Green Room

The Palin Qualifications

posted at 6:51 pm on November 9, 2009 by

Writing on his website, which used to be called “New Majority” until he got tired of people laughing at him, David Frum published an essay called “The Palin Fantasy” over the weekend. Even as the House of Representatives was preparing to pass the most blatantly unconstitutional assault on America’s freedom in Congressional history, Frum found something really outrageous to write about: Matthew Continetti’s admiring essay on Sarah Palin’s populist appeal. It’s a good thing Frum has his priorities in order. We wouldn’t want Palin to get into office and drop a few trillion dollars of unsustainable debt on us.

Frum disputes Palin’s populist appeal by citing some poll numbers:

According to Gallup, 63% of Americans say they would never consider voting for her. By a margin of 62%-31% Americans rate Palin “unqualified” to serve as president – by far the worst score for any leading Republican.

In comparison, only 51% of Americans say they would never consider voting for Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee – and a plurality of Americans rate the two as “qualified”: 50-36 say Huckabee is qualified, 49-39 say Romney is qualified.

This is an important point, because poll numbers never change, especially for private citizens who haven’t declared any intention to run for office, three years before the elections. How often to polls have to shift, or produce completely inaccurate numbers, before people stop trying to use them to shape the reality they supposedly measure? A nation looking for confident, visionary leadership is not going to look down and notice David Frum waving a spreadsheet of poll numbers.

I doubt many of the respondents to that Gallup poll could specify exactly what the “qualifications” for the President are. It’s a singular position, with qualifications that change based on current events, and the mood of the electorate. I suspect the electorate of 2012 will be looking for someone who isn’t a “community organizer” with a shady past and zero governing experience, riding a wave of uncritical media adulation and touting an education at elite universities. Palin doesn’t have the only resume that fits the bill, but nobody else’s resume is selling millions of copies at the moment.

Given the difficulty in itemizing the exact “qualifications” for President, and the painfully thin portfolio of the current occupant of the White House, a poll pronouncing the former governor of Alaska “unqualified” is really measuring the effectiveness of crude media caricatures from 2008. Palin isn’t currently running for anything, so people who don’t follow politics closely are left with the afterimage of her savage treatment in the last campaign burned into their memories. That might change when people read her book, and follow her appearances on the book tour, but otherwise I wouldn’t expect much movement in her poll numbers unless she actually tosses her hat in the ring. Why would disengaged voters think of her as anything but a celebrity author until then?

Comparing Palin’s “qualification” ratings to Romney or Huckabee is a little silly, because neither of them took the kind of pounding she did. The Left’s supply of anti-Mormon bigotry remains locked in the toxic waste dump of its soul, where it will remain until Romney looks like he’s going to win the Republican nomination. Huckabee seems to be carefully laying the groundwork for a 2012 run, but right now he could interview live extraterrestrials on his Fox show without pulling a fraction of the sustained media attention Palin continues to receive. Much of this attention is negative, but any principled Republican who thinks he would draw positive media coverage is fantasizing more than the most ardent Palin supporter.

Speaking of fantasies, Frum figures he’s the red pill that will awaken Palin supporters to the hopeless, blasted wasteland of the real world:

Palin supporters have constructed an alternative reality in which their heroine is wildly cheered by the American yeomanry, and despised only by a small coterie of sherry-drinking snobs. No contrary evidence, no matter how overwhelming and uncontradicted, can alter this view: not the collapse in Palin’s support in just 5 weeks in 2008, not the statistical studies that show her as the only vice presidential nominee in ticket to have hurt her ticket, not her rampant unpopularity with American women, not her own flinching from a second encounter with the Alaskan electorate.

That isn’t a glass of sherry gripped in David Frum’s sweaty fist, Palinistas. It’s a mug of scalding hot coffee, and it’s going right down your throats. Personally, I’m stuck in an alternative reality where a hardcore leftist is running up astronomical deficits and double-digit unemployment, in the service of a liberty-destroying collectivist agenda. I wonder how many hard feelings the voters of 2012 will carry for the woman who gave 110% effort to save us from this little branch in the time line, and has the battle scars to show for it… assuming they can tear themselves away from obsessing over those “statistical studies that show her as the only vice presidential nominee in ticket to have hurt her ticket.”

