I don't think it occurs to Douthat that maybe Palin was getting out of politics, not because it was too hard, but because the getting was good.
and I was forced, really, to compare the high fiber of of the skeptical realist with the mushy peas of the "real" media diet. Frank Rich, while questioning Palin's intelligence, diligence, track record, and, well, sanity, nevertheless lectured that she'll be able to write her own ticket where 2012 is concerned, and may yet prove a bellwether for the next pseudo-populist demagogue who follows, but without the baggage.
Now, I think this is wrong, for the same reason so much of the CW is, and so frequently: its jumping-off point is its own cozy analysis of events, not the events themselves. Palin doesn't have "baggage". Okay, she does, sure, but it's hardly her major problem, which is, and shall remain, that she's a freaking lunatic, which, however sizable, is nevertheless still a minority viewpoint. This is undoubtedly too coarse and too facile a reading for the nation's Script Supervisors, but that doesn't make it untrue. It really is time we stop elevating FOX News-sponsored spontaneous rallies and bizarre personality cults to the level of populist manifesto. They didn't save Bush; they didn't rescue Iraq or Afghanistan, despite the "mainstream" climbing aboard; they didn't make Fred Dumbo Thompson the Republican nominee nor Sarah Palin Vice-President. This is just the ticcy mannerism of the Beltway insider too lazy to investigate something which would only wind up making his job more difficult and his inbox more vulnerable to the dreaded wingnut complaint.
You can't write an entire column about how the woman is the latest in a long line of cheap chiselers working the religious carnival circuit--evidently you can't--but if you knew something about the Midwest you might have recognized what happened to former Indiana GOP chairman Mike McDaniel last Friday on Indiana Week in Review, which is a sort of local-PBS-produced version of The McLaughlin Group, except, this being Indiana, there's very little crosstalk and absolutely no Democrats. McDaniel squirmed under the blandest inquiry about her chances in 2012, fell to calling her someone who "says what she believes" (you can't believe that!) and "a conservative voice", one which, it was clear, he'd just as soon not lead the party's comeback attempt next time 'round. This is no scruple about her "baggage" or her complete absence of policy, uh, awareness; after all this is the party of Ronald Naptime Reagan and George W. Bush. If a naked Kenyan shaman with severe ringworm had a clear shot at replacing Barack Obama they'd be working on making Africa the 51st state. Even minor party functionaries with a distinct personal stake in returning to power don't want Palin leading the charge, in no small part because they understand what a fucking disaster she'd be, and there's no money in it for them--unlike the gentlemen of the Press--to promote one. True, this may not be enough to keep her from running (as though anything approximating "reality" ever touches her), but if you don't recognize it at this point maybe you should just shut up.
Just shut up. It's true I haven't taken my own advice about her, but in my defense I wasn't offering it to myself. More like Matthew Dowd, Bush campaign strategist and ABC News (surprise!) political analyst, who tells literally hundreds of Washington Post readers today how Palin could become our next President.
Those having concerns about my objectivity or wondering whether I am a "Palinista" should keep in mind that I raised serious questions about her qualifications last fall -- doubts I still have -- and that I predicted John McCain would look back at his vice presidential pick with remorse.
Hey, thanks for eliminating that nagging suspicion for us, Matthew. Meanwhile, he favors a two-pronged approach: Palin should be more like the sort of candidate Matthew Dowd would vote for, and Barack Obama should lose.
Fer cryin' out loud, the woman doesn't need campaign advice. She needs business advice, preferably of the Entertainment variety. Though personally I think she should go with William S. Burroughs: show up late, and leave the buyer hungry. Take the gilt and git, and spend your energies figuring out if there's anyplace farther away than Alaska.