Friday, February 06, 2009

The Meaning of Sarah Palin

THis is is a good article on The Meaning of Sarah Palin. It's a little long but worth a read. It starts off I think being quite fair about how both sides distorted her image for their own purposes. It then fits that into this vision of American politics:

"In American politics, the distinction between populism and elitism is further subdivided into cultural and economic populism and elitism. And for at least the last forty years, the two parties have broken down distinctly along this double axis. The Republican party has been the party of cultural populism and economic elitism, and the Democrats have been the party of cultural elitism and economic populism."

I was thinking it was was being too sympathetic to her and got to this...

"But having finally gotten voters to listen, neither Palin nor McCain could think of anything to say to them. Palin’s reformism, like McCain’s, was essentially an attitude devoid of substance. Both Republican candidates told us they hated corruption and would cut excess and waste. But separately and together, they offered no overarching vision of America, no consistent view of the role of government, no clear description of what a free society should look like, and no coherent policy ideas that might actually address the concerns of American families and offer solutions to the serious problems of the moment. Palin’s populism was not her weakness, but her strength. Her weakness was that she failed to tie her populism to anything deeper. A successful conservative reformism has to draw on cultural populism, but it has also to draw on a worldview, on ideas about society and government, and on a policy agenda. This would make it more intellectual, but not necessarily less populist."

Again it's worth a read. But I think it missed something. Yes she started off strong and the media distorted things, but she didn't say anything more than stump speeches for weeks after her introduction. It's not just that the campaign couldn't think "of anything to say" it didn't have her say anything. Given the void, the media filled it. Then when she did give interviews, she performed poorly. She complains about being asked "what do you read up in Alaska" when in fact she asked to name the title of anything she read; and she didn't.

It's not just that she didn't display the intellectual elitism required by Washington. She said nothing of substance and at times couldn't even form coherent sentences. Some of Tiny Fey's skits included lengthy direct quotes. Her actual words qualified as comedy routines. It's not just that she didn't have an ivy league education, it's that she demonstrated no depth of understanding on issues she would need to make decisions on.

It still annoys me when people say she had more executive experience than Obama. Both brought different experiences to their positions. She didn't have legislative or Washington experience. Evaluate them as a whole, and don't forget the small detail that he was a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago for 12 years. That's a depth of knowledge I thought would be very useful in fixing the constitutional messes that Bush had gotten us into. I thought that was more useful for the job of President than hunting skills, and I don't think that's elitism.

1 comment:

Roman said...

Ok, how about just say that she is dumb. Period. She knew nothing and was uninspiring as a person. Then obviously smart authors of that analysis could have directed their attention to something actually deserving a thorough analysis ;)