Ahh, Wlady, you cut me deeply. Huckabee? Well-aimed shot. It smarts. No, I would not prefer Huckabee. Then again, I would not prefer Huckabee for president even if the only other choice were, oh, I don't know, Tony Romo in a depression if whatsername Simpson dumped him.
As for her "irresistible charm," I'm resisting it. Actually, I don't even see it. What I see is a lady with good values who doesn't even know what it is that she doesn't know, but who insists she knows everything. If I had a neighbor like that, I'd build a higher fence.
As for delusion, I see nothing wrong with people liking a candidate. What's wrong is when their rooting for a candidate gets in the way of being able to honestly assess the candidate's faults, and therefore to honestly assess the relative strength of their cause. What has bothered me in recent years is the inability of people to simulataneously approve of a politician on one issue and disapprove on another. Case in point: When I first returned to Washington in early 2006, President Bush was still, for whatever odd reasons, a hero on the right. I wrote a couple of columns and blog posts critical of him, and I was subjected to absolute vituperation for not supporting "our" president. A year later, when his popularity was in the tank, I was subjected to utter vituperation from the same set of conservatives for having dared to defend such a traitor to our ranks! Again, it's like people are choosing a sports team to back: They're either all for it, or all agin it, and nothing in between.
The key thing is that if conservatives do this too much, they fail to recognize when their side is in trouble. I dare say that the one demographic they would want Palin to appeal to would be the rather apolitical but conservative leaning women in the 30s and 40s who I watched the debate with last night. If conservatives don't realize there is something about Palin that comes across as "calamitous" to that demographic, they are in for a rude awakening.
Meanwhile, I report now on another rather apolitical guy, this one in his 40s, very bright, again conservative leaning -- a guy whose immediate response to the introduction of Palin five weeks ago was to email me to tell me he was "pumped" and hadn't been so excited about politics for a long, long time, because with Palin the GOP finally had come up with the real deal.
Now, here's what he wrote me this morning: "I don't get all this Republican talk about Palin 'winning' last night.... It was kid gloves. Biden won because he didn't lose. She lost because she didn't win."
My point is not to slam Palin. I want her to do well. But if conservatives don't understand why she and McCain aren't closing the deal with more people, well, then, they never will be able to close the deal.
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