Monday, November 23, 2009

Palinite Brilliance on the Book Tour

I was at a very nice social event recently and was hanging out with some of my buddies from High School. Smart guys. Well-regarded physicians, even. The conversation turned to politics and someone, I can't remember if it was one of my buddies or one of their spouses, declared that he or she would rather have Palin be President than the "Socialist" currently in office. At the moment, I let it slide. But I will say, now, that anyone who really and truly believes that Palin would be better than Obama, in my mind, is not a mental midget, but, worse, is a mental minus. By that, I mean has negative intellectual capacity. I truly have utter contempt for anyone who thinks Palin is a serious, intelligent leader. She's an embarrassment. Heck, I'm not even Republican, and I get embarrassed for her sometimes. And her supporters are by and large vacuous idiots. Compare that clip above with this one:

Notice that in the clip above, the interviewer is clearly a conservative who is trying to get this young man in a gotcha moment. He badgers this young man incessently. And his questions get more and more specific. And this young man, in the end, completely disarms his interviewer with his composure and with his intelligence. Now in the first clip where Palinites are interviewed, even if you assume that the interviewer is seeking to conduct a hit job on these Palin supporters, he asks very basic, simple questions and it's the Palinites who are the ones who bury themselves. And it's no wonder, because Palin is exactly the same way.

I challenge any conservative to find any Palin supporter who can speak about Palin's policies in such specific and effective ways as this young Obama supporter does. They can't. Why? For two reasons: (1) There ARE NO POLICIES to speak of; and (2) They are so ignorant that they not only can't recognize that Palin has no policies, but they also don't care about policies. In their minds, being smart or prepared is elitist and is thus to be rejected as somehow not "real" America.

I'm going to be very politically incorrect here, and demonstrate my "librul" elitist snobbery in the process, and state unequivocally and unapologetically that Palin and her movement cultivate the idea of vacuous idiocy as "Real" America. I exhort my conservative friends to please help me understand her appeal to thinking conservatives beyond the "she's-not-Obama" mantra. On what constructive or positive basis do even marginally-thinking conservatives, much less critically-thinking conservatives, embrace this woman and the movement she leads?

Yeah, yeah, the left has its own imbeciles -- the kind who might think that Michael Moore or Al Sharpton are good candidates for President. But, thankfully, that fringe of the left is paltry.

But, my thoughtful conservative friends, you guys have to WAKE UP and get a grip on your own Republican Party and conservative movement! Save it from the Palinites, please! Let me be blunt: the ignorant masses of the rightwing are "going rogue" and robbing the GOP and the conservative movement from you right under your own noses. Worse, they are corrupting any kind of respectable and thoughtful conservatism that exists. William F. Buckley, Jr., would be horrified at the Palin phenomenon.

I watch the Palin movement and I just stand agape, stunned, at the descent of conservatism into the intellectual gutter. Help me make sense of it, please!


Eric said...

I watched the Obama movement and I just stood agape, stunned, at the descent of liberalism into the intellectual gutter.

Huck said...

Yeah, Eric, those folks are clueless when it comes to specific trivia, like being able to place specific sound clips to a particular candidate. But did you notice that the interviewers never asked any of these people an open ended question about policy? Perhaps the answers might have been different if they had asked something like "What particular policy of Obama's do you support?" Now maybe these folks wouldn't have been able to answer such questions, either; but we don't really know because the purpose was not really to try to see what the folks new of Obama beyond who said what and who made which gaffe. Now I'm willing to agree that there are folks who supported Obama for no substantive reason they could name. But there are substantive policy reasons one could discuss when it comes to Obama. Not so with Sarah Palin. I challenge you to find a clip of any Sarah Palin supporter plucked from the street who can articulate a policy Sarah Palin supports and defend it as well as that young man did regarding Obama's health care position in the clip I posted. Heck, I challenge you, Eric, to put forward a policy position that Sarah Palin holds that you would defend. And let's not talk about a Sarah Palin criticism of Obama's policies, but rather a proactive Sarah Palin policy alternative. Sarah Palin makes it hard even for engaged, attentive, and smart conservatives to support her beyond the conservative sound-bite puffery.

Huck said...

