I have absolutely no problem with those who are arguing that Palin’s story is one of a citizen politician thrust into the national spotlight who left office to protect her family from merciless attacks. But for those still arguing that she can or should have a future as an elected political leader, let alone president, I’m baffled. And I think that Palin’s defenders do her absolutely no favors by consistently making excuses for her no matter the circumstances.
Over at the Corner, Steve Hayward posted a few examples of the media writing off Ronald Reagan at various points in his career, only to be proven wrong. But such comparisons do a disservice to Reagan, who not only served two full terms as governor of California, but also spent decades studying the issues and immersing himself in conservative philosophy. His writings and radio commentaries make this abundantly clear. He proved people wrong because they objectively were wrong. This does not mean that whenever the media writes off or attacks a conservative politician that he or she is the next Reagan. (For more, see: Bush, George W.)
Meanwhile, Victor Davis Hanson wrote that “it doesn’t matter that much what critics say, but — should she pursue politics — only what she does with her newfound time, especially if she travels widely, studies foreign policy, and helps galvanize the party base.” He continued, “She’s not looking at 2012; but in eight years by 2016 she will be far more savvy, still young, and far more experienced. It matters not all that the Left writes her off as daffy, since they were going to do that whatever she did; the key is whether she convinces conservatives in eight year of travel and reflection that she’s a charismatic Margaret Thatcher type heavyweight.”
The problem is that to win and govern effectively you have to do more than “galvanize the party base” and “convince conservatives” — you also have to convince independents and even some Democrats, as Reagan did. Furthermore, what Hanson is suggesting now is the same sort of thing people were writing after last fall’s election. However, instead of going back to Alaska to gain more governing experience as many advised, Palin resigned after just two and a half years on the job. And there’s nothing to indicate that she has the slightest interest in boning up on policy. Honestly, what’s her incentive to study policy and do the boring task of governing? No matter what she does, her army of apologists will make excuses for her and lash out at those who dare to criticize her by accusing them of being liberal elitists who are threatened by her sheer awesomeness.
And again, none of this really matters if Palin intends to leave elective politics and become some sort of television or radio personality. My comments are only meant as a response to those who are still seriously suggesting her as a potential presidential candidate. Last October, an ABC/Washington Post poll found that only 35 percent of Americans thought Palin was qualified enough to be president, yet now her boosters expect us to believe that an additional nine months in office is all she needed to assauge Americans’ concerns, allowing her to resign and prepare for a presidential run.
For an alternate take, you can read Robert Stacy McCain on our main site.
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