I generally like anyone with the ability to bring The View ladies, David Letterman, Keith Olberman, and others of their socio-political perspective to an apoplectic froth. Reading this will likely be a tough pill to swallow for those who see Gov. Palin as a Ronald Reaganesque figure in US politics. It was tough for me to put the thoughts into words. Don’t get me wrong though, I am a Palin fan.While I find great appeal in her views on limited government, a return to Constitutional authority, disciplined federal spending, a strong military to fight a 21st century war, etc. I just don’t think she is now or ever will be presidential material. Here’s why ….
1. Picture that face and that demeanor. Aw shucks, she’s just too stinking happy and affable. From what we can tell from her PR work in hostile territory, she doesn’t have an intimidating bone in her body. Her campaign quip about being a tough hockey mom may play well in a ice rink parking lot full of mini vans but not in DC where personal destruction is a major league sport with world class players. Sarah simply wasn’t bred to play rough politically and enjoy the experience. In contrast, Hillary Clinton seems to love to get dirty and has cultivated it into an effective weapon in her arsenal as a career female political figure. Had Palin shown the slightest inclination to return intellectual fire on the sanctimonious Katie Couric or the pathologically condescending Bill O’Reilly instead of retreating to a defensive position, there might be a shred of hope that she could hold her own with Mahmoud, Vladimir,Kim Jong, or Hugo. Standing up to the good old boy network of oil execs in Alaska provided some nice campaign resume padding but isn’t on the same level as staring down the worlds’ current roster of nationalist thugs. If there is to be a woman that someday will have to deal an ultimatum to the aforementioned despots, it would be more comforting knowing that it was being delivered by a persona more along the lines of Margaret Thatcher or Golda Meir than PTA mom Sarah Palin.
2. Governor Palin arguably did a good job as chief executive of the state of Alaska but watching her maneuver outside of that environment continues to be somewhat of an overreach. She’s had more than 18 months since being thrust into the national spotlight to bring herself up to speed on a global level. If she had aspirations to be a serious contender in 2012 one would have expected her to be not only fluent but intellectually convincing on a wider range of world issues and their attached minutia. She’s not there. Frankly I still cringe when she fumbles for answers to difficult questions. Too often, the interviewers sense a weakness, suddenly feel they have the high ground and become emboldened to go deeper with follow-up questions in an effort to trip her up or gauge exactly how much her coaches have prepared her. In comparison, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was known to graciously punish her interviewers with an overwhelming grasp of the facts, logic, and that one piece of pertinent info they didn’t have – whenever they overstepped the bounds of their own knowledge.
3. Sarah Palin could be the most polarizing figure in American politics today. With that said, she is also the biggest draw the Republican Party can muster when it comes to attracting crowds and churning up dollars. This is a direct result of the discontent many Americans are having with the second most polarizing figure in US politics; Barack Obama. The ironic thing is that her popularity comes from an emotional pushback and political populism as opposed to bold ideas, strength, a persona that embodies positive, no nonsense leadership, and a Bebe Netanyahu sense of gravity that the top power broker in the world must possess. While she may not be the “One”, it doesn’t diminish the fact that the people who are listening like what she has to say. However, many of those same people also have had to relearn the fact that talk is cheap. In 2008, 52% of the electorate emotionally voted for eloquence over depth as they surveyed Barack Obama, the candidate. Based on his ever shrinking approval numbers a year later, the center right mindset of the American people aren’t likely to make the same mistake again in the near future.
4. At the end of the day, she’s a mom at heart, probably a good one at that; protective, attentive, and involved Like it or not, the BasicMan is old school and believes that the person sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office should not have motherly things on her mind while attending to the best interests of 340 million Americans and a globe full of other assorted dysfunctions. Even though Zogby or Rasmussen haven’t conducted any polls on this conjecture (yet) my guess is I’m not alone in this thought. If, however, she decides to throw her hat in the ring be assured that poll question will follow and it’s likely result will provide one of the first lines of attack from a left leaning media. Feminist groups will be predictably silent and look the other way when the question is asked because of who is in the crosshairs. If she remains true to the form this is where her political and personal road will diverge.
I like Sarah Palin and believe she has a place in conservative politics both now and into the future. The enigma comes in determining exactly where she fits in. I wonder if Ben Franklin ever felt this way. Maybe this is another classic case of nice guys finishing last.