PS: For a real conservative alternative to Sarah Palin, one who embraces all the values of the "base" without all the ignorance, is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. He's the conservative Republican that most worries me because he appeals to thoughtful people, even liberals, in a way that demands he be taken seriously.

What attracts people to Palin, and less so to Jindal, is the anti-intellectual ignorance that is the "chic" thing among "Real" America.

Some ignorant people may support Obama, but Obama certainly himself doesn't cultivate the idea that ignorance is noble. Sarah Palin does.

Eric said...

"But did you notice that the interviewers never asked any of these people an open ended question about policy?"

I submit the "Obama gonna pay off my mortgage!" lady as adequate proof of the types of answers we could have expected from open ended policy questions asked of these people. Is it really so important to you Huck that 'your' idiots have to be just a little bit smarter and informed than 'our' idiots? Are liberals even elitist about their dunces?

"But there are substantive policy reasons one could discuss when it comes to Obama. Not so with Sarah Palin."

Of course Obama has more policy initiatives to discuss, he had to come up with them in order to run for President! Palin's only solid policy positions that I can think of have to do with energy and national defense as it relates to Iran. If she wants to run for President, she will have to flesh this stuff out into a concrete set of ideas, but right now that is not the role she is trying to fill.

"For a real conservative alternative to Sarah Palin, one who embraces all the values of the "base" without all the ignorance, is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal."

Personally I thought Fred Thompson was and is a much better alternative to fill the role that Palin is trying to fill, but yeah, Jindal is probably a better Presidential candidate than Palin, but he certainly hasn't shown himself to be a better candidate for firing up the base and getting them involved in fighting Obama's policies and trying to get conservatives elected to office.
But ultimately part of the reason neither Jindal OR Thompson have the appeal of Sarah Palin is because both of them sound like professional politicians and she doesn't.

"What attracts people to Palin, and less so to Jindal, is the anti-intellectual ignorance that is the "chic" thing among "Real" America."

Honestly, I think the single biggest factor attracting Palin supporters right now are attitudes that lead people to make statements like the one quoted above. Just as you think conservatives are making a huge mistake by adopting Palin as one of their movement leaders, I think liberals are making a huge mistake for painting every Palin supporter as a brain dead redneck. Every time you guys pick up that broad brush, you knock a few more fence straddlers off the fence and onto Palin's side of it, not because they necesarrily want to be associated with her attitudes, but because they don't want to be associated with yours.

Huck said...

Eric - It's not that unthinking and ignorant Obama supporter have to be a little bit smarter than unthinking and ignorant Palin supporters. I'm only pointing out the way the interviewers approached the interviewees differently. I'm sure you or I could find some real ignoramuses out there on both sides of the political spectrum. It simply seems to me that the ignorant folk who support Obama are doing so in spite of the fact that Obama isn't one of them; but it seems to me that the ignorant folk who support Palin are doing so because she's perceived as being one of them. Really, it's not so much about them as it is about the one attracting them and the reasons they are attracted by that person.

For my part, if you want to go on the offensive against an anti-intellectual identity politics leftist like Al Sharpton or Cindy Sheehan or whoever you might name as the leftist equivalent to Sarah Palin, be my guest. I'll join you. If you want to side with the Palinites because of a grudge against how liberals like me pick on her, that's your prerogative. But you won't ever catch me even straddling the fence about someone like Cynthia McKinney, much less tempted to throw my lot in with her, even though I disagree with her, simply because conservatives pick on her and she on "my" side of the partisan divide. I don't align with stupidity wherever it rears its ugly head.

I'm just trying honestly to understand the rationale that would cause someone to pick an alignment with Palin purely out of spite against someone like me. It's kinda like "She's an unlearned fool, but she's our unlearned fool, so when the liberal picks on our unlearned fool, we need to circle the wagons to defend our own." I just don't understand that way of thinking.

If conservative get pushed over to Palin's supporter column because of criticism from me, that tells me one of two things: (1) either such conservatives don't really see the foolish, ignorant demagoguery Palin peddles; or (2) they see it, but would rather hold their noses and align with that, than have to put up, and perhaps even accepts the correctness of, liberal critics who see the same thing, but who don't hesitate to call it out publicly for what it is.