September 10, 2011
Everyone ought to read more Yotsuba&!
For those who dare, hit "more" to get on with the politics...
UPDATE: The post below the fold has been updated.
Now that our lefty readers have punched in their monitors and smashed their keyboards against their desks, the rest of us can have a talk.
This piece from Anand Giridharadas in the Old Grey Lady has been cited quite a bit around the rightosphere lately. The author seems to think that Sarah Palin's Indianola speech represents something new for her, though it is nothing of the sort. He does get to the heart of one problem though.
Let us begin by confessing that, if Sarah Palin surfaced to say something intelligent and wise and fresh about the present American condition, many of us would fail to hear it.
He then relates how listened past the first part of her speech, (which like the openings of most Palin speeches now is full of cultural bromides and jabs at the media) and listened to the rest of her speech. In particular, this speech is railing against Corporatism, or as she puts it in layman's terms "crony capitalism".
She made three interlocking points. First, that the United States is now governed by a "permanent political class,” drawn from both parties, that is increasingly cut off from the concerns of regular people. Second, that these Republicans and Democrats have allied with big business to mutual advantage to create what she called "corporate crony capitalism.” Third, that the real political divide in the United States may no longer be between friends and foes of Big Government, but between friends and foes of vast, remote, unaccountable institutions (both public and private).
Giridharadas goes over the speech in detail in his article. The speech can be seen in its entirety here.
Professor Jacobson has additional thoughts on this here and here as well.
Palin has also endorsed the Paul Ryan plan which, while far from perfect, is the closest thing to a path to fiscal sanity that is being seriously proposed. Aside from Cain, she is the only one to do this*.
Palin is despised by many in the Republican establishment, not just because of her poll numbers (which are, to be polite...grim) but because she DID kick out a lot of corruption in Alaska. She is opposed in principle to machine politics such as the K-Street project...and that is an untenable position for many in the establishment, hence the backstabbing and sabotage by Republicans. We haven't had a president or a serious presidential candidate saying the things that Palin says since Eisenhower's farewell speech. That warning went unheeded and we now face similar problems in areas far removed from military and industry, and even more complex.
She has shown that feminism need not be dishonest victimhood wrapped in misandry.
Palin has done something else that appeals to me a great deal despite its awful optics. She's walked away from power...three times. Her resignation from the AK oil and gas commission, rather than turn a blind eye to corruption is well documented, as is her resignation as governor. This last is a particularly damaging action in relation to future ambitions, but I believe it was the only ethical option she had. A group of Leftists had filed a series of ethics complaints (all fatuous) and the Governor was forced to defend against them. This took hundreds of thousands of dollars and as the number of complaints grew, an increasing number of hours out of the day. Due to a quirk of Alaskan law** no Legal Defense Fund could be used. Time spent running to and from court meant that it became nigh impossible to fulfill the responsibilities of the office, and as long as she was in office the number of complaints were likely to multiply...because there are a lot of people who really really hated Palin and were deeply afraid of her ability to motivate a segment of the population they loathed and had long thought of no consequence. So, rather than cling to power Palin resigned. She did what was right for her state as humiliating as it was, and even though she had done nothing wrong...her career was over. She had still managed to clean up the state government, negotiate the big pipeline with Canada and save the New Galena Power Plant from luddites.
...and then came the third time. After Rick Santelli's rant and the Tea Party's emergence, Palin could have puled a Perot and formed a third party. Her fans are as passionate (and occasionally obnoxious) as the Ron Paul crowd. They saw in her someone who was not just a poseur but one of them, and attacks on her by the defacto urbane aristocracy and their talk of trailer-trash, were interpreted (rightly) as attacks on themselves. They were willing to leave the GOP, republicans poll ratings were in the toilet and it was Palin more than anyone else who got these people to caucus with the Republicans.
The T.E.A. PARTY started out as an excersize in cognitive dissonance, with people ranting about the insane, spending while holding signs talking about their SSI benefits...It is now one of the most interesting and hopeful developments the American Polity has seen in recent years. It has become a debate on the Constitution, the role of government and civics at all levels. Ryans Plan is being looked at, and the Ponzi-esque nature of Social Security is being talked about in presidential debates. This is third rail stuff. The T.E.A. Party is a holistic movement and decentralized, but Palin played a major role in its current success.
