I think we can DO that.. And I am posting this story on MY blog as we speak, sort of.. Of course it is given full attribution to you Sir!

Ol James said...

".. and could not shake the notion that it was 98% pure clichés." Yep I gotta agree. I think she is out there to do 2 things. Recharge the party and personal networking.
Even if I am kin to her, on her daddy's' side.
What got me the most was the choice of Maverick McCain. No disrespect to my elders here, but, couldn't the Repubz find someone a bit younger??

Eddy said...

I don't agree with you guys. What's wrong with the conservative clichés and repeating them. W. Bush sure forgot about them! I rather have a simple woman with the right principles as president, who has the BALLS to stick to them, compared to somebody who is so-called well educated or who has "a lot of international experience" but does not know what to stand for. Sorry, but a good manager is not always the best technical person, but someone who has a instinctual understanding of what is important and good and right for the country.
Run, Sarah, run!

Eddy

Alan Caruba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan Caruba said...

Interesting metaphor, Eddie! :-)

Yup, Sarah's got the stones, no question about it.

Eddy said...

Sorry Alan, I got carried away :-)
You know I love and admire your blog and I believe it is healthy to disagree on these matters!!
Eddy B.

Carolyn said...

Mr. Caruba, I have to agree with you here. Not that I don't think there are a few women in public office who aren't excellent (Michelle Bachman comes to mind), but something has been bothering me about Sarah for a little while now, which I can't really put my finger on. Yes, the obvious is that I didn't agree with her quitting her governorship (is that a word?!) I have a real problem with folks like our Charlie Crist, who also like obama himself, who seem to take public office only to further their political goals. To me,maybe I'm just way old fashioned, but to run for public office would be to actually serve the people who voted for your platform, and to do the job to the best of your ability. And not to make a career out of it. And certainly not to start campaigning 2 months after you get into the office you ran for!
Me, personally,I am all for term limits. I know there are good arguments for and against limits, but I can bet we'd see a lot more politicians focused on their constituants than on running in the next race.
As for a woman president, I don't know if we're ready or not. I wish we could vote for Margaret Thatcher, but that's another story :-) God Bless!

Carolyn said...

Sorry Mr. Caruba, one more thought- I should have read ALL of the comments first. I do agree that Sarah has cajones, but she's no Margaret Thatcher. Sorry, remember, I'm Canadian, and that means I got some British blood runnin' in these veins LOL

Alan Caruba said...

Carolyn, I agree. There have been a number of extraordinary women leaders and Thatcher ranks high on the list. Golda Mier comes to mind as well.

Like you, I do not think Palin is in their league.

MathMom said...

Sarah Palin may not be ready for prime time yet, but Margaret Thatcher is a fan. It's her opinion that Palin should take elocution lessons, as did Thatcher, to thin out her regional accent. Thatcher knew she lacked expertise in some areas, so she got good advice and studied to prepare herself. But she was always the Iron Lady, because she already knew who she was, and had principles and did not bend. She was fearless. This is a characteristic that Palin shares. Thatcher says Palin needs good advisers to help her fill in her weak areas. Palin is getting advice, and studying, too. She is filling in her gaps.

I lived in Alaska for several years in the late 80's, and spent a lot of time in Wasilla and the surrounding area looking for a house. My best friend (who is also my realtor) has lived there her whole life, since before Statehood. She has served on boards with Palin. She says Palin is the real deal, and a quick study.

I was in Alaska a month ago, and she showed me all the changes Palin brought to Wasilla. Gotta tell you, it's not an airhead that could make the sort of changes I saw there. The improvement is dramatic, and my friend is angry that the MSM made the story about Palin's pregnant daughter, and ignored her significant accomplishments.

When I saw Rudy Giuliani, who had no training in handling massive terror attacks, rise to the challenge on 9/11 in NYC, I knew I wanted him to be my next president. Unfortunately, he didn't want the job enough to campaign. So, my next choice was Romney. I read everything I can find that Romney writes, and try to catch him on TV or YouTube. He has a lot to say, and great experience in business. But the MSM is not afraid of Romney, so when he makes a speech, it doesn't make a sound. They spend no time trying to make him look like a cipher.

