Skip to comments.Bill Kristol: Let Palin Be Palin - Why the left is scared to death of McCain's running mate.
Posted on 08/30/2008 1:34:44 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
A spectre is haunting the liberal elites of New York and Washington--the spectre of a young, attractive, unapologetic conservatism, rising out of the American countryside, free of the taint (fair or unfair) of the Bush administration and the recent Republican Congress, able to invigorate a McCain administration and to govern beyond it.
That spectre has a name--Sarah Palin, the 44-year-old governor of Alaska chosen by John McCain on Friday to be his running mate. There she is: a working woman who's a proud wife and mother; a traditionalist in important matters who's broken through all kinds of barriers; a reformer who's a Republican; a challenger of a corrupt good-old-boy establishment who's a conservative; a successful woman whose life is unapologetically grounded in religious belief; a lady who's a leader.
So what we will see in the next days and weeks--what we have already seen in the hours after her nomination--is an effort by all the powers of the old liberalism, both in the Democratic party and the mainstream media, to exorcise this spectre. They will ridicule her and patronize her. They will distort her words and caricature her biography. They will appeal, sometimes explicitly, to anti-small town and anti-religious prejudice. All of this will be in the cause of trying to prevent the American people from arriving at their own judgment of Sarah Palin.
That's why Palin's spectacular performance in her introduction in Dayton was so important. Her remarks were cogent and compelling. Her presentation of herself was shrewd and savvy. I heard from many who watched Palin--many of them not predisposed to support her--about how moved they were by her remarks, her composure, and her story. She will have a chance to shine again Wednesday night at the Republican convention.
But before and after that, she'll be swimming in political waters infested with sharks. Her nickname when she was the starting point guard on an Alaska high school championship basketball team was "Sarah Barracuda." I suspect she'll take care of herself better than many expect.
But the McCain campaign can help. The choice of Palin was McCain's own. Many of his staff expected, and favored, other more conventional candidates. The campaign may be tempted to overreact when one rash sentence or foolish comment by Palin from 10 or 15 years ago is dragged up by Democratic opposition research and magnified by a credulous and complicit media.
The McCain campaign will have to keep its cool. It will have to provide facts and context, and to hit back where appropriate. But it cannot become obsessed with playing defense. It should allow Palin to deal with the charges directly and resist the temptation to try to shield her from the media. Palin is potentially a huge asset to McCain. He took the gamble--wisely, we think--of putting her on the ticket. McCain's choice of Palin was McCain being McCain. Now his campaign will have to let Palin be Palin.
There will be rocky moments. But they will fade if the McCain campaign lets Palin's journey take its natural course over the next two months. Millions of Americans--mostly but not only women, mostly but not only Republicans and conservatives--seemed to get a sense of energy and enjoyment and pride, not just from her nomination, but especially from her smashing opening performance. Palin will be a compelling and mold-breaking example for lots of Americans who are told every day that to be even a bit conservative or Christian or old-fashioned is bad form. In this respect, Palin can become an inspirational figure and powerful symbol. The left senses this, which is why they want to discredit her quickly.
A key moment for Palin will be the vice presidential debate, to be held at Washington University in St. Louis on October 2. One liberal commentator--a former U.S. ambassador and not normally an unabashed vulgarian--licked his chops Friday afternoon: "To steal an old adage of former Secretary of State James Baker . . . putting Sarah Palin into a debate with Joe Biden is going to be like throwing Howdy Doody into a knife fight!"
Charming. And if Palin holds her own against Biden, as she is fully capable of doing? McCain will then have succeeded in combining with his own huge advantage in experience and judgment, a politician of great promise in his vice presidential slot who will make Joe Biden look like a tiresome relic. McCain's willingness to take a chance on Palin could turn what looked, after Obama's impressive speech Thursday night in Denver, like a long two months for Republicans and conservatives, into a campaign of excitement and--dare we say it?--hope, which will culminate on November 4 in victory.
Sarah Palin is deadly. In fact Joe Biden might as well be debating Anne Coulter. Palin is that good.
I feel sorry for Biden already.
What unsettles liberals is that sexist (by nature) conservatives are rallied and energized by a female candidate. This does not fit their view of conservatives (and of themselves).
Hillary is now old hat.
lol..that’s right. And the other panel memebers (including Brit) had fun ridiculing Kondracke’s idiocy. Beltway Boy Morty is so mortified by (as far outside the Beltway as possible) Palin he’s crumbling on national tv. Great entertainment.
"One liberal commentator--a former U.S. ambassador and not normally an unabashed vulgarian--licked his chops Friday afternoon: "To steal an old adage of former Secretary of State James Baker . . . putting Sarah Palin into a debate with Joe Biden is going to be like throwing Howdy Doody into a knife fight!"
