The Conservative Intelligencia on Palin •UPDATED•

I thought this series of comments quite powerful when taken together, and potentially useful

David Frum:

I have been disturbed about the choice from the start, as you know. And I have not seen any reason to feel less disturbed ... She really could be president! And here's where my fellow conservatives really worry me. They are so attracted by the symbolism of the selection that they show no concern -- never mind for her executive competence -- even for her views. id_frum_and_kurt_andersen_o.html


Rich Lowry:

"The foreign-policy session was a white-knuckle affair. She barely got through it and showed no knowledge more than an inch deep. What she did demonstrate was amazing self-possession. She somehow bluffed her way through the Bush doctrine question. Gibson apparently didn't want to go into full "gotcha" territory by asking flat-out if she knew what it is. And then he muddled things further with his dubious definition of it, so she was never truly nailed and there was enough ambiguity there for conservatives to defend her. The fact still remains that she very likely didn't know any of the possible definitions of the Bush doctrine. I can't imagine if Obama had picked Gov. Tim Kaine and he had had a similar moment, conservatives would have rushed to say that the Bush doctrine is just too amorphous and complicated for him to know anything about it. Palin seemed weak on economic and budgetary policy too, talking in the vaguest generalities. " xNDA

Rod Dreher:

Just saw Palin talking about domestic issues on ABC World News Tonight. Depressing. Programmed, just like last night. Charlie Gibson asked her twice what she and McCain would do about the economy different from Bush. Answer: not much. Here's the Palin economic plan:

Get government out of the way of the private sector. Cut taxes. Control spending. And when Gibson pressed her, she added "reform agency oversight. "

Entitlement spending reform? Pass. They're going to cut spending by rooting out -- wait for it -- waste, fraud and abuse. (This year's GOP buzz word for that hoary phrase: "finding efficiencies.")

To quote the latest McCain commercial about Obama: "That's not change. That's more of the same." 8/09/latest-abc-palin-interview-not.html

Ross Douthat:

Sarah The Unready

13 Sep 2008 11:30 am

Now that we've seen the entirety of the Palin-Gibson tete-a-tete, I concur with Rich Lowry and Rod Dreher. The most that can be said in her defense is that she kept her cool and avoided any brutal gaffes; other than that, she seemed about an inch deep on every issue outside her comfort zone. Yes, the questions were tougher than the ones that a Tim Kaine or Tim Pawlenty probably would have been handed, but they were all questions that a vice-presidential nominee needs to be able to answer. And there's no way to look at her performance as anything save supporting evidence for the non-hysterical critique of her candidacy - that it's just too much, too soon - and a splash of cold water for those of us with high hopes for her future on the national stage." ves/2008/09/sarah_the_unready.php

Dan Drezner


Politico's David Paul Kuhn writes about the dog not barking among GOP foreign policy heavyweights:

The acclaim for the vice presidential nominee is all but deafening within the GOP, except in one small but influential corner: the party's foreign policy establishment. Among that mandarin class, the response to Palin's nomination has been underwhelming, marked by distinctly faint praise or flat-out silence.

Having chatted with a few members of this mandarin class, I would describe the range of opinion about Palin's foreign policy bona fides as varying from "underwhelmed" to "you gotta be f#$%ing kidding me?"

What's really disturbing, however, is this Bob Kagan quote:

"I don't take this elite foreign policy view that only this anointed class knows everything about the world," he said. "I'm not generally impressed that they are better judges of American foreign policy experience than those who have Palin's experience."

This is one of those head-scratching comments when the only question is whether Kagan is being completely cynical or whether he actually believes that expertise is irrelevant. Given the GOP attack line just three weeks ago was about Obama's inexperience, and given that Bob goes to the trouble of writing and researching actual books, I have to go with cynical.

Question to other GOP policy wonks: is it possible to support a candidate that campaigns on the notion that expertise is simply irrelevant? 

Andrew Sullivan (Who, it should be noted, is considered a lapsed conservative by many):

For me, this surreal moment - like the entire surrealism of the past ten days - is not really about Sarah Palin or Barack Obama or pigs or fish or lipstick. It's about John McCain. The one thing I always thought I knew about him is that he is a decent and honest person. When he knows, as every sane person must, that Obama did not in any conceivable sense mean that Sarah Palin is a pig, what did he do? Did he come out and say so and end this charade? Or did he acquiesce in and thereby enable the mindless Rovianism that is now the core feature of his campaign?

So far, he has let us all down. My guess is he will continue to do so. And that decision, for my part, ends whatever respect I once had for him. On core moral issues, where this man knew what the right thing was, and had to pick between good and evil, he chose evil. When he knew that George W. Bush's war in Iraq was a fiasco and catastrophe, and before Donald Rumsfeld quit, McCain endorsed George W. Bush against his fellow Vietnam vet, John Kerry in 2004. By that decision, McCain lost any credibility that he can ever put country first. He put party first and his own career first ahead of what he knew was best for the country.

