We can’t say we weren’t warned. But honestly, I thought the attacks from elite Republicans would be more sophisticated. First, the cartoonish Peggy Noonan, whose breathtakingly misplaced sense of self-importance is matched only by the volume of incoherent hot gas which hisses forth from her lips (or keyboard), attacks Governor Palin by…calling her a nincompoop. Her evidence? Well, actually she doesn’t have any. But that’s not surprising since name calling is a tactic one resorts to when they don’t have an argument, or the intellectual capacity to make one. In a hilarious bit of irony, Noonan entitles her piece “Americans Vote For Maturity” then demonstrates her own immaturity by employing this tactic.
Am I the only one who believes Noonan is at least 20 years past her useful shelf-life? Whitney did an excellent job of taking Noonan’s latest drivel apart last night. Remind me again, why should conservatives (or anyone else, for that matter), listen to this self-described conservative who lacked even the basic common sense to see through the post-partisan BS Obama was peddling in 2008? How can it be that this pompous has-been was unable to see what was obvious to all of us ordinary barbarians?
Following quickly on the heels of Noonan, another former beltway speechwriter, Michael Gerson, has attacked Governor Palin and, like Noonan, failed miserably. Gersen’s piece, in the Washington Post, is a disjointed mix of establishment talking points, untruths, and a rather obvious contradiction which eludes the author utterly. Not surprisingly, Gerson begins his attack by parroting the intellectually lazy, and demonstrably false, talking points which fellow Bush Administration retread Karl Rove has been using to discredit conservative candidates for the past several weeks:
O’Donnell and Angle were gifts of Sen. Jim DeMint and Sarah Palin to their party. Tea Party enthusiasm and shallow ideological purity were supposed to be better than outdated, “establishment” attributes such as achievement, wisdom or qualification. This approach to politics is expected of DeMint, who has gained national prominence by accusing his Republican colleagues of compromise. Coming from Palin, however, it is a threat to the Republican future.
So, as with other spectator Republicans who had absolutely nothing to do with Tuesday’s election result, Gerson wants to assign “blame” to Governor Palin for Tuesday’s historic Republican sweep. In Gerson’s mind, apparently, it’s Governor Palin’s fault that the enormous victory wasn’t bigger than it was. I’m not one given to sports analogies, but I think one is appropriate here. Gerson’s musings are as ludicrous as an armchair fan faulting a pitcher who’s just tossed a two-hit shutout in the World Series for not throwing a no-hitter. And let’s be clear, there is no single individual (other than perhaps Obama) who is more responsible for Tuesday’s electoral earthquake than Governor Palin, a point I made last week. It’s amazing how the beltway impairs one’s ability to think logically. But leaving the absurdity of Gerson’s musings aside, let’s take a closer look at the points he attempts (but fails) to make.
First, Gerson repeats the meme that Governor Palin erred by endorsing Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, and should have stayed neutral or, better yet, endorsed Mike Castle. This was not a difficult decision. Christine O’Donnell is a true constitutional conservative, one whose views on the proper size and scope of government comport well with Governor Palin’s. Mike Castle, on the other hand, was to the left of many Democrats. If Republicans can’t do better than a candidate who voted for cap and tax, among other things, they have no reason to exist. Even many Democrats don’t think it’s a good idea for Americans to unilaterally destroy their energy industry simply to assuage Al Gore’s latest nuttery.
Delaware Republicans were given a choice in the primary, and they chose Christine O’Donnell over Mike Castle by a significant margin. Significantly, according to exit polls, Chris Coons would have beaten Mike Castle anyway. If Gerson and other Cocktail Party Republicans want to second guess the wisdom of Delaware voters, that’s their privilege, but there is simply no empirical evidence to buttress their claim.
