September 10, 2008
She has united the Republican base behind McCain's candidacy in a way that few could have predicted. She has energized conservatives. She's attracted more than 15,000 to rallies. And her speech to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul last week has prompted comparisons to Ronald Reagan.These points are very well taken. I started worrying a few days ago that the Right was becoming the thing we hated in the Left about Obama. There's only one problem with that...we actually really haven't. I welcome Sarah Palin getting tough, but fair, questions on immigration and campaign finance reform. If she's wrong, I'll call her out the same way that we called out Sen. McCain. I'm sure many other conservatives would, too. This is a sentiment that, I'm sure is not just held by me. Note how quickly Ed Morrissey aired the claim that she had supported a windfall profits tax against oil companies in Alaska (important, though I've heard it's a bit more nuanced than Ed makes it out to be in that post).
With all due respect to the governor of Alaska, are conservatives getting ahead of themselves?
In this election, conservatives are facing a choice between an extremely liberal freshman senator and a Republican nominee they don't consider one of their own. So it's quite understandable that they would be eager to embrace the charismatic Palin as the future of the Republican Party.
But conservatives shouldn't fall into the trap of the instant celebrity culture by creating an idealized portrait before we learn more about her record and governing philosophy.
Secondly, compared with the Cult of Obama, it's laughable to think there is a "Cult" of Palin. Jim Geraghty responds to an Obama supporter accusing him of teh HYPOCRISY !!!1111!!!!eleventy!!! thusly (links in original):
Game. Set. Match. as far as I'm concerned. Conservatives aren't excited about Sarah Palin because she's some Messiah sent to heal the planet. They're excited because--so far--she's a rock-ribbed solid conservative who isn't afraid or coy about her beliefs. And beyond that, she's just likeable...a very rare quality in a politician.
Is enthusiasm for Palin the mirror image of enthusiasm for Obama?
When CNN commentators begin describing her as a "metaphysical force," I'll rethink my assessment. When major newspapers run columns asking if she's "a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being... who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet," I'll consider the comparison. When her supporters create their own special salute, I'll chew over the theory. When celebrities talk about recording time "Before Palin and After Palin", let's talk. When her supporters say her nomination warrants another chapter in the Bible, I'll concur. When people begin selling her unfinished meals on eBay, I'll see the parallels. When "Palin-alujah" becomes a chant, I'll recognize the similarities. When people brag about shaking hands with hands that have shaken hers, then I'll nod in agreement. When Todd Palin tells audiences that his wife will heal our broken souls, I'll concede.
Update: Another reason I don't think this comparison sticks is that Gov. Palin herself doesn't seem to think she's a Messiah figure. Mr. Hopenchange surely does.
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