And when the Senate and House voted overwhelmingly to condemn and end the torture regime of Bush and Cheney in 2006, McCain again had a clear choice between good and evil, and chose evil.

And then, because he could see he was going to lose, ten days ago, he threw caution to the wind and with no vetting whatsoever, picked a woman who, by her decision to endure her own eight-month pregnancy of a Down Syndrome child in public, that he was going to reignite the culture war as a last stand against Obama. That's all that is happening right now: a massive bump in the enthusiasm of the Christianist base. This is pure Rove.

Yes, McCain made a decision that revealed many appalling things about him. In the end, his final concern is not national security. No one who cares about national security would pick as vice-president someone who knows nothing about it as his replacement. No one who cares about this country's safety would gamble the security of the world on a total unknown because she polled well with the Christianist base. No person who truly believed that the surge was integral to this country's national security would pick as his veep candidate a woman who, so far as we can tell anything, opposed it at the time.

McCain has demonstrated in the last two months that he does not have the character to be president of the United States. And that is why it is more important than ever to ensure that Barack Obama is the next president. The alternative is now unthinkable. And McCain - no one else - has proved it. e_daily_dish/2008/09/mccains-integri.htm l

UPDATE> A fresh one from Sullivan:
For some reason I cannot find the transcript of the third Gibson interview, although I watched it slack-jawed online this morning. In my judgment, she is close to a parody of a politician who cannot tell the truth and has nothing substantive to offer on policy whatsoever. When she isn't lying, she is bullshitting. I'll deal with that over the weekend, examining in close detail her actual answers and how they don't tell us anything substantive about what she would do as vice-president. I'm going to fisk the interview thoroughly. But it seems to me that, before I do that, I should put on the table what I think was the real news in the interview. On two occasions, she said:

"When you're running for office, your life's an open book."

Thanks, governor, for being a lone voice of sanity in this, at least.

Tags: Douthat, Dreher, Drezner, Frum, Lowry, Palin, Sullivan (all tags)



Re: The Conservative Intelligencia on Palin

The thing is, those among the conservative punditocracy who are still defending the Palin choice are doing so not because they believe, on an intellectual level, that she's the right person for the job (see: Noonan, Peggy). They're just doing their job: which is to manipulate those members of the republican base to support the republican ticket, and to try to reach as many others as they can rope in with their dubious rhetoric.

They're comfortable doing it because they're probably less worried than the rest of us about a President Palin: in fact, they're probably thrilled with the idea of an extreme right-wing puppet whose gender they could exploit in order to ward off criticism, who'd be controlled by a set of advisors determined to advance a hard-right agenda, while the government (including the justice and interior departments as well as the judiciary) could be stacked with conservative true-believers who will continue to disable and cripple the very concept of democratic government.

This really is a watershed year. We must defeat these people.

by BobzCat 2008-09-13 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: The Conservative Intelligencia on Palin

I agree.

I do think a very effective ad (or independent youtube... and wanna be film makers out there?) could be based on these quotes.

by wrb 2008-09-13 12:28PM | 0 recs
Yes, there are some

Who are intellectually honest.  I give Ross Douthat credit, for example.  People who are willing to call a spade a spade always get points in my estimation.

by Reaper0Bot0 2008-09-13 11:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, there are some

And there are too many who aren't on both sides.

I've said it before: this election might result in a new alignment: the intellectually honest of varying philosophies v. the dishonest & Rovian

by wrb 2008-09-13 02:08PM | 0 recs
Re: The Conservative Intelligencia on Palin

The Palin pick exposed both her and McCain for what they really are: sheer opportunists.

There's a real bubble about her at the moment is from people of that stripe.  She's a politician built for the age of "Entertainment Tonight" media coverage.  We should call her on that.  'Extra!Extra! Sarah', lol....

by killjoy 2008-09-13 11:18AM | 0 recs
Re: The Conservative Intelligencia on Palin

Even David Brooks has stepped off the Palin bandwagon to reassess- can you imagine, war hawk Brooks  called Palin "awfully aggressive" when talking about Russia in her interview with Gibson!

by skohayes 2008-09-13 02:31PM | 0 recs
Re: The Conservative Intelligencia on Palin

more along the lines of "stupidly aggressive" IMHO, absolutely no consideration of consequences or morality.  

by zerosumgame 2008-09-13 05:38PM | 0 recs
Re: The Conservative Intelligencia on Palin

strange days

by wrb 2008-09-13 02:32PM | 0 recs
Re: The Conservative Intelligencia on Palin

meant for skohays

by wrb 2008-09-13 02:33PM | 0 recs
one suggestion

Excellent excellent compilation.  It's quite powerful to see all of these statements together; honest conservatives are obviously seeing the fraud that is Gov. Palin.  This is awesome.

I wondering though if it might not make sense to take out the Sullivan quotes.

Not that AS isnt a conservative -- I totally agree that he is -- and they are, of course, brilliantly stated comments, ones I agree with in full.  But the fact that he's well-known to have leaned Obama long before the Palin pick, and that he's been so much at the forefront of response to the Palin pick,  might dilute the effectiveness of the full list with readers who are not already persuaded.

