2008 August 30 Saturday
Sarah Palin As Rorschach Blot Test

Lots of people are reacting in all sorts of ways to John McCain's pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his Veep. A woman named Susan had this to say about Sarah Palin on the comments of an LA Times article:

I don't know who Bill Kristol spoke with but most people I know were personally offended by McCain's choice. It exemplifies the current state of politics, it's a game. All the republican party has in its pocket is the pro-life, pro-gun, anti-gay fear mongering. Bringing in an hugely inexperienced policitian who has nothing more than her gender and her Christian ideologies creates a lightning rod of distraction to the real, immenient issues that we face as Americans. I used to respect McCain. No longer, this choice is an insult to all those who love this country.

I think the intensity of these reactions indicate that people are getting bored with gushing Obamamania. They want a new thrill already. Obama needs to hire some script writers and a camera crew to create a reality TV out of his campaign. Then he needs to hire some campaign staffers who are good at comedy acting, tragic acting, and other roles. He can strike back if he can fashion a really good hit TV show loosely organized around his campaign. Then a vote for Obama can be seen as a vote for a much larger cast of entertaining and novel characters. He needs to admit that he needs supporting actors with charisma as well. Look, Jerry Seinfeld is a funny guy. But Kramer and the other characters were essential for making his show a multi-year success.

The New York Times editorialists were happy that John McCain opted to add a diversity talisman to his ticket. Without diversity the forces of evil will take over and plunge us into a dark ages. All hail diversity.

The Republican Party has hardly been a champion of diversity in recent memory. So it was heartening to see Senator John McCain choose Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate.

We would be criticized for cynicism if we were to suggest that Mr. McCain might also be hoping to sow a new round of gender discord in the wake of the Democrats’ unexpectedly unifying convention. We didn’t have to.

Governor Palin (who was on almost no one’s short list) left no doubt of her mission, as she eagerly praised the “determination and grace” of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who failed to make the Democratic ticket. “But it turns out that the women in America aren’t finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all,” she vowed.

Plus, Palin lets them be cynical even as they embrace the diversity talisman. Is that cool or what?

Clark Stooksbury points to a National Review Corner blog post by Jay Nordlinger where he once again demonstrates an enormous acumen for gushing.

She is leaderly. That’s not quite a word, but I have employed it often. (It ought to be a word.) Governor Palin is strong, assured, natural — and leaderly. I’m not sure she is less presidential — to say nothing of vice-presidential — than any of the other three on the national tickets.

Like many Americans, she says “Eye-rack” and “Eye-ran” (for two neighboring countries in the Middle East). Some people mock this, but it is very American. And — speaking of mockery — she also says “nuke-u-lar”: like George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter (who was a nuclear engineer), and Eisenhower.

I feel all choked up. Gush, er, I guess I mean gosh.

Dennis Dale says we've fully embraced personality politics as more important than boring old issues politics.

Everyone who is anyone seems by now in agreement that the presidency and thus the vice presidency should be about personality and perception, because that’s what television media is calibrated to deliver. The resemblance of political news to celebrity news has gone beyond deliberate to become unavoidable. Soon there will be no dividing line, and the non-telegenic will be barred from public service as if bound by physical deformity. We are now into our second and third generations of television journalists who deliberately feed the public superficial pulp; they are no longer capable of making the distinction themselves. This might explain their bemusement and occasional outrage at the blogs. Journalists don’t ask tough questions of leaders because they don’t want to get the public started. We could start asking tough questions of them.

Any contrarian voice against this order of things is probably the sort of eccentric character that still talks of enumerated constitutional powers and congressional declarations of war. Cut to Chris Matthews assessing how the new gal looks cradling an AR-15. At moments coverage may resemble fetishistic soft-core guns & girls pornography. This is the zeitgeist. We really deserve whatever deprivations come at this point.

Well, at the right time I think Sarah ought to do an episode where she goes skeet shooting with a rifle. Then maybe Sarah could do Iditarod sledding. We want authenticity in our Alaskans. Just because she's going to spend most of her time in the lower 48 doesn't mean she can't entertain us with her Alaskan roots. We expect some pioneer wilderness scenes in this election. Little House On The Tundra.

In a post entitled "Palin Rocks" Scott McConnell argues that Palin is great because she's not a neocon and supported Pat Buchanan. I agree with Scott that her support for Buchanan is promising.

