Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Victor Davis Hanson: Palin, Reagan and the Fears of Elites (liberal and conservative)

Victor Davis Hanson in The War Against Palin Goes On and On and . . . spends the lion's share of the column skewering the "media elite" who claim to know what presidential talk sounds like.
"Is the problem with Palin that she uses inflammatory language far too loosely given her position of responsibility? Of course, evocation of 'enemies, punishing, kicking ass, relegation to backseat, knives, guns, getting angry, getting in their face, hostage takers, trigger fingers, and tearing up' does not suit a national public figure and former vice presidential candidate. Oops, those allusions were Barack Obama’s, not Sarah Palin’s."
. . .
"Fine, but she thought people in Austria speak some weird language called “Austrian” and she pronounces 'corpsmen''corpse-men' as if soldiers were some sort of walking dead, and she thinks there are 57 states, and she … sorry, all that and much more was Barack Obama’s, and they were slips after a weary day’s work, not 'deep' reflections of reality."
Dr. Hanson ends with a bit of mockery at "sober and judicious conservative thinkers" who say Palin cannot be elected president.
"But could [Sarah Palin] ever win a presidency? The conventional wisdom is no. I say conventional wisdom in the sense of sober and judicious conservative thinkers who raise eyebrows at her exuberance and suspect in an hour meeting they could stump her, in Couric-like fashion, on everything from Balkan fault lines to the work of Edmund Burke.

"Someone like a President Palin could really blow it with a hickish bow to a Saudi Arabian autocrat or a rambling apology about American sins in Turkey of all places, or nominate some nut who would have a Truther past or resort to racism or a yokel who would brag about her hero Mao.

"But more germanely, Palin need not run for the presidency in 2012 in the manner commentator and newly elected governor Reagan did not until 1968, and did not successfully until 1980 — all the while establishing a populist conservative persona as hated — and successful — during his near two-decade pre-presidential career as a younger Palin might be in the two decades ahead.
Lots of conservative ears must be burning out there. With not a lot to swing back with at someone like Dr. Hanson who makes their intellectual background, not to mention wisdom, rather scant and gray in comparison.

It's interesting that Hanson mentions Reagan's 1968 presidential run, less than two years into Reagan's governorship. Neither running and losing in 1968 nor 1976 damaged Reagan. They made him stronger for his 1980 successful run.

It sounds like Hanson might prefer that Palin not run in 2012, and one can see how sitting out this election might help her. Imagine all that stored up scorn on the elite/establishment right and hate on the left having no place to go but to the hapless Republicans who do run. The extreme criticism genie is already out of the bottle for the 2012 election. It might be entertaining to see all the smashing about (except to the families and friends of the soon to be crushed second tier conservative candidates).

But, does anyone seriously think that Palin's sitting out the 2012 election will turn conservative and liberal media elite cross-hairs off her? No.

They know what Dr. Hanson and you and I know. It isn't the presidency that makes Sarah Palin dangerous to them. It's her effective championing of a deep constitutional conservatism. Imagine! Living by our principles! Eek! That's why even the "real" conservatives among her critics hope she will withdraw to the role of fundraising (RNC chair!) and campaigning for Republican candidates. They can't stand the thought that Governor Palin will continue to drive and define the conservative agenda. Dr. Hanson:
"Palin is scary not so much in 2012, but that she could be around — and be around in an evolving way — for a long time to come."
By God's grace in protecting her life, this woman will not go away as a major power in American political life for a long, long time.

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