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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    “New York Conservative” Defamed!

    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.

    Topics: Sarah Palin | 11 Comments »

    11 Responses to ““New York Conservative” Defamed!”

    1. Christian Toto Says:
      June 8th, 2011 at 3:51 pm

      Whoa, don’t hate on “Eastwick!”

    2. Sean Brennan Says:
      June 8th, 2011 at 4:03 pm

      Well said, Kyle. But aware of the Palin cult of personality, it is almost as bad as Obama’s

    3. KS Says:
      June 8th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

      “Once you give someone a lifetime appointment, anything can happen.”

      In theory, yes. But I don’t think that the Wise Latina and Elena Kagan will move to the right.

      I’ve heard Romney speak in person a couple times, and I just don’t think he could win.

    4. Kevin W. Says:
      June 8th, 2011 at 7:38 pm

      For the most part, I agree with you. Like you, I am a fiscal conservative. But don’t call me socially liberal! I am a non-believer who thinks that religion constitutes a key part of American life. I am a hetero who believes that people should have the freedom to love and marry any adult human they’re not closely related to. I do not own a gun, but I believe having the freedom to own one is clearly enshrined in the Constitution. Anyway, I’m sure you’re right about the Palin movie. And, like you, I like her. I would be extremely happy if she were to be given a daily talk show and became the conservative Oprah. However, both she and Romney are fatally flawed. If not for Romneycare, he would have have had a chance to beat Obama. But, as my father used to say, if a frog could fly, then he wouldn’t bump his ass on the ground when he jumped. Romney is a (wingless) frog, and nothing is going to change that.

    5. JohnFNWayne Says:
      June 8th, 2011 at 10:16 pm

      After Palin hit reality television, I can’t fathom why anyone continues to take her seriously. She went from the VP nom to hanging out in the woods with Tabloid Kate Gooselin.

      I guess Reagan would have done the same if TLC were in existence in 1978.

    6. Bugg Says:
      June 9th, 2011 at 7:07 pm

      I would vote for Palin over The One in a heartbeat. But agree 100% with The Duke. If she wanted to run for president Palin should’ve done the hard work of her day job as governor of Alaska. Instead she choose to make money. And I don’t fault her for that, but camping with Kate Gosselin and acting aggrieved do not constitute ideal prep for a president Though it’s better prep and pays way better than community organizing.

    7. narciso Says:
      June 10th, 2011 at 12:14 pm

      Why would you think that, because he’s said it, that hasn’t been his track record. Same for AGW. We don’t know how far he would have gotten in the last campaign, since he quit in New Hampshire
      after having chosen not to run for a second term. But I figure they would have scoured every person, displaced by a Bain and Co, reorganization, not focus on the successful ones, like Staples and Clear

    8. Skeptic Says:
      June 11th, 2011 at 5:24 am

      I’m having trouble understanding that you don’t want to see tax hikes in any form. Perhaps our priories are different. Personally, I think that the only realistic way the Federal debt could be reduced is through an implementation of a tax increase or a new tax.

      There’s just no way out of it. As long as the economy stays in this gloomy state (I realize a tax increase won’t really help with that), revenues will continue to be too low to fix the debt just through minimizing discretionary spending.

    9. evenmoreskeptic Says:
      June 11th, 2011 at 12:36 pm

      Countries with deficit problems have two choices: raise taxes – the Democrat Party solution, or cut spending – the “fill-in-the-name” Party solution. The historical record is clear and unequivocal: those countries which choose the latter stabilize and begin to grow faster than the tax and spenders.

      If the next President suspends 100% of all annual discretionary spending, he/she will save the taxpayer approximately $660 billion (est. 2010). Hmmm, sorry, that reduces the annual fiscal deficit by 50%. It get the taxpayer NO WAY NEAR solving our public debt problem. (Of course, we could zero out ALL national defense spending as well, and… voila, the budget is balanced!)

      In fact, government spending now comprises 40% of American national income, up from 30% in 2000. That’s the same proportion as in Germany; “socialist” Sweden is at 47%. By contrast, ex-communist Russia is at just 34%, and China at 18%. Since America’s victory over Russia in the Cold War, in a sense, America and Russia have switched places.

      BTW the above does not mean that we can forego a major overhaul to a largely unintelligible and patently unfair 7,000 page tax code, a la Pawlenty. Major (Fair Tax or Flat Tax) tax reform must be a high priