I largely agree with this old nemesis. I sense an undercurrent of uncomfortableness from him, as if a sentence which would permanently break him from the Palin "base" has been deleted. At the very least, this is a lot of emotional distance from who surely agrees with Palin's pro-Christian, pro-business, pro-war ethos (malleable as it is). It's worth mention that the William F. Buckley lineage of conservatism -- elitist, priggish, Anglo-Tory, judgmental, literary -- has no place for Palin. She doesn't even know who GK Chesterton is, let alone Evelyn Waugh. And if CS Lewis is above your head, woe be your national prospects. Indeed, even someone like Cal Thomas who spits 800-word junk syndicated columns for years on end has "substance" and "content." While Palin could handle herself on The View, the real work of reading, writing, vote-counting, bill-writing, and constituent services gained little of her interest. She is more interested in the spotlight. I've witnessed some "famous" people up close, and they remind one of magpies -- in order to build their personalities in the public sphere, they had to tell everyone they knew and met their spiel. Consider the space that "The Sarah Palin Story" takes up of our collective consciousnesses -- Trig, Levi Johnston, Todd Palin, Tina Fey and the whole lot. There is no sturdy personality at the center; there is an ego in need of validation. Palin is a desperate content-free faux-populist spotlight-monger thrust to the limelight. Marilyn Monroe's personality had more substance; Tina Fey is the deeper political thinker.
In sum, I celebrate Sarah Palin in the same way I delight in PhotoShopped pictures of Angelina Jolie looking menacing beside a tearful Jennifer Aniston. The theater need not bear any relationship to the reality; move along, folks, there are paying customers behind you for the freak show.
That's a big "if." One can be smart and have nothing to say. It's the substance that is the rub. And if Palin doesn't have a sharp intellect right now, she'll never have one -- she's in her mid-forties and mega famous. What use does she have for ideas, countering views, or other elitist notions? She's a millionaire.
Do I wish Palin had more intellectual depth like Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan's United Nations U.S. ambassador? Of course. But that can be developed if she gets serious about it. Because of her notoriety she can surely command the best and the brightest tutors.
Still, if she is as bad as her detractors say, why are they wasting so much time dumping on her? One might think they would be cheering the prospect of her becoming the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, thus guaranteeing in their mind a second term for President Obama.
Victimization plays well with the conservative base and that's a problem. If conservatives don't rise from the muck of feeling excluded, disrespected, ignored and mocked, they will continue to suffer all of these things. There is nothing like proving the worth of your ideas to put the mockers in their place. Victimization can raise money, sell books and get one face time on TV, but it doesn't advance the ball.
Sarah Palin is a force the Republican establishment must reckon with. She has energized a sizable portion of the GOP base. If the party ignores that base and nominates another candidate in 2012 who is part of the inside-the-beltway crowd, it could lose. And that would be a double tragedy -- for the GOP and the country -- as President Obama keeps giving Republicans issues that make a conservative agenda far more attractive than the hard-left one he is attempting to impose on the country.
Palin's optimism is refreshing. If she can sharpen her intellect, in three years she won't be mocked; she will be feared.