Saturday, September 03, 2011

Does John Fund Have a Political Tin Ear?

Guess we'll find out soon enough if John Fund has a political tin ear since Governor Sarah Palin has indicated that she will make her decision about running in the Republican presidential primary by the end of this month.

Despite Palin's timeline, John Fund has predicted that Palin will not enter the Republican presidential primary but will endorse Governor Rick Perry. He and Matt Continetti are out on the same limb that Palin will not run, though Continetti has a lot more snark and a lot less firmness in his take.

I like John Fund and think he does good work. We'll see if he's as good at predicting as he is at reporting. Though it's interesting to speculate on what makes a reporter known for doing careful research before releasing a story stake his reputation on an unnecessary prediction when he admits he has no first-hand evidence.
"At the risk of being accused of misleading people, let me state that Sarah Palin isn’t running for president.

"No, I don’t have 'inside information,' other than that Sarah Palin has had the time of her life playing the media and political class like a fiddle by making them respond to her every Twitter twitch."
Ricochet has a post up on Fund's article. I'm partial to Peter Robinson over there (as well as his Uncommon Knowledge interview series on the National Review site).

Peter Robinson won me over in his book on Reagan. Robinson was a Reagan speech writer, and the book describes not only Robinson's experiences as a White House speech writer, but ten lessons of life he learned from Reagan. What is especially interesting is that though Robinson admires Reagan, even loves him, and obviously thinks he was a great president, an undercurrent in the book is the struggle to come out and say that Reagan was really, really smart.

Robinson is not an elitist. Still, he has to phrase the things he learned from Reagan in terms of wise lessons in how to live life. Robinson knows his intellectual colleagues would have laughed him out of town if he had said Reagan was brilliant. (Look how long it took for Lincoln to be thought brilliant.)

But brilliant is as brilliant does. Ending the decades long Cold War without firing a shot and bringing the economy back from a misery index (inflation + unemployment) of 20.76 under President Jimmy Carter to 9.57 at the end of Reagan's presidency is nothing short of brilliant.

Robinson's love for Reagan (way before President Obama made it cool for the intellectual class to admire Reagan) and his polite, even caring questioning when he interviews people make him special. He even tries to help his guests climb down from over the top negative statements about others as he did in his interview with Christopher Hitchens (described in chapter four of his book) and with Claire Berlinski (in a 2010 Uncommon Knowledge interview).

Robinson doesn't seem to have a mean or snarky bone in him. I highly recommend How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life. Robinson, James Lileks and Rob Long make a good interviewing/commenting team on the Ricochet podcasts.

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