Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Which Liberals, Again?

I recognize that David Brooks is inclined toward making platitudinous observations. The difficulty at times is determining if he believes them, or if he's pandering to those factions that pay him to speak or might buy his book.
First, let’s all stop paying attention to Sarah Palin for a little while. I understand why liberals want to talk about her. She allows them to feel intellectually superior to their opponents. And members of the conservative counterculture want to talk about her simply because she drives liberals insane. But she is a half-term former governor with a TV show. She is not going to be the leader of any party and doesn’t seem to be inclined in that direction.
Um... First of all, David Brooks plainly feels intellectually superior to (among many other people, including those for whom he sees himself as an opinion leader) Sarah Palin.1 Is that why he talks about her? Second, if somebody truly embraces Sarah Palin as their "leader", why shouldn't their opponents (as personified here by Brooks) feel intellectually superior to the Palin adherent? What intellectual basis exists for regarding Palin as a leader?

Meanwhile, what "liberals" are "driven insane" by Palin? From what I can see, it would be more accurate to describe her as the punch line for a running joke.
The Sarah Palin phenomenon is a media psychodrama and nothing more. It gives people on each side an excuse to vent about personality traits they despise, but it has nothing to do with government.
A statement admitting that people like Brooks are the parents and principal beneficiaries of "The Sarah Palin phenomenon", that she substitutes personality for substance, and that whatever relevance she has to discussion of politics she has nothing to contribute to a discussion of government or governance. Which, no doubt, is a big part of reason he looks down his nose at her.

Palin for President? By all means, "Bring her on." It won't bring about anxiety, let alone insanity, on the political left. More like a sigh of relief, probably punctuated by laughter. Absent an absurdly unlikely "tortoise and the hare" outcome of the campaign, it would mean President Obama's reelection in an easy walk.
1. When it was convenient for him Brooks acted more like a boy with a crush, gushing about her as personifying "freedom, individualism, opportunity and moral clarity"

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