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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Noonan: Palin "Horrifying," Bad for GOP and USA

Well-credentialed Reagan conservative Peggy Noonan uses the august pages of the Wall Street Journal to issue a punishing post-mortem of Sarah Palin's "horrifying" political career and call on her fellow Republicans to "let go of her drama":

...[S]he 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.

In television interviews she was out of her depth in a shallow pool. She was limited in her ability to explain and defend her positions, and sometimes in knowing them. She couldn't say what she read because she didn't read anything. She was utterly unconcerned by all this and seemed in fact rather proud of it: It was evidence of her authenticity. She experienced criticism as both partisan and cruel because she could see no truth in any of it. She wasn't thoughtful enough to know she wasn't thoughtful enough. Her presentation up to the end has been scattered, illogical, manipulative and self-referential to the point of self-reverence. "I'm not wired that way," "I'm not a quitter," "I'm standing up for our values." I'm, I'm, I'm.

In another age it might not have been terrible, but here and now it was actually rather horrifying [Peggy Noonan, "A Farewell to Harms," Wall Street Journal, 2009.07.10].

Noonan follows with a classic debate-style point-by-point debunking of every bit of Palinmaniac mythology (Among the best: The elites don't hate Palin. "The elites made her."). So for all of you Palin fans who like to deflect the argument by portraying liberals as "afraid" of Palin, I suggest you do better to ask why good conservatives are so afraid of Palin... and then read Noonan's very cogent explanation:

Here's why all this matters. The world is a dangerous place. It has never been more so, or more complicated, more straining of the reasoning powers of those with actual genius and true judgment. This is a time for conservative leaders who know how to think [Noonan, 2009.07.10].

Update: For some hard-core blogging, see Mel Green's freelance analysis of some double-counting on Alaska's state spreadsheets that appears to exaggerate the costs of the ethics investigations of Alaska's departing governor. Green's blog work is good enough to get attention in the Anchorage Daily News.

Meanwhile, Donald Craig Mitchell compares Palin's gubernatorial resignation to her bailing from the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and finds both instances revealing Palin as a self-absorbed quitter who knows she can't handle the job.

Republicans, if any of you are still desinging Palin-2012 posters, get serious. Back Pawlenty, Thune, or Huckabee. Draft Rounds. Push an amendment to allow foreign-born presidents and run Schwarzenegger. But listen to Noonan: put Palin behind you.


  1. Peggy Noonan writes that Sarah Palin is "self-referential to the point of self-reverence"?

    An understatement. Try "delusions of royalty."

    Mrs. Palin actually said she loves Alaska so much that she's "sacrificing her title" for the state.



  2. Sarah Palin has down-home charm, but she lacks "the force." She comes off as a little "dumb," although I'm sure she's smarter than I am.

    I hope the Republicans will purge their minds of "Palin 2012" Presidential delusions. She might have a future in the Party, but not in the White House.

  3. Beg to differ, Stan: you demonstrate exactly the intelligence Noonan finds lacking in Palin, the capacity to learn how the other sides think. Maybe the 2012 GOP nominee should go for another VP surprise and pick you: you would bring plenty of down-to-earth, working-man cred (your pickup would make great ad fodder, I bet), with no accumulated corruption of high public office, but you could also win over the beach crowd (thanks to your worldly travels) and the intellectuals (you're a science writer!).

  4. Spedaking of intelligence. Obama stated on the campaign trail he had been in all 57 states....

  5. forgot to sign previous comment:

    Tim Higgins

  6. Spedaking = Speaking
    Fat finger syndrome today

  7. No sweat, Tim: we all make small mistakes like that. I wouldn't hold your mistype as evidence that you are unintelligent or think "spedaking" is a word any more than you would hold a slip of the tongue as evidence that the President is unintelligent or sincerely believes there are 57 states.


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