Why is it impossible to provide any balanced view of Sarah Palin, criticizing where called for but defending her when called for and praising her when called for? The job of a columnist is to have no permanent favorites or targets, but to provide a consistent framework of analysis — opinionated, to be sure, but with those opinions applied according to consistent standards, no matter whose ox is gored. Hence, I can praise Palin to high heaven, and I can defend her, but Lord forbid I ever offer constructive criticism and analysis tempered by sincere compliments (e.g.: “The undeniable fact for conservatives is that when it comes to broad principles, Sarah Palin ‘gets it.’ And when it comes to pluck, she’s overflowing.”), much less take her to task for wholly unmerited rudeness.
Conservatives blind to their own faults or those of their favorites will not be in good position to prevail in the court of public opinion. For that matter, conservatives who behave too much like sports fans therefore fail to hold their favorites to account until it’s too late, thus giving them a false sense of security that ill serves them in elections (not to mention ill serves the country when they govern). You should see the vitriol directed at me from fellow conservatives when I dared criticize Bush 43 for being insufficiently conservative, back when he was riding high in the polls. Then, suddenly, when the bottom fell out for Bush politically but I dared defend him on some matters on which he still was correct, some of those very same conservatives blasted me for daring defend such a big-government RINO.
It shouldn’t matter, though, whom you root for. What should matter is the principles you stand for and the knowledge of how to apply them in practice. Sarah Palin messed up with regard to reporter Alex Pappas. She was rude and unprofessional. Pappas, to his credit, was not angry, but bemused. The point is that this is an example of Palin needlessly risking antagonizing even those in the press corps who aren’t inclined against her — and, worse, actively trying to embarrass them by making sure another reporter heard her berate the would-be friendly reporter. This is no way for Palin to make her own political situation any easier. She should be above such behavior. It is no sin to point that out.
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