“The problem, as far as our political process is concerned, is that half the electorate revels in Palin’s lack of intellectual qualifications. When it comes to politics, there is a mad love of mediocrity in this country. ‘They think they’re better than you!’ is the refrain that (highly competent and cynical) Republican strategists have set loose among the crowd, and the crowd has grown drunk on it once again. ‘Sarah Palin is an ordinary person!’ Yes, all too ordinary…

Ask yourself: how has ‘elitism’ become a bad word in American politics? There is simply no other walk of life in which extraordinary talent and rigorous training are denigrated. We want elite pilots to fly our planes, elite troops to undertake our most critical missions, elite athletes to represent us in competition and elite scientists to devote the most productive years of their lives to curing our diseases. And yet, when it comes time to vest people with even greater responsibilities, we consider it a virtue to shun any and all standards of excellence. When it comes to choosing the people whose thoughts and actions will decide the fates of millions, then we suddenly want someone just like us, someone fit to have a beer with, someone down-to-earth—in fact, almost anyone, provided that he or she doesn’t seem too intelligent or well educated.

I believe that with the nomination of Sarah Palin for the vice presidency, the silliness of our politics has finally put our nation at risk.”

***
“[T]he accusation here is not really that Palin lacks experience; it is that she lacks the right experience. She attended the University of Idaho, entered a beauty contest, joined the NRA and a church where people speak in tongues and was elected to govern a state with few Starbucks. Obama rose quickly from Columbia to Harvard Law, taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago and joined the most exclusive club in America, the Senate. Even with no governing experience, he can claim what might be called ‘elite experience.’ And this is enough for elitists…

Americans who support Palin are not fools, peasants or theocrats. They have reasons, which elites may not agree with, but cannot dismiss. Many are attracted to her because she embodies the values of the American West, which they find superior to the values of coastal elites. This was part of the appeal of Goldwater and Reagan—a log-splitting, range-riding conservatism that emphasizes freedom. (Palin adds moose hunting to the list.) It’s not irrational or simplistic for voters to prefer candidates who reflect their deepest values…

Elitists can be badly wrong. Populists can be resoundingly right. It is values that often make the difference.”

***
“‘What we’re seeing in both campaigns is a fierce determination to win and that principles don’t matter,’ said Heather Mac Donald, a social conservative thinker at the free market Manhattan Institute. ‘There is a lot of populist demagoguery.’…

‘The implosion of anger against anyone – heaven forbid – being elite or having experience that isn’t moose-hunting makes me uncomfortable,’ Mac Donald said. ‘There is no question that I would have preferred someone with business experience in the White House.’…

Mac Donald is considering voting for Obama, even though she fears he is also underqualified. ‘I go back and forth on it. I would not rule it out,’ she said.”

***
“Why does Sarah Palin energize all of us who don’t belong to the gilded leftwing circle? Because she’s us. We sat beside her in class. We hung out after school (might’ve even shared a backseat combat zone on prom night). And now she lives next door, raising her kids.

For the first time since Ronald Reagan, our last great president, we, the people, see a chance that one of us might have a voice in governing our country…

So here’s the message Palin is sending on behalf of the rest of us (the down-market masses Dems love at election time and ignore once the voting’s done): The rule of the snobs is over. It’s time to give one of us a chance to lead.”