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.
This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
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