Peggy on Palin

Peggy Noonan in the WSJ:

  She killed. She had him at “Nice to meet you. Hey, can I call you Joe?” She was the star. He was the second male lead, the good-natured best friend of the leading man. She was not petrified but peppy.

  The whole debate was about Sarah Palin. She is not a person of thought but of action. Interviews are about thinking, about reflecting, marshaling data and integrating it into an answer. Debates are more active, more propelled–they are thrust and parry. They are for campaigners. She is a campaigner. Her syntax did not hold, but her magnetism did. At one point she literally winked at the nation.

  As far as Mrs. Palin was concerned, Gwen Ifill was not there, and Joe Biden was not there. Sarah and the camera were there. This was classic “talk over the heads of the media straight to the people,” and it is a long time since I’ve seen it done so well, though so transparently. There were moments when she seemed to be doing an infomercial pitch for charm in politics. But it was an effective infomercial.

Remember that Noonan wrote speeches for Reagan and Bush the Elder.

More:

  Sarah Palin saved John McCain again Thursday night. She is the political equivalent of cardiac paddles: Clear! Zap! We’ve got a beat! She will re-electrify the base. More than that, an hour and a half of talking to America will take her to a new level of stardom. Watch her crowds this weekend. She’s about to get jumpers, the old political name for people who are so excited to see you they start to jump.

  Her triumph comes at an interesting time. The failure of the first bailout bill was an epic repudiation of the Washington leadership class by the American people. Two weeks ago the president of the United States, the speaker of the House, the secretary of the Treasury and the leadership of both parties in Congress came forward and announced that the economy was in crisis and a federal bill to solve it urgently needed. The powers were in agreement, the stars aligned, it was going to happen.

  And then the phones began to ring, from one end of Capitol Hill to the other. And the message in those calls was, essentially: We don’t trust you to fix the problem, we suspect you may have caused it. Go away.

  It was an epic snub, aimed at both parties. And the bill tanked.

  We have simply, as a nation, never had a moment like this, in which the American people voted such a stunning no-confidence in America’s leaders in a time of real and present danger. The fate of the second bill is unclear as I write, but the fact that it has morphed from three pages to roughly 450, and is festooned with favors, will do nothing to allay public suspicions about the trustworthiness of Congress. This, as a background, could not have helped Mr. Biden.

I think she gives Palin too much credit, and that Palin will be further exposed to discredit over the next month. Still, an interesting read.

12 comments

  1. vanderleun’s avatar

    One of the most consistently interesting threads in the whole Palin discussion is the inability, right and left, to recognize the existence of the other. Everyone seems to feel that they’ve got a clear picture not only of the present, but of the near future. It’s like the wall-eyed one-eyed men everywhere you look. Perhaps lopsided cyclops is more accurate.

  2. Russell Nelson’s avatar

    vanderleun: I think there is a lot of hoping going on around Sarah Palin. The Left are hoping that people will recognize that she’s an idiot, and the Right are hoping that she’s not an idiot. I believe that what Sarah Palin is, is someone who got elected in a small state, without much media scrutiny OR (this is important) media training. Unless you’ve been trained to talk to someone who would just as soon cut your throat in print as look at you, you shouldn’t be talking to them, PERIOD.

  3. Doc Searls’s avatar

    vanderleun, you’re right that the electorate has become polarized to an extreme. This extreme creeps me out — not because of the positions held, but because both sides are devoutly prejudiced toward the other. Many conservatives believe liberals are wrong because they’re liberals, while many liberals believe conservatives are wrong because they’re conservatives. it’s the political equivalent of sexism and racism.

  4. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Russ, Palin did have media training, of a sort. More here.

    I’ll add that essentially she has nothing to say other than to bash Obama. That’s the McCain/Palin strategy. It’s worked in the past. I don’t think it will work this time.

  5. Russell Nelson’s avatar

    People don’t vote FOR the candidate they want. They vote AGAINST the candidate they don’t want. Thus, by telling people who they should vote against, McCain/Palin are pursing a winning strategy.

    If people actually voted for the candidate they wanted, the libertarian candidate (this year, Bob Barr) would get double-digit vote percentages. There’s a simple way to show this: use weighted voting. So rather than voting for Obama because you could not tolerate a McCain victory, you vote for Barr, Obama, and then McCain. The Libertarian would still lose (because SO many people vote against their economic interests), but neither would a vote for the person you REALLY want interfere with your vote AGAINST the person you really don’t want.

  6. lurkerfan’s avatar

    Russell says “People don’t vote FOR the candidate they want. They vote AGAINST the candidate they don’t want.” For a number of election cycles, this has been true for me. This time it is not, and my intuition tells me that many others are finding positive appeal in Sen. Obama’s campaign rhetoric. Motives, even one’s own, are notoriously hard to measure, so the question is perhaps moot.

    Except for the considerable handicap of residual racism, Sen. Obama might win by a landslide. Of course, the anti-Obama racism is partially if not fully offset by those who are biased toward him simply because the election of a black president would represent a desirable step forward for our society that has become ashamed of its long history of entrenched racism.

    As to Russ’s apparent beliefs that no government is good government and that a free press is pure evil are so out of touch with reality that it is pointless to try to refute them.

  7. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Just hoping the McCain campaign is slow to take Karl Rove’s advice.

  8. Doc Searls’s avatar

    I didn’t hear Russ say “no government is good government and that a free press is pure evil”.

  9. Russell Nelson’s avatar

    lurkerfan seems to be out of touch with reality!

  10. Russell Nelson’s avatar

    I mean, “no government is good government” doesn’t even parse. Let’s say that I hate government and think that it’s the ultimate evil. Substitute it in:
    “no evil is good evil”? What would “good evil” be? Mere blandness? The most boring meeting you’ve ever been to but can’t leave? Or how about “no failure is good failure”? Or maybe “no money is good money”? “No sex is good sex?” It just makes no sense. An absence of something cannot have an attribute of good OR bad.

    If ever I say “no government is good government”, just take me out behind the wood pile,shoot me dead, and bury me there, because it means that my brain has turned to mush.

  11. lurkerfan’s avatar

    Wow, it looks like I hit a nerve. Admittedly, “no government is good government” is hyperbolic, but it is not far off from the Libertarian’s basic tenet of faith. I gathered Mr. Nelson subscribes to that faith based on this:

    “The Libertarian would still lose (because SO many people vote against their economic interests)”

    I am unfortunate enough to live in a small town that only has one newspaper, part of the Libertarian brand associated with the Orange County Register, whose editorials it often reprints. So I read Libertarian cant along with breakfast every day. The conclusion I draw is that they believe that the only responsibility that government has toward the economy is to get out of the way of the all-knowing free market. Conservative leaders like the revered Pres. Reagan and Grover Norquist have uttered much-quoted assertions that amount to the same idea.

    I’m not sure that it is I who is out of touch with reality, especially as our country and the world try to deal with the debacle following an era of deregulation of markets. By the way, I’m aware that both political parties colluded in that trend.

  12. I call bullshit’s avatar

    postmortem: Palin is rated by voters surveyed as #1 factor indicating poor McCain judgment. “Who who vote for someone who would has the poor judgment to choose such an inexperienced successor”.

    Colin Powell summed it up: poor judgment. You screwed the pooch Republicans.

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