Frum published a companion piece on his web site, “Saint Sarah” by Napoleon Linardatos. (Get it? She’s an object of religious devotion to her mindless supporters, a little glow-in-the-dark plastic statuette on the dashboard of their limited intellects.) Linardatos zeroes in on the real reason Palin has so many Frum-ious bandersnatches nipping at her ankles:

Since the defeat of the McCain ticket in 2008, Palin as governor failed to make any serious progress despite the fact that she had gained tremendous prominence and influence on the right and that she was at the helm of a conservative state. At the end she decided to resign, 18 months before the end of her term, admitting that she was no longer able to effectively govern the state. It should have been a “mugged by reality” moment for the Palinistas. But for them her resignation was proof of the everlasting prosecution. Palin would leave governing, as the Washington Post reported, because it was “in the best interest of the state and will allow her to more effectively advocate for issues of importance to her, including energy independence and national security.” Those who can’t govern perpetually campaign.

Do you suppose that tsunami of frivolous lawsuits from the Democrat slander machine might have had something to do with her “failure to make any serious progress” as governor? It doesn’t matter to the dutiful scribes of conventional wisdom. When the Washington Post counts a Republican out, David Frum will always be there with a bottle of chloroform, to make sure they don’t get back up. Deviation from the accepted script for Republican political life is dangerous populism.

It would be foolish to suppose Palin could resume a political career without getting asked about her resignation. In fact, the media won’t just ask her about it… they’ll argue with her about it. She gives every sign of understanding that. One of her best qualifications for high office is her demonstrated ability to set aside ego and emotion, to learn from her mistakes.

Another of Palin’s qualifications is her relationship with her supporters. Contrary to the usual lazy dismissal, they’re not brimming with the kind of blind faith that put Barack Obama in office. Of course they like her. I’d be tempted to say every major politician is well-liked by their supporters, but I haven’t been able to forget about John Kerry yet. I’ve read a lot of blog posts and comments from enthusiastic Palin supporters, and they generally don’t strike me as hypnotized by the glory of her inevitable victory. They like what she says, they like her personally, and they take every opportunity to encourage her to run for office. Dismissing the ability to inspire such respect and affection as a liability is remarkably wrong-headed.

Palin has developed a remarkable knack for saying all the things President Obama should be saying, at any given moment. While Obama was serving as the warm-up act for anti-American and anti-Semitic nutjobs at the United Nations, Palin spoke of her country’s proud tradition of liberty and capitalism in Hong Kong. While Obama pondered whether the ruins of the Berlin Wall would make a suitable backdrop for his magnificence, Palin wrote of the twilight struggle between Ronald Reagan’s America and the Evil Empire… and wasn’t shy about naming both the heroes and villains.

Palin’s qualifications are not merely academic. She’s been a lonely pair of boots on the ground, in conflicts where most of her presumptive rivals have been content to either sit on the sidelines or follow her lead. She’s demonstrated a willingness to take risks, and stand her ground under fire. Those are qualities Republican voters will be looking for, if they want a President who can do more than just negotiate lower monthly payments on the lethally overdrawn American Distress card.

The mocking dismissal of Palin as a pity fetish for her faithful worshipers has it exactly backward. Many of her strident critics enjoy using her as a voodoo doll to insult her supporters. They’re the real targets of accommodating “moderates” hoping to be chosen as valets to a permanent socialist ruling class. They’re the reason David Frum perches on his dreary web site, furiously scribbling equations that prove they don’t exist. Behind the endless nattering about Sarah Palin’s qualifications for President is the assertion that her supporters aren’t qualified to vote.

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Comments

Frum is becoming psychotic over Palin. In some profound way she must really terrify him.

rrpjr on November 9, 2009 at 7:32 PM

Palin’s Bugs.
Frum is Daffy.
Look at the relationship that way and you can figure out where all the obsession and anger on David’s part is coming from.

jon1979 on November 9, 2009 at 7:51 PM

Frum is beginning to remind me of Andrew Halcro, a person who is so stuck on the tree and can’t see the forest.

He’s a fruitcake.

His website is funny because it has so few people reading it, and its comments are few and lack any depth.

I almost feel sorry for the schmuck.

There are only so many people you encounter in life that are so infinitely and embarrassingly wrong time after time.

Sapwolf on November 9, 2009 at 8:31 PM

Frum is …..