It killed me to vote for McCain (the MSM's choice for the Republicans), but when he chose Sarah Palin and I saw her first speech, I contributed to his campaign. It is very silly to insist that Palin hurt McCain's chances. She was the only bright spot in that campaign, and in the 24 hours after she was introduced, McCain raised over 10 million bucks. He would have lost by MUCH more without Palin's contribution. She really wanted to win. I have no idea what he wanted.

The MSM and the Left saw her, and they realized she is a force of nature, so she had to be destroyed. Those on the Left attack Palin because they fear her. She is the only Republican that elicits this response from the Left, so IMHO this is the person they are afraid they can't beat at the ballot box.

I don't know if she is ready, or ever will be ready, to be President. (She's more ready than Obama and Biden put together, but that is not necessarily sufficient.) I know that it's a sad commentary when the only people with real huevos in the Republican party, the only real fighters are two women, Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin. But there is hope, with the win in Massachusetts, and with Rubio coming on strong in Florida. There might be more Republican men on the horizon.

Alan Caruba said...

I guess I will have to prepare a dinner of crow soon.

Thanks, Math Mom, for your input.

James said...

It's fair to say she's much less than perfect as a candidate. Right now, however, she seems equal to or better than any other candidate I can name. It's up to a good competitor to eclipse her. At least she raises the bar, Alan.

MathMom said...

May I call you Alan? Thank you for giving me a forum.

I am a mom who quit work and stayed home to raise my kids. I agree with you in some respects about women in politics, in fact women in the work force, especially when they have young children at home. I think when children are being raised, someone needs to hold still to give them an anchor. I have nothing against stay-at-home dads, but obviously it's usually the mom who stays home. I believe children do best when raised by those who invited them here, not by a hired committee at a day care center.

On the other hand, I have doctors who are women, I have appreciated the women who taught my children, and I appreciate Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin, who come out swinging when even war heroes such as John McCain won't. Women who make me ashamed to be a woman are such dim bulbs in politics as Peolsi and Boxer,and any woman who watches The View and thinks she's learned something important. Ann Coulter said that no democrat could be elected if women were denied the vote, and I think that is true. Most women in politics got there through the standard "feminist" path, and by definition that means you must be politically liberal.

I think that is another reason heads exploded when Palin came on the scene. She is the epitome of what "feminists" said women could be! You can have it all! Children, a husband who washes dishes and changes diapers, a job in the executive suite, and acrylic nails. Unfortunately, you're only genuine if you believe in abortion and all that feminist victim crap. It does not include women who can field dress a moose. It does not include women who apparently love a manly man who drives a snow machine with a broken bone, and have an icky job in the oil business. It does not include a woman who won't abort a "defective" child. And it does not include a woman who seems filled with joy.

I think I like Palin because she mocks Obama and really twists the nail file when she's got it between his ribs. And he's such a pansy that he reacts to it. He has never been mocked in his elected life, and it's long overdue. Kudos to Palin for doing this important task. If she never does anything else in public life, she has done that.

mawm said...

Whether or not Palin is a suitable candidate is immaterial. The public has deviated from awarding the Presidency into the hands of a white male once......and what a disaster. I feel that Palin will not have a chance because the public will now be looking to return to the tried and tested.

Daryl L. Hunter said...

Palin’s elocution is fine and her colloquialisms are endearing to the conservative populist. Years ago, channel surfing, I would sometimes land on William Buckley’s Firing Line for a minute until I heard his high faulting over educated vernacular and snooty tone and I would turn the channel before I even know what he was talking about, I never watched long enough to find out he was a conservative as he sounded like someone trying to sound like the smartest person in the room, you know, like liberals talk. I never found out he was a conservative until the 90’s.

Legendary lawyer Gerry Spence got rich and famous by always walking into a courtroom wearing a leather fringe coat and looking like a country redneck lawyer, people would underestimate him and lose every time.

Barack Obama has perfect elocution and, yes, he made it to the presidency but his elocution isn’t helping him run the country any.

Senators make crappy presidents because they have spent at least six years compromising with a committee of ninety-nine and they develop bad habits there, I would hate to see Palin spend any time there. I would however like to see her as Vice-president before she moves op the ladder, however if she gets to the oval office she will do just fine and I will celebrate it.