In Nevada, Gerson implies that Governor Palin’s support for Sharron Angle is responsible for Harry Reid’s re-election and, consequently, the failure of Republicans to take that seat. To be sure, there were three worthy candidates in the Nevada Senate Republican Primary: Danny Tarkanian, Sue Lowden, and Sharron Angle. There’s no doubt that any of the three would have been vastly superior to Dingy Harry. The voters of Nevada chose Sharron Angle. Gerson implies that perhaps they would have chosen Sue Lowden if not for Governor Palin’s endorsement of Sharron Angle. There is, however, one tiny problem with Gerson’s contention: Governor Palin did not take a position in the Nevada Primary.
I’ll say that again to give it time to sink in. Governor Palin did not endorse Sharron Angle, or anyone else, in the Nevada Primary. Gerson is either making this up or, like many beltway pundits, is simply incapable or too lazy to do his own research and instead relies on liberal talking points. One wonders if Gerson also thinks Governor Palin said “I can see Russia from my house”. I suspect he does. Governor Palin endorsed Sharron Angle in the general election after she won the Nevada Primary. Would Gerson have preferred her to endorse Harry Reid? It’s quite likely, after all, that they attend the same cocktail parties.
After lamenting the fact that lowly voters agreed with Governor Palin and not beltway insiders in the Delaware Primary, Gerson refocuses his ire on Governor Palin for her last minute robocall on Tom Tancredo’s behalf in the Colorado Gubernatorial race:
But Palin went further, also endorsing Constitution Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo in Colorado, one of the most divisive figures in American politics.
First, a little background. The race was between John Hickenlooper, the Democrat; Dan Maes, the Republican; and Tom Tancredo, a former GOP congressman who was running as a third party candidate. Dan Maes narrowly won the Republican Primary against Scott McInnis, a primary in which, like Nevada, Governor Palin did not make an endorsement. Shortly after winning the primary, Maes’ campaign imploded for a variety of reasons, giving Hickenlooper a huge lead. Controlling the Colorado Governor’s mansion is important for the 2012 presidential sweepstake as well as the crucial redistricting process.
As the November election approached, Maes was polling in the high single digits and had no chance to win. The choice, therefore, was Tancredo or Hickenlooper. Tancredo, to be sure, has his flaws, but he is far superior to Hickenlooper. Governor Palin recorded a last-minute robocall for Tancredo in an effort to persuade Maes’ supporters to vote for Tancredo and not waste a vote on Maes, which would only help the liberal Democrat. But Gerson finds fault with this decidedly logical and pragmatic move by Governor Palin.
Therein lies the logical trap in which Gerson has ensnared himself. With Christine O’Donnell, Gerson accuses Governor Palin of putting principle above political reality. However, by throwing last-minute support to Tancredo in a last-ditch effort to prevent a Democrat victory, Governor Palin is now guilty of putting political reality above principle or something. You can’t have it both ways, Champ. I continue to be amazed by the proclivity of establishment types, whether Democrat or Republican, to contradict their own talking points and contort themselves into pretzels when attacking Governor Palin.
To be sure, the “principle above politics” meme is one the establishment has been pushing and will continue to push in their effort to prevent Governor Palin from crashing their cozy little party. Since when did political expediency become more noble than adhering to one’s principles? Is this really how Ronald Reagan felt? Michael Gerson evidently thinks so. So too does Peggy Noonan who claims an ability to divine Reagan’s thoughts due, presumably, to her stint as a White House speechwriter a quarter century ago.
Both she and Gerson are wrong, of course, and it’s this kind of thinking by our self-anointed superiors in the Washington establishment over the past 22 years that has resulted in America’s inexorable drift toward European-style socialism. To be sure, the drift is a bit faster under Democrat control than under Republican control, but the direction doesn’t change. The ruling class in both parties are fine with this sorry state of affairs, and will do everything they can to continue it. They see Governor Palin and the entire Tea Party movement as an existential threat to their way of doing business. That they should, because their party is coming to an end, and the political earthquake which took place on Tuesday is just the beginning.