“He’s a real nowhere man. Sitting in his nowhere land. Making all his nowhere plans for nobody.”

Sapwolf on November 9, 2009 at 8:32 PM

Well written Dr. Zero. Love your stuff!

Annietxgrl on November 9, 2009 at 8:33 PM

Frum would not be the first lib writer to bash a conservative politician. That the left is not only staying with the Sarah bashing a year after the presidential election, months after her decision to let the people of the state of Alaska not be distracted by all the legal entanglements brought to her door, speaks to her continuing threat to the left.

From either side of the political spectrum there will be a hobgoblin to fear, to want vanquished. During the 1980 election between the former Democrat Ronald Reagan, and the current Democrat Jimmy Carter, Carter’s best assault was to scare voters with the accusation that Reagan would threaten world peace, threaten the social entitlements of the previous 50 years. Reagan was the boogeyman.

Sarah will remain a threat to the lib status quo. Her very existence is anathema to them. It must scare them to their visceral core to think that she may obtain an office high enough to do what Reagan did: lower taxes, demolish 200 entitlement programs, and encourage the American people to enjoy some freedom from government, making their own way rather than have the government make it for them.

There may or may not be another Berlin wall available to knock down three years from now. But there will with great certainty be taxes to be abated, social programs to be reigned in, and a large number of conservative Americans tired of the endless chicanery coming out of Washington.

Robert17 on November 9, 2009 at 8:44 PM

This post has been promoted to HotAir.com.

Comments have been closed on this post but the discussion continues here.

Allahpundit on November 9, 2009 at 8:57 PM

I doubt many of the respondents to that Gallup poll could specify exactly what the “qualifications” for the President are. It’s a singular position, with qualifications that change based on current events, and the mood of the electorate. I suspect the electorate of 2012 will be looking for someone who isn’t a “community organizer” with a shady past and zero governing experience, riding a wave of uncritical media adulation and touting an education at elite universities. Palin doesn’t have the only resume that fits the bill, but nobody else’s resume is selling millions of copies at the moment.

QOTD!

cs89 on November 9, 2009 at 8:58 PM

This post has been promoted to HotAir.com.

Comments have been closed on this post but the discussion continues here.

Allahpundit on November 9, 2009 at 8:57 PM

Uh, where?

OhioCoastie on November 9, 2009 at 9:18 PM

Uh, where?

OhioCoastie on November 9, 2009 at 9:18 PM

I’ve noticed that GreenRoom promotions take a few minutes to a few hours to show up on the main page, at least on my computers. And, the “closed comments” are apparently not actually closed.

Not a computer whiz, just something I’ve noticed. FWIW.

cs89 on November 9, 2009 at 9:25 PM

“Those who can’t govern perpetually campaign.” Hey, I thought Lindardatos was writing about Sarah Palin–why did he switch to talking about Obama???

fourofhearts on November 9, 2009 at 11:26 PM

someone who isn’t a “community organizer” with a shady past and zero governing experience, riding a wave of uncritical media adulation and touting an education at elite universities

From your keyboard to God’s ears!

Howard Portnoy on November 10, 2009 at 12:04 PM

Frum’s perfect ticket:

John McCain for president and John McCain for vice-president.

Seriously, we just tried it his way in 2008. Also in 1992. And 1976. And the common thread is… defeat!

Here’s my bumper sticker: Obama in ’08…Palin in ’09!

Noel on November 10, 2009 at 8:13 PM

I voted for HER, not McAmnesty…
I’ll do so again, and again.
I am fairly certain no one will catch her with a freezer full of cash.
She’s smart, conservative, does not flinch under fire and stands her ground.
From the time her name was announced, the left has done nothing but attack this woman, and it continues on today, when she’s really not running for any office and her bully-pulpit is a simple facebook page.
They must REALLY be afraid of her, and they probably should be.
When she took a stand in NY-23, it went viral, that’s when I learned what was going on. (The New York RINO needs to give back the money.)
Just my .02, your milage may vary…

docjohn52 on November 10, 2009 at 8:45 PM

What a beautifully written piece — Dr. Zero is a gem.

Frum is an irrelevant elitist. The man doesn’t realize how no one is listening to his tired rants against Sarah Palin.

Richard Romano on November 10, 2009 at 8:52 PM