It has been my observation that the smartest people are often terrible managers, they thrive in the theoretical and academic world. People get to smart and they lose their common sense.

Reagan was a man of inelegance, not of genus. He was smart enough to surround himself with the right people and communicate his vision to those who knew how to put it together.

Palin can communicate like Reagan.

TexasFred said...

Alan Caruba said...
I guess I will have to prepare a dinner of crow soon.
*******************
I doubt it...

MathMom said...

May I call you Alan? Thank you for giving me a forum.

I am a mom who quit work and stayed home to raise my kids. I agree with you in some respects about women in politics, in fact women in the work force, especially when they have young children at home. I think when children are being raised, someone needs to hold still to give them an anchor. I have nothing against stay-at-home dads, but obviously it's usually the mom who stays home. I believe children do best when raised by those who invited them here, not by a hired committee at a day care center.

On the other hand, I have doctors who are women, I have appreciated the women who taught my children, and I appreciate Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin, who come out swinging when even war heroes such as John McCain won't. Women who make me ashamed to be a woman are such dim bulbs in politics as Pelosi and Boxer,and any woman who watches The View and thinks she's learned something important. Ann Coulter said that no democrat could be elected if women were denied the vote, and I think that is true. Most women in politics got there through the standard "feminist" path, and by definition that means you must be politically liberal.

I think that is another reason heads exploded when Palin came on the scene. She is the epitome of what "feminists" said women could be! You can have it all! Children, a husband who washes dishes and changes diapers, a job in the executive suite, and acrylic nails. Unfortunately, you're only genuine if you believe in abortion and all that feminist victim crap. It does not include a woman who can field dress a moose. It does not include a woman who apparently loves a manly man who drives a snow machine, and has an icky job in the oil business. It does not include a woman who won't abort a "defective" child. And it does not include a woman who seems filled with joy.

I think I like Palin because she mocks Obama and really twists the nail file when she's got it between his ribs. And he's such a pansy that he reacts to it. He has never been mocked in his elected life, and it's long overdue. Kudos to Palin for doing this important task. If she never does anything else in public life, she has done that.

Alan Caruba said...

I can tell you all one thing...this post about Palin has generated more comments than any in recent memory.

She has certainly gotten the Warning Signs family energized!

Guy said...

I posted a comment yesterday, but it seems to have been lost in the shuffle. I can't remember exactly what I said, but basically, it was that if this country was stupid enough to vote for Osama, they'll vote for anyone. All we need to do now is make sure we launch a candidate that shares our conservative ideals, and puts on the proper show to drag in the votes....

As far as Sarah is concerned, I think she's a sweetheart, and while she may not be another Ronald Reagan, given the choice between her and anything the Dems have produced in the last twenty years, I'd go with her in a flash ...

Ron H. said...

I too have mixed feelings about Sarah Palin. If she is what she says she is, and what she appears to be, then we would be very fortunate to have her as President. On the other hand, as many commenters have mentioned here, there is something not quite fully convincing, and I can't for the life of me figure out what it is.

Perhaps her good looks work against her. Maybe she would be more believable if she looked more like Margaret Thatcher.

One thing in her favor, in my opinion, is that the liberal press hates her so much. I can only imagine that she must be a real threat to their world view. Recently, the top story at MSNBC involved emails from and to Todd Palin while Sarah was governor. apparently they could find nothing in the world more deserving of our attention.

By the way Alan, (may I call you Alan?) If you ever feel like taking a vacation and inviting a guest writer to fill in, you might consider Mathmom. she writes very well, and I enjoyed her comment nearly as much as your column. No disrespect intended. :-)

Alan Caruba said...

Ron H, you may certainly call me Alan...this is my blog and is intended as a good place for like-minded folks to meet up.

MathMom is a good writer, but I am keeping the blog to myself as opposed to others that aggregate other writer's work.

Carolyn said...

Mr. Caruba (I like calling you Mr.) I doubt you need to eat crow any time soon, and I think your blog is great- I don't want you taking a vacation LOL . Mathmom is pretty darn good :-) I'd like to see her blog as well. A lot of excellent comments for an excellent post. I only dream of getting 10 or more comments!

MathMom said...

Alan, Carolyn and Ron H -

Thank you for your compliments about my writing. You are very kind. (*blush*)