Palins resignation as governor risked dealing her political career a death blow but she seems to have done it because it was the right thing to do.
Her crusade against cronyism means she has daggers drawn on her from all sides.
Currently she polls somewhere south of Alfred E. Neuman.
So yeah, she has a snowballs chance in a blast furnace...
But you know...if she WERE to jump in, and skateboard down the third rail of politics on some sort of quixotic death or glory run ... well it could be most interesting.
She's been completely vetted...
Her message is actually far more bipartisan than is supposed...
...and, I think she'd feed Obama his own testicles in a debate.
I wouldn't be upset in the least if she jumped in.
As for those who get the vapors at the thought of her so much as showing up, well....
UPDATE: CATO fellow Dan Mitchell has similar thoughts here (and a video to go with them)
*Michelle Bachman has said she would as well, but she's backed away from it saying she'd "put an asterisk on my support"
**The Alaskan Law has since been changed but it, by law, could not be repealed until the current governor had left.
Posted by: ubu at Sun Sep 11 00:37:29 2011 (GfCSm)
I don't know, she's young yet, by political standards. Maybe a sojourn in the wilderness might give her that "bottom" which a statesman needs. As it is, her lack of organization and tendency to act as a strange attractor is unwelcome.
And I do believe that the Times is suddenly developing Strange New Respect for Palin because they're hoping to maximize Republican entropy in the primary season. A veritable golden apple of division, as it were.
Posted by: Mitch H. at Mon Sep 12 14:40:43 2011 (jwKxK)
Honestly, I think she accomplishes far more as a kingmaker then she could in reaching for the crown herself. In going for the crown, she would have to sell herself, and the venom that is out there for her would be at it's most potent.
She has several things working against her in a presidential run that are muted in her current role:
1. Everything that forced her out of the governorship, she would get 10000x worse as president. Leaving raises a real question about her ability to stay the course in the presidency. If she got the presidency and resigned, she would do enormous damage to the causes she supports. In her current role, the attacks are blunted a lot more.
2. I know a lot of people who have bought into the propaganda that she is dumb and stupid. I don't agree, having looked into her record, but these are ordinary people who are more blinded by the stereotype made of her then I would have thought. She would have to overcome this stereotype while it was being viciously reinforced.
3. She would have to take policy stances that may not always be popular with her base to attract a wider base of support and get elected. This would dilute and weaken her message.
I think she's better and does more where she is then she could in running. Personally, I would respect her walking away from that power more then I would succumbing to it's lures when the odds are so stacked against her.
Posted by: StargazerA5 at Fri Sep 16 05:36:19 2011 (lZbWj)
I do share most of your concerns. Note the title of the post.
However, your point 1 is actually non-applicable to the oval office. Unlike the Alaska Governor circa 2009, the president can have a legal defense fund and it is not nearly so easy to throw up utterly fatuous ethics complaints. There is a whole office dedicated to dealing with such matters while allowing presidents to do their jobs. Additionally, it is rare indeed for the POTUS to have to attend a court proceeding and therefore eat into time allotted to executive duties, the latter being a big reason she had to step down.
So performance in the office is not a concern to me.
If she were to jump into the race, I think she'd add quite a bit to the conversation. Gingrich, who has less of a chance than she does certainly has.
The big worry is that (as you say) that she has been so thoroughly defamed that, if she were to get the nomination, the pucker factor leading up to the election would be quite high indeed. I have no doubt she can win the debates handilly, but that might not be enough to overcome preconceived notions or the visceral class bigotry I've seen directed at her.
OTOH, she is despised by the K-Street establishment types of both parties. This is tactically a complication, but from a civics perspective strikes me as a feature and not a bug. It feeds into that aforementioned slim chance that she could actually unify a broad coalition if she could get her message out. I additionally think that occasionally electing someone who hails from a background far removed from the Ivy's is good for the republic, not only because of the very real notion that such credentialism is becoming a sort of aristocracy, but because those few colleges seem to have a disturbing homogeneity in their worldview that is quite dismissive of the concerns of the citizenry as a whole and seems to limit their options. Again this is an argument concerned mainly with civics and idealism rather than the long odds it implies. I have a soft spot for the Quixotic.
Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Fri Sep 16 15:13:09 2011 (EJaOX)
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