Nicole decided to take our series in a new direction by nominating a RINO for the 23rd slot on our countdown. Well, citing a former Cabinet Secretary is all well and good, but how about naming someone a tad more… relevant, Nicole?
It’s all right. None of us is perfect.
Coming in at #22 is syndicated Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer. An early critic of the decision to add Governor Palin to the 2008 Presidential ticket, Krauthammer asserted in his first Palin column that she was “deeply problematic” and “not ready” to be President. He also falsely asserted that Palin was unnecessary as a “game-changer” in the race, because McCain had “closed the gap in polls with Obama.”
Look at this chart. Towards the end of August, you will notice a huge blue spike. That is the polling bump Obama received following his speech at the Democratic National Convention. Now, see the red spike right after? That is the Palin pick. At no point during the summer did John McCain surpass Barack Obama in national polling, post-Rev. Wright scandal. Also, Krauthammer may have conveniently forgotten the $4 million in donations that rolled in within a day of the Palin announcement.
Regardless, Krauthammer did not appear to have any personal animosity towards Governor Palin, and he even admitted in that column that she is “an authentically independent, tough-minded reformer.” He also added, correctly: “She has the unique potential of energizing the base while at the same time appealing to independents.” His column followed her blockbuster convention speech, which he said “banish[ed] a week’s worth of unfriendly media scrutiny and self-inflicted personal liabilities with a single triumphant speech.”
Perhaps Krauthammer’s most eloquent support for Governor Palin, however, came in the wake of Charlie Gibson’s hatchet-job interview with the Guv later that month. Many of Palin’s most unfair critics seized on her supposed ignorance when asked about the Bush Doctrine. Sensing this false outrage, Krauthammer pounced:
There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration — and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today. It is utterly different.
I know something about the subject because, as the Wikipedia entry on the Bush doctrine notes, I was the first to use the term. In the cover essay of the June 4, 2001, issue of the Weekly Standard entitled, “The Bush Doctrine: ABM, Kyoto, and the New American Unilateralism,” I suggested that the Bush administration policies of unilaterally withdrawing from the ABM treaty and rejecting the Kyoto protocol, together with others, amounted to a radical change in foreign policy that should be called the Bush doctrine.
Krauthammer went on to give a detailed history of how the “Bush Doctrine” has evolved and noted that Palin “responded… sensibly” to Gibson’s “ambiguous” question when she replied, “In what respect [do I agree with the Bush Doctrine], Charlie?”
The column’s conclusion was a shocking departure from the sort of smug dismissals of Palin we have come to expect from Krauthammer:
Yes, Sarah Palin didn’t know what it [the Bush Doctrine] is. But neither does Charlie Gibson. And at least she didn’t pretend to know — while he looked down his nose and over his glasses with weary disdain, sighing and “sounding like an impatient teacher,” as the Times noted. In doing so, he captured perfectly the establishment snobbery and intellectual condescension that has characterized the chattering classes’ reaction to the mother of five who presumes to play on their stage. (Emphasis added)
It really is amazing that such words could come from the keyboard of a man who rudely told Governor Palin to “leave the room” less than a year later. Krauthammer is a smart man. On most issues I, and likely most of our readership, do not find fault in him. But with Governor Palin, he appears to have a blind spot. He doesn’t hate her, but he does — wrongly — dismiss her as incapable, despite the strengths he admits she has.
Krauthammer’s sense of perspective is not limited to 2008, however. As recently as this year, he condemned the media’s obsession with the release of her e-mails as “Palin Derangement Syndrome”, a take-off of the Bush Derangement Syndrome he diagnosed in the far-Left in 2003. He should know something about mental disorders; the man is a psychiatrist, after all.
If and when the Guv announces her Presidential run, Krauthammer will no doubt be amongst the first to react with scepticism and doubt, but unlike some of the more vulgar conservative Establishment, who insult Palin and even take credit for hurting her politically, Krauthammer has shown an openness and even a sanity that may well translate into a more gracious tone towards the Guv as she really begins to show America, including the elitists, the stuff Mama Grizzlies are made of.