I continue to believe that Sarah Palin is not yet qualified to be president, but my admiration for her continues to grow. Her interview with Sean Hannity, just aired, was almost pitch-perfect. It was dignified. It was well-modulated. It was strong. And it was thoughtful. She kept her composure even as Hannity put on the screen some of the vilest, most vicious attacks against her — the sorts of things that were so bad that if they were said about me they might shake me to my core. She explained her thought process after hearing about the shooting in Tucson, and explained the timing of her videotaped message, and explained her use of the term “blood libel.” She insisted, rightly, that strong and honest — but respectful — political debate should not be stifled, and noted that it only seems like the right is asked to stifle its views. She was correct on all counts.
The truth is, there is almost nothing this lady has ever done or said that merits the sorts of venomous vitriol to which she has been subjected. Her rhetoric is sharp but not hateful. Her views — and even more, her actual record — are mainstream conservative, not extremist. And her story of a plucky, self-made rise from unlikely (for a politician) origins, on the basis of hard work and gumption, is remarkably admirable. And, frankly, whom has she hurt along the way? The feelings of those who are appalled that she wouldn’t abort her Downs Syndrome baby? The ideology of those who thought she should force her daughter to get an abortion? The corrupt old-boy network who plagued (and effectively robbed) Alaska, whom she defeated in fair-and-square elections? The self-important worldview of those who believe that women who aren’t liberal are illegitimate political actors? Go ahead: Show where Sarah Palin has been mean-spirited, abusive, or hateful? Can’t do it. She hasn’t been.
Sarah Palin has been libeled for the past nine days, and indeed libeled ever since John McCain announced he was choosing her as his running mate. Amidst all the slings and arrows, she has retained remarkable composure. She’s not my choice for president, but I would be happy for her to continue, at any time she wants, to put leftist folly in her verbal gunsights.