Saturday, October 18, 2008

Don't Blame Governor Palin

I love Peggy Noonan. She is a brilliant writer and has been one of the most important voices of the conservative movement as far back as her days as a speech writer for President Ronald Reagan. But yesterday she published a column at the Wall Street Journal's website entitled Palin's Failin' that is just wrong. Essentially Ms. Noonan blames Sarah Palin for the failings of the McCain presidential campaign. I felt strongly enough about it to write a (longer than intended) comment at, which I include below.

Peggy - I think you're holding Governor Palin to an unfairly high standard. She's the vice-presidential nominee of the party, not the top of the ticket. It's not for her to set the tone and strategy of the campaign, that's up to Senator McCain. It is Senator McCain who is failing the GOP and the conservatives around the country, although we conservatives never really expected much from him. Of the two candidates on the Republican ticket, it is Palin, not McCain, who excites the party faithful. It is Palin, not McCain who draws the crowds and opens the wallets of the conservative base. Yet you feel she has failed?

As for her relations with the media - what more can she really do? She sat down with Gibson and Couric and they chose to make a mockery of her and of their avowed profession. Rather than perform journalism they performed show trials that would have made the Soviets blush. Whenever she speaks, all the media can report on is what she wore and how she did her hair. If you look through the photos the press pool takes at any of her public events, you'll see numerous pictures of Sarah Palin's feet - more specifically her calves, feet, and shoes. I see very few photos of Joe Biden's feet. The mainstream media in this campaign has completely jettisoned its longstanding support of equality for women and has instead embraced the sexist canard that the Governor of Alaska is just a cute, empty-headed housewife who isn't entitled to be taken seriously. And this is Sarah Palin's fault?

Peggy, you expect so much from Sarah Palin. In fact, you expect more from her than you seem to expect from the Democratic nominee for President. Senator Obama hasn't exactly made a habit of sitting down with critical or even skeptical members of the press corps and providing honest answers to tough questions. Instead he provides platitudes and evasions and relies upon his supporters in the media to spin and shape the reporting in the best possible light. If the American people actually elect this guy they are going to be in for some really big surprises come January, because he has never really been pinned down on what he intends to do. "Change" is a nice campaign promise, because every listener can hear what they want from it. But not all change is good.

It is unfair to blame Governor Palin for not saving John McCain's candidacy. John McCain was always a poor choice to carry the GOP banner. He is a great man and an American hero. But he's not much of a conservative, he's too old, and he's a captive of the Washington establishment. It's to Governor Palin's credit that she was able to create some excitement about his candidacy when there was none before she was selected. John McCain might have been able to find a more "qualified" running mate, but I don't think he could have found a VP nominee that would have actually helped him garner more support from the voters.

Peggy, I share the frustration you must feel that Governor Palin was not able to come into the game from off the bench and save the day for John McCain. But I think it's unfair to label her a failure. John McCain and his campaign managers may have failed (we'll find out soon enough). The "journalists" covering the campaign have certainly failed the American people. They are going to need a long hot shower to wash off the guilt and shame of their partisan behavior when this is over. But Governor Palin did not fail.

And it's not over yet. The Obama campaign is planning their victory party, but they know that they are still vulnerable. They're nervous enough that they are ripping Joe the Plumber to shreds just for having the gall to ask the exalted one a pointed question about taxes. One or two more revealing remarks about "spreading the wealth around" could turn the race around. They're nervous enough that they are still trying to register as many felon and dead people to vote as they can get away with before the FBI knocks on the door. The polls are all in Obama's favor. But the polls are run by the same media organizations that are campaigning openly for Obama. The polls query samples of 800 Democrats and 600 Republicans and shout that Obama has an unassailable 4-point lead. But those are not representative samples of the American electorate.

It's certainly fair to be disappointed that John McCain's campaign has not performed better, that they haven't effectively communicated their message and that they haven't effectively exposed the true agenda of the Obama campaign. But should the blame for that be put at the feet of the old Washington hand and his old Washington handlers? Or should we blame instead the rookie from Alaska?


CKAinRedStateUSA said...

I used to read practically everything of Noonan's the WSJ published.

No more.

She's injected some personal agita, even perhaps jealousy, into her work that has depreciated her work.

wrb said...


Jack said...

We can believe in just words...or really be turned off to them.
Hear the same thing over & over again, you feel it's selling, or that's what they want you to think. I believe in Sarah Palin --
the perfect compliment to McCain.

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree.
I'm a 56' ND Grad living in OC.
I like your posts on football. Don't agree with your politics. Palin was a desperate pick by a desperate man.

Anonymous said...

To the 56' grad living in OC. Maybe you have let too much of the Cali ways rub off on you.
McCain is someone whom I have several differing opinions with. Palin however is a major reason I will vote for the McCain/Palin ticket, along with MCcain's promise to appiont Constitutional Conservative Judges to the Supreme Court.

Anonymous said...

Come on let's take her serious....
She just did SNL.
Was that really necessary AND Powell endorses Obama.

Anonymous said...

Powell for one is no conservative and certainly more of a RINO than Republican.
As far as taking Palin seriously it seems the other side would not go to so much trouble to did up dirt if they didn't take her seriously.
Many people resent Palin because she acts,speaks belives in ways similar to a very large contingent of people outside of major metropolitan areas (where the city dwellers believe inhabitants are low class rubes).
Elections on the Presidential level are becoming more about metroploitan verses rural(dependent on government verses independance from government).

Anonymous said...

I work in DC. I can assure you the Dems are more worried about Palin than they are McCain. She has the same voter effect/curiosity as the One does.

It is not up to the VP to save the campaign. She energized it, and got it to the front despite the crap thrown at her.

We know more about her and Joe the Plumber than we do about the One.

The media wants the One to win. He could kill someone between now and the election, and we would not hear about it.

As for Powell, McCain has 4 other Sec'y of States. Powell's endorsement is no better or worse than any of the others.

James said...

Good posting-as usual from you. Actually, she is the only one with executive experience balancing a budget, employee management etc... Of the four candidates (Pres & VP's) if they were all running for president, I would vote for her. She has shown incredible backbone in the face of an unfair media onslaught and believe that under the pressures of managing and leading this country would be able to stand firm when needed and bend when needed. More importantly, she would know the difference between the two. Wish we had more like her!

Anonymous said...

If photos of her calves feet and shoes offend, (which I agree perpetuate the "she's brain" myth the media would like to us to swallow), why did the Domer himself publish a picture of those same attributes? We know what her calves, feet and shoes look like, we've seen them enough.

~CW~ said...

OC, man, stick to the football, please. If conservatives stop reading every voice that says Palin was a poor choice or that Obama is the right man for the job - Noonan, Buckley, Frum, Smerconish, Hitchens, Sullivan - there's not going to be anyone left for them to read. It was a gamble, and unless things change drastically in the next fortnight (completely possible), it will have backfired completely. And don't tell me Gibson and Couric didn't ask the right questions or embarrassed their professions; not everyone can be Hugh Hewitt or Sean Hannity when in an interview.