Indeed Palin is, if anything, the Lieberman antithesis. The blogosphere has begun to chew on the fact that she apparently played some role in the Buchanan campaign of 1996, and perhaps in 2000 as well. There remains a constituency in this country for the idea that Buchanan is the devil incarnate, but if he’s not correct on absolutely everything, his views on American foreign policy have proved more prescient than any single sitting Republican senator. The Palin choice promises to instigate a boomlet of old Buchanan controversies, including a criticism of the Israel lobby which has become increasingly mainstream since the Iraq war went south. Sarah Palin may not have supported Pat in 1996 primarily because of his foreign policy views, but clearly she wasn’t put off by them, despite the hysterical anti-Buchanan frothings of every neoconservative and neoliberal media outlet in the country. You have to think a hockey mom mother of five would be more resistant to the American Enterprise Institute world view than anyone else McCain could conceivably have chosen. If there’s a good argument for John McCain, it might be that he’s old, has a history of serious illness, and has chosen Sarah Palin as his veep.

I hope Palin doesn't cave in and let her foreign policy views get dictated to her by the neocons.

Kevin Michael Grace says Sarah Palin brings a form of exoticism to this election. This of course breaks the Obama monopoly on exoticism.

WASHINGTON—Americans reacted mostly positively Friday to the surprise selection by John McCain of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as Republican nominee for Vice President. The 37-year-old Palin continued her meteoric rise to political demigod status, which began just 9 years ago, when she was elected Mayor of Kolyma, AK, population 79, and continued two years ago when she was elected Governor after the entire Republican state hierarchy was indicted for corruption and then photographed in a giant hot tub with underaged Boy Scouts.

In an already historic Presidential year, one that has seen left-field Democratic candidate Barack Obama ride a wave of guilty hysteria to triumph over supposed sure-thing Hillary Clinton, Gov. Palin brings her own considerable exoticism to the table. A working mother, she is married to her dog-mushing school sweetheart, Ookpik, who runs a thriving seal-gutting business when not doing something or other for Alaska's only major employer, Big Oil. Ookpik, who is 1/32 Eskimo on his stepmother's side, is an X-treme moose-eating champion and enjoys staring at the aurora borealis. The Palins have five children, Truck, Trig, Sine, Cosine and Hypotenuse.

What I want to know: Is Sarah's husband related to Michael Palin? If not, could we at least pretend he is? Then she could bring fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the pope, and nice red uniforms to the job.

Update: Maria Bartiromo interviewed Sarah Palin on oil in Alaska a few day before Palin was chosen as McCain's Veep. She's quite well spoken.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 August 30 07:53 PM  Politics American Presidency

thegomezsymbol said at August 30, 2008 8:48 PM:

Whatever happened to picking an exceptional leader that provides direction to a country? An exceptional job (and the US presidency rates as very exceptional in my book) requires an exceptional person, but this days all candidates seem to be focused on being portrayed as 'a regular guy'. The only thing these guys seem exceptional at is obeying the poll results.

Stephen said at August 30, 2008 10:29 PM:

Bread and Circuses:

... Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man,
the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time
handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now
restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things:
bread and circuses

Stephen said at August 30, 2008 10:33 PM:

Or to quote Niven and/or Pournelle:

Think of it as evolution in action.

Randall Parker said at August 30, 2008 10:52 PM:


Jerry Pournelle in Oath Of Fealty.

cb said at August 31, 2008 12:06 AM:

Well, now I can't tell the difference between the concern trolls and the Reagan Democrats. All I know is, she seems more conservative than any of the RINOs for the top ticket (except maybe Fred, if you take his campaign seriously).

And that seems to be pissing people off.

And that is no fewer than five kinds of awesome.

kurt9 said at August 31, 2008 10:22 AM:

Mark Steyn has the best, most entertaining comments about Sarah Palin.


There's a reason why I think Steyn is a good writer.

I like Palin for the same reasons he does.

DisappointedCon said at August 31, 2008 4:53 PM:

"I agree with Scott that her support for Buchanan is promising."

Promising of what, she's only running for VP, why do people think McCain is going to let her have any real influence on policy matters whatsoever? Have eight years of Cheney really made people forget that the VP office is typically a position with little to no authority?

Michael Palin said at September 3, 2008 11:50 AM:

Palin will probably kick McCain's ass if he gets out of line. The rumors about McCain being Palin's bitch are all true.

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