Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Winds Are Shifting

With the disjointed, incoherent resignation of Sarah Palin last week it seems a curious thing has happened. The winds in Washington DC have started shifting in a major way. What is most important about that is that as the wind flows so goes the Villagers. For so long they have tried to close their eyes and act as if Republicans were worthy of being included in the major discussions of our day. Even though evidence was increaing by the day, none of the Villagers wanted to step out and admit that the GOP was now a fringe party with fringe ideas.

But it seems that with all of the recent scandals involving top GOP prospective 2012 candidates capped by Palin's glorious flameout last Friday the Villagers are now emboldened to start calling a spade a spade.

Witness Richard Cohen:

It would behoove us, though, to consider how close we all came to utter disaster -- the "counterfactual" suggested above. A recent Vanity Fair article clarifies just how awful a vice president (or president) Palin would have made. During the campaign, she proved allergic to briefings and remained determined to stay uncorrupted by knowledge. More recently, she explained her decision to -- permit me some GOP talk -- cut and run as Alaska governor by lapsing into no known language, explaining herself afterward in a burst of Tweets that only raised more questions. One question, though, has been settled: She is unfit for office.

Naming Palin to the GOP ticket -- a top-down choice by McCain -- was the most reckless decision any national politician has made in the longest time, and while it certainly says something about McCain, it says even more about his party. It has lost its mind.

Recall, after all, that Palin was not McCain's first choice. That was either Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge. Both were rejected by the party establishment because of their appalling moderation on social issues over which the president has little direct authority anyway -- abortion, above all -- and in Lieberman's case because he had been a Democrat. In desperation, McCain turned to Palin.

Was there a scream of protest? No. Did the Republican Party demand to know of McCain what the hell he had done? Again, no. Was it okay with the GOP if the person a heartbeat away from the presidency was -- pardon me, but it's true -- a ditz with no national experience whatsoever? You betcha. The party had cracked up, accepting a nullity because she was antiabortion over a seasoned senator and former governor because they were not. Ideology won. The nation lost.

It really shouldn't have taken this long for him to come to these conclusions but there it is. And notice that last line of the excerpt. Its apparent that Cohen still believes, incredibly at this point, that McCain was who the nation needed. And yet even he isn't willing to toe the company line anymore and is ready to call out the Republican Party. I don't think that would have been true had Sarah Palin not held her whine and cheese party last week.

Witness also Gene Robinson, whom I do not consider a true Villager, but who takes himself and his profession to task for not calling it like it was with Sarah Palin and her party.

But I'm stating the obvious. The thing is, Palin's unsuitability for high public office has been obvious all along. Tina Fey got it right; the rest of us were far too reluctant to state plainly that the emperor, or empress, has no clothes.

There are basically two reasons the political class and the commentariat continue to speak and write about Palin as if she were a substantial figure whose presence on the national stage is anything but a cruel, unfunny joke. The first is fear -- not of Palin and her know-nothing legions, but of being painted as elitist and sexist.

From the beginning, Palin has been a master at maneuvering her critics into this trap. Like most Americans, she didn't go to an Ivy League school; like most women, she deals every day with the challenges of juggling work and family. She highlighted these aspects of her biography, then used them to portray herself as a victim whenever anyone had the temerity to criticize anything she said or did. The most recent illustration is what she
posted on her Facebook page last weekend on the reaction to her announced resignation:

"How sad that Washington and the media will never understand; it's about country. And though it's honorable for countless others to leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term, of course we know by now, for some reason a different standard applies for the decisions I make."

What is she talking about? Who are these "countless others" who supposedly have made the same decision to abandon governorships for no credible reason? The names don't come rushing to mind. Why is any criticism of Poor Little Sarah the result of the "different standard" that mean old "Washington and the media" always apply? Because blaming her favorite alleged persecutors allows her to ignore the bewildered reaction from her constituents in Alaska who are stunned and mystified at her decision to skip out.

The other reason Palin is taken more seriously than she deserves is that she has a constituency. Heaven help us.

Palin has far-right conservative views, and while I disagree with her on almost everything, there's certainly nothing inappropriate or illegitimate about her philosophy. But I feel sorry for conservatives who look to her as a champion because she's going to let them down. Articulating a political vision and inspiring people to believe in it are true accomplishments, and no one can take that away from her. But realizing that vision through legislation or executive action requires discipline, persistence and rigor.
To return to stating the obvious, these are attributes that Palin lacks.

Now I have a feeling that there will be more of this to come soon because, as we all know, the Villagers LOVE a good meme. But maybe for once its a good thing because they will be finally catching up to what the overwhelming majority of the country has known for years. And that is that the Republican Party is now run by people who are batshit crazy.

It is what it is.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah I think this officially settles the debate about the GOP being an official political party in America. Their ideas are widely unpopular, they have not one ounce of evidence to point suggesting they are fiscally conservative or even morally valued in any way. It's time to move on with health care reform and putting Americans back to work.


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