I'm thinking of this list as something that can be amazingly useful to forward to independents and others that may have been on the fence until now, particularly folks who somehow have not realized over the last seven years that it is Democratic leaders who have always had the best judgment and ideas with respect to foreign policy matters.  

I may be wrong, but my sense is that without AS, it becomes that much more effective.

(On the other hand, perhaps what makes more sense is just a few words noting Sullivan's status as a something of a "lapsed" conservative. Dunno.)

by YuedoTiko 2008-09-13 03:05PM | 0 recs
Full Disclosure -- I'm no AS fan

Want to note, though I'm a rabid, rabid anti-Sullivanist, so take me with some grains of salt.

(On Palin, I've felt from beginning that AS's flagging of the Trig conspiracy stuff was a huge distraction and a mistake, which allowed them to pivot to victimhood drama and continues to fuel their absurd claim that theres somehow something unfair or "smearing" about the absolutely vital process of uncovering her inumerable and very relevant skeletons-in-the-closet.  But this is of course a totally different issue.)

by YuedoTiko 2008-09-13 03:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Full Disclosure -- I'm no AS fan

replied to you just below

by wrb 2008-09-13 03:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Full Disclosure -- I'm no AS fan

Just saw -- caveat above is perfect.

by YuedoTiko 2008-09-13 03:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Full Disclosure -- I'm no AS fan


I think the beauty of using these quotes in an ad, youtube or whatever is that doing so completely gets around the "Dem meanies are picking on poor Sarah, woman, mother and our girl" thing.

Just let the intelligent and ethical conservatives do it & help them be heard.

by wrb 2008-09-13 03:57PM | 0 recs

by YuedoTiko 2008-09-13 04:01PM | 0 recs
Re: The Conservative Intelligencia on Palin

I think you are probably right for a lot of audiences. I debated putting them is, due to his apostate reputation with (false) conservatives & his unpopularly with Hillary supporters.

They were so strong, however, I thought maybe they were worth it here.

Other opinions?

Anyone come across any other quotes that should be included?

by wrb 2008-09-13 03:18PM | 0 recs
The Conservative Intelligencia

We spent a lot of time pointing out how bad a President Dan Quayle would make, both times.

Just sayin'.

by QTG 2008-09-13 04:03PM | 0 recs
Re: The Conservative Intelligencia

 My point being it didn't determine the outcome either time.

by QTG 2008-09-13 04:03PM | 0 recs
Re: The Conservative Intelligencia

True 'nuff

But DQ was alway a drag on the ticket, or at least not much of a help.

So far Palin has been their balloon.

Popping might be bring them back to earth

by wrb 2008-09-13 04:06PM | 0 recs
Re: The Conservative Intelligencia

I know everybody is caught up with Palin the liar with remarkable unqualifications and inexperience, but the rather dim citizens who are likely to like her are unlikely to respond to facts they won't seek out, but will hear of second hand as 'attacks', which may turn her likers into her defenders. I know how stupid that is, but I think it's true.

Obama can win by continuing to seek voters the way it has worked all along.

It bothers me that so many people are getting so distracted by this Veep deal, and I hope NONE of the distraction rubs off on Obama. The way to deal with McPalin is to tolerate their presence until they lose on election day.

The Press sucks, and I don't have a solution for that.

by QTG 2008-09-13 04:22PM | 0 recs
Re: The Conservative Intelligencia

A fair point, but our attacking Gov. Qualin doesnt preclude the main attack being focused on McCain.  Popping the Palin bubble gradually important too, esp. like this, which is really only doing our part to help bubble pop itself.

On Qualye, worth remembering that the second time we went after him, in 92, was an election that we WON (not that DQ particularly important element of the victory but still).

Also, fact that Dukakis/Bentsen lost shouldnt necessarily be evidence that going after Quayle was a mistake.  "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy" probably won us lots of votes.
My hope for VP debate if the Gov tries to bring up any Hillary comparison:

"Governor, I serve with Hillary Clinton.  I know Hillary Clinton.  Hillary Clinton is a friend of mine.  Governor, you're no Hillary Clinton."

by YuedoTiko 2008-09-13 04:30PM | 0 recs
Re: The Conservative Intelligencia

the segue is easy

"here is what responsible conservatives think about John McCain's choice for vice president"

run the first items

""What does this tell us about John McCains judgement?"

Run the Sullivan

by wrb 2008-09-13 04:46PM | 0 recs
Re: The Conservative Intelligencia

Well, the frenzy is distracting - which, if that was the intent - seems to be working too well on people I thought would have been less likely to be taken in by it.

Pay no more attention to Palin than her qualifications deserve. This election is not about proving her unsuitability for high office. Buy a copy of "Maxed Out" and invite a fence sitter over for dinner and a movie.

by QTG 2008-09-13 04:51PM | 0 recs


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