This is Why I Canít Vote Republican

From the New York Times, on the future of Sarah Palin:

Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, a conservative group, called it a “top order of business” to determine Ms. Palinís future role. “Conservatives have been looking for leadership, and she has proven that she can electrify the grass roots like few people have in the last 20 years,” Mr. Bozell said. “No matter what she decides to do, there will be a small mother lode of financial support behind her.”

The Democrats are running a candidate with an impressive intellect, a former editor of the Harvard Law Review, who is so articulate that the humorists at Saturday Night Live still haven’t figured an effective way to make fun of him. Even conservatives are impressed by how well he’s run his campaign.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are running a couple of intellectual lightweights who are so easy to parody that even I can totter around like a mental patient saying “my friends” or pull out a snippet of halfway decent Palin-speak sometimes. You betcha. Then you have Republicans saying things like the remark quoted above, conflating “leadership” with the ability to “electrify the grass roots” and raise “a small mother lode of financial support.” Who are these people? Could they be more transparent about their desire to have power even at the cost of putting idiotic figureheads in the Oval Office, destroying our national respect at home and abroad, and systematically dumbing down our social discourse?

When was the last time Republicans ran a candidate who had some intellectual heft or at least respectability? Twenty years ago? Thirty years ago? Maybe. But then Alan Greenspan wrote in his recent book that Richard Nixon was hands-down the smartest president he ever worked with, so maybe a wicked-smart Republican is not what the world needs.

If the Republicans could run somebody with the intellectual credentials, articulation, and rhetorical strength of Barack Obama, on a solid conservative platform without all the “moral” issues that have plagued the Republican party for the last thirty-five years, since Roe v. Wade, then I would probably vote for him or her. But who are they looking at? Sarah Palin. Ridiculous.

Comments 4

  1. Tracey wrote:

    I have no doubt that given the choice between King Saul and David, you would choose Saul in a heartbeat. What I’ve learned over the years in watching the left in action is how thoroughly they have embraced the Marxist ethos of “by any means necessary” in order to gain political power and destroy their rivals. And since the left has marched through and captured the institutions, including the media, we have had one long demonstration of the politics of personal destruction, especially where it concerns conservatives. I am especially tired of the habitual breaking of that commandment “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Have you actually met and gotten to know Sarah Palin? No. Neither have I, so I’ll have to go by the testimony of those who have spent substantial time with the woman and have said that she is *very* smart. I would rather have had someone who had a clear view of conservative policies, including the moral issues that you think are such a dead weight for Republicans ( though God thinks they are dreadfully important), than a slick and corrupt “intellectual” salesman for the “earthly god” that promises a Marxist/socialist Utopia. Anyone who voted for Barack Obama voted for mass murder of the unborn in exchange for material blessings. Sounds like Moloch worship doesn’t it?

    Posted 11 Nov 2008 at 1:40 pm
  2. Mark Olson wrote:

    Look at history for a moment. Run through, for example, the list of Roman, Byzantine, and English rulers. Jot down the “great” ones, then the ones with, in your words, “intellectual heft.” Oddly enough when I did the intersection I think there was only one which matched I think, Marcus Aurelius. For the most part the “intellectual rulers” failed the grade.

    Posted 11 Nov 2008 at 7:06 pm
  3. Peter wrote:

    I would hope that the enormous number of defects in your comment should be apparent to everyone, but I nevertheless feel the need to defend myself on several points.

    First, that post was intended to articulate what was, to my mind, a pragmatic way to choose between two candidates neither of which is ideal. (Don’t bother pointing out the “third-party” candidates. I found them all even less appealing than the major candidates.) It is certainly not an unalloyed pro-Democrat or pro-Obama post, but rather a comparative reflection, based on specific criteria, which I discussed in the post: apparent intelligence, articulation, educational background, and rhetorical strength. You should note that nowhere in the post do I advocate one political ideology over another. (And, while I cannot assume you are familiar with other things I have written, I should point out that I find political ideology, and indeed all ideology in general, an abhorrent and unfortunate tendency in human life, and something to be avoided whenever possible.)

    Second, I find your agnosticism about Sarah Palin to be both dishonest and hypocritical. If you applied your principle—”Have you gotten to know the candidate personally?”—equally to all candidates, for all voters, then you would leave almost every voter in almost every national election with absolutely no way to decide anything. That level of agnosticism is utterly impractical. Voters need to decide for their candidates based on the information they have, which is, as I wrote elsewhere during this election season, always imperfect. Nevertheless, there were ample indications in the large amount of coverage I read and watched during the campaigns to form a reasonable basis for the provisional and practical conclusion that Sarah Palin, while she is clearly a charismatic person who is skilled in the game of politics—i.e., good at fooling some of the people most of the time—she is obviously not an intellectual heavyweight (or even a middleweight) in matters of public policy.

    Moreover, if you applied that kind of personality-agnosticism to me, then you could have avoided the ridiculous insinuation that I am a Marxist. But you did not hesitate to claim that I am after some kind of “Marxist/Socialist Utopia.” Perhaps, in reading my writings elsewhere, or on my blog, you gathered that I did in fact support Barack Obama for President. But that certainly doesn’t make me a Marxist, a Socialist, or a Utopian. It makes me an American who came to a reasoned position, though it is one you happen to disagree with.

    And finally, on the following point, I’m afraid I cannot keep a bit of incivility from poking through: That you imply a vote for Barack Obama is tantamount to “Moloch worship” is just plain insipid, it makes you look like a blithering idiot, and it destroys any last shred of credibility your comment may have (but probably didn’t) possess up until that last sentence.

    Again, while I hope that the defects in your comment are obvious to everyone, I nevertheless felt some need to defend myself, despite having to “steal” some time from loved ones to sit down and draft this response.

    Posted 11 Nov 2008 at 8:41 pm
  4. Funky Dung wrote:

    I’d hardly call Peter a socialist. From what I’ve read, I’d say he’s a moderate libertarian (small-l, not a LP member).

    Posted 11 Nov 2008 at 9:22 pm

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