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July 06, 2009


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David Frum makes some very good points here
The parallel with Goldwater is important. As I understand it, there was such a head of steam behind Goldwater-thinking in the GOP in 64, that the intelligent side of the party realised the best thing to do was let him run and be crushed, then sense could reassert itself. Frum seems to be arguing for something similar. Some problems with that though- for one thing, arguably anyone would have lost to LBJ, so using Goldwater as a sacrificial lamb was a no-brainer. The same is not true of 2012, at the moment- too many unknowns especially with the economy. Secondly, Goldwater was a reasonably intelligent man, however much he misdirected it. The potential humiliation for the party of having someone so patently unintelligent as Palin as a figurehead is surely far higher.


Ross Douthat lost me when he tried to argue for a distinction between the meritorcratic ideal, exemplified by Barack Obama, and the democratic ideal, represented by Sarah Palin. Palin stood for the notion that one could rise to the top without having attended Columbia, Harvard Law School, etc. Douthat sidesteps a central problem, though, which is that Palin lacks more than fancy degrees. As you say, it's her vacuity that really sets her apart. To which I would add her willingness to lie, her habitual resort to an us-versus-them stance, and her overdeveloped sense of personal grievance. She is a demagogue, and not a particularly clever one, though quite photogenic. You are onto something with the idea of nostalgie de la boue.


I doubt that we would have seen even one-tenth of the praise the right-wing chatterers showered on Palin if she had been a man, or if she had been a less attractive-looking woman. There is an episode of Seinfeld, where Jerry gets into serious disagreement with his own penis, who has been doing all the thinking for him. THAT is what has been happening here with Kristol, Douthat, et al. It certanly does them no credit.




Trenchant analysis, Marbury.

The most ludicrous bit in Douhat's lament for his imaginary playmate is the notion that Palin's role as McCain's pitbull was 'assigned' to her by McCain's venal professional handlers. As if Sarah Palin wasn't born to vent class resentment, and would really have been happier to simply peddle wholesome All-American Values of thrift and family or whatever condescending claptrap the likes of Douhat think that working Americans ought to represent.

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