Wednesday, May 11, 2011

John Podhoretz and Stupid Conservatism

William Jacobson of Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion nails John Podhoretz for piling on and unnecessary roughness. Or what in normal parlance might be called stupid conservatism.
"Zero tolerance is my position on cheap shots at Sarah Palin from the right.

"I don't expect people to like her or support her, but piling on is unforgivable to me because it just feeds the mainstream media, entertainment industry, and left-blogosphere beasts who will turn with a fury on whichever candidate Republicans nominate.

"Which brings me to John Podhoretz's post at Commentary, Palin and the Curse of a Thin Skin, in which Podhoretz compares Palin's career to the drug addicted self-destruction of former Yankee Darryl Strawberry."

. . .

"So back to Podhoretz, here is the summary paragraph (emphasis mine):
'In some ways, the story of Palin is a story of temptation. Rather than sticking to her guns and deepening her political credentials and her knowledge base, she embraced her celebrity instead. And in doing so, she didn’t defeat her critics and enemies; she capitulated to them. Listen, it’s her life and her fortune and she is free to do what she wishes with it. And there’s no telling what the future holds for anyone in America. But she had and has more raw political talent than anyone I’ve ever seen, and, alas, as phenoms go, it looks like she is headed for a Darryl Strawberry-like playing career.'
"Podhoretz's explanation, much like that of Green, pays only passing attention to the unprecedented and relentless attacks on Palin since the moment she was nominated. Attacks joined in with glee from a broad swath of the media, and most importantly, the entertainment industry which to this day cannot resist mocking Palin.

"Rather than a thin skin, Palin showed a mental toughness which few if any politicians could muster in the face of the cultural, political and journalistic forces aligned against her from the get-go.

"By using the analogy of the Darryl Strawberry, who truly self destructed from drug addiction, Podhoretz not only uses a bad analogy, he piles on with a cheap shot.

"And I have zero tolerance for that."
Governor Palin has shown a mental toughness in the face of withering, unrelenting attacks not only on Palin herself (including supposed complicity in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords) but on her children(!) as well. Palin has also been busy putting forth clear policy statements on everything from energy and health care policy and winning elections to national economic solvency and key parameters on when to use American military force.

Professor Jacobson is right that Palin has shown mental toughness when confronted with unprecedented personal attacks. She has also shown both mental toughness and acuity in focusing on public policy and how to lead the nation forward.

Interesting that Palin, who Podhoretz sees as having "capitulated" to her critics and enemies rather than "sticking to her guns and deepening her political credentials and her knowledge base", has been published in serious newspapers and journals like The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, National Review and USA Today--the latest article published just last December. Not to mention that her speeches, Facebook postings and even tweets are mined by top national journalists for political and policy content. Did Ronald Reagan get that kind of serious pre-presidential treatment? Or even Barack Obama on such a wide range of serious issues? Not a bad showing for someone who supposedly has "capitulated".

And why capitulation seems apparent to John Podhoretz just now, after a very successful speech in India, meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and clear annunciation of the Palin doctrine on use of U.S. military force, is anyone's guess.

Podhoretz deserved Professor Jacobson's (as well as Mark Levin's) smackdown. But, if he won't listen to them, maybe he should re-read his father, Norman's take.

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