I'm not too worried about Sarah more than holding her own - the big ??? is whether the format is truly balanced and whether the questioners/moderator keep it like a typical VP debate (in which Sarah Palin will shine), or will the cooperate with the Demagogues in turning it into some exam/trivia contest about foreign policy minutia that Biden would be much more likely to know. On the major issues, I think SP will be fine, and she has a far more appealing presence -- plus Biden will have to tread very carefully to not piss off a lot of people if he goes into the kind of heavy-handed attacks that the Demagogues love to do.
But I can certainly imagine that there may be foreign policy minutia that she will not know and will not have time to bone up on in 4 weeks. Personally, I don't care a bit whether or not she can recite any details of the SALT-II talks, etc. but I can easily imagine that with Biden the 'Rats and MSM will try to turn the whole debate in that direction.
>> Sarah Palin is deadly. In fact Joe Biden might as well be debating Anne Coulter. Palin is that good.
Sincere, guileless righteousness is powerful, isn’t it?
Biden doesn’t have a chance. I almost feel sorry for him.
McCain showed a lot of courage in choosing Sarah Plain. Obviously she has solid conservative credentials. Pro-lifers and Evangelicals will come out to vote for her based on her record. And Palin has more executive expereience then Obama and Biden combinded. Its only logical that Palin will help McCain pull in more of the women vote. Including Independents and even ticked off Hillary voters. Those are the pluses.
Any downside to choosing Palin will come from her daily behavior on the campaign trail and how the liberal media portrays her in the news. Also, Palin’s performance in the VP debate will be under a bright spotlight.
Overall, a good choice by McCain. How it plays out is anyones guess.
Biden IS one of the “good ole boys” network. He is also a relic. Hope he starts looking for some good lines to plagiarize soon. He is going to need it.
I think, hope and believe she will eat his lunch while handing "Scrappy" Joe Biden his own head on a platter.
I saw that!
It just floored me.
In the time Obama has been running for president (and not doing the job he was being paid to do) Sarah was cleaning out crooked Alaskan politicians and gaining valuable (and real)executive experience.
The last 24 hours had made me realize that a great part of Obama's success in the last 20 months is because he got the early jump on the primary and was the only new, young (relatively so) face on the campaign trail.
This campaign has been needlessly and interminably long because Obama's wealthy backers started him early in hopes of bleeding the competition financially dry.
Now, in only 24 hours, Sarah Palin has moved him and Jaberin' Joe from smug offense to reactionary defense.
John McCain is in the Catbird seat (at least for the next week or two).
The press and Washington is so blind-sided over this pick that they are left speechless.
More people than ever before are listening closely to what the candidates are made of and to what they say.
The Left is in big trouble and they have very little ammunition to attack Palin with. Inexperience? Imagine that, and their main candidate has only 178 days in the Senate and has only been a community activist before that for a short time.
Palin has run a business, been a very successful mayor, an accomplished Governor and a Commander in Chief of one of the largest National Guard units in the Country.
If she is really what the accounts say she is, I will vote for the ticket after all. I was prepared to walk away.
I used up all my popcorn during the democRat convention. I think I better re-stock.
I’ve been a big Fred B fan for many years now.
Mort Kondracke really irritates me. But then of all the left-leaning Fox contributors only Juan Williams is tolerable. And he is beginning to lean right.
Why, I wonder?
For sure, Biden has 35 years of campaigning and political experience behind him. He has often spoken -- on the hustings, on the Senate floor, in Committee meetings and on the Sunday morning shows.
All of that is true.
However, at the same time he was doing these things, he has given ample evidence that he is a pompous blowhard, a gasbag of the worst kind.
He is not quick afoot. Given the choice between a terse direct response and a laborious circumlocution, he will inevitably choose the latter. And extend it. He is given to tired cliches, not the pithy epigram.
Biden is no "quick-witted debater". He is a ponderous target for one.
Based upon her performance at the VP introduction yesterday, she'll be picking his bones by the close.
>> Why, I wonder?
See my post #8.
Palin will be packin'.
With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, hes been a governor for three years, hes been able but undistinguished. I dont think people could really name a big, important thing that hes done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America. And again, with all due respect to Richmond, Virginia, its smaller than Chula Vista, California; Aurora, Colorado; Mesa or Gilbert, Arizona; north Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada. Its not a big town. So if he were to pick Governor Kaine, it would be an intensely political choice where he said, `You know what? Im really not, first and foremost, concerned with, is this person capable of being president of the United States?