By Kyle | June 8, 2011
My harsh critique of the Sarah Palin documentary “The Undefeated” was picked up by liberal sites like Gawker, Andrew Sullivan’s blog and Dave Weigel of Slate, who strikes me as kinda sorta a liberal or at least not a real conservative. (Weigel is a great guy, by the way, with immense knowledge of DC procedure.) Lefties, in comments, rejoiced, while many conservatives snarled. A bunch accused me of being a “liberal” (not even close), a Palin hater (not true either — I like her) and even a “New York conservative.”
Well. That’s a low one, if literally true — but the implication that I have a Nelson Rockefeller body pillow is too much to take. I’m a conservative, albeit one who doesn’t get overly excited about God, guns and/or gays, though in effect I more or less line up with the 3G crowd on all of these things for procedural reasons. (I don’t see gay marriage being guaranteed in the due process clause, but then again there’s nothing forbidding gay marriage in the Constitution either, so if state legislatures decide to recognize gay marriage one by one, then we acknowledge that elections have consequences and move on to something more important. And if Anthony Kennedy does rule, as he almost certainly will, that 50-state gay marriage is guaranteed by the due process clause, blame the guy who gave him his seat in the first place.)
Still, there is a certain red-state mentality that is hostile to northeastern Republicans who put taxing and spending issues foremost. But I think the distinction between what me might call Romney Republicans and Palin Republicans is largely one of style, emphasis, electability. In other words: can’t we all just get along? Palin is usually right on the money in terms of political philosophy (or at least she has been since she became a national figure; she was much more of a centrist in Alaska, as far as I can tell) but let’s get real about her electability: She doesn’t have it. If you want to be a professional nuisance, fine, but don’t be surprised when you wind up annoying a lot of people. Moreover, even Palin lovers should admit that “The Undefeated” is pretty much an unbearable blare. (Maybe it’ll be fixed before it hits theaters, but I doubt it.) I like Jack Nicholson but that doesn’t make “Witches of Eastwick” a great movie.
A potential president has to be sober, soothing, and very, very careful about gaffes because you get judged by what you say at your worst moments. Minimizing the worst moments is important. For Republicans it’s doubly important because most of the media wants to fry us in a skillet. Palin is almost gleeful in her disdain of such “rules,” and I give her credit for that, but there’s a price to be paid.
A president Palin would repeal ObamaCare. So would Romney. A president Palin would block tax hikes. So would Romney. A president Palin would try to get discretionary spending and entitlements under control. So would Romney. I believe both would appoint conservative judges, but who knows? Once you give someone a lifetime appointment, anything can happen. If you like Palin, you should support Romney or someone else who could actually win. And Palin can go on doing what she does best — being a personality. She’s having a lot of fun doing so, and making a lot of money. Which is why she won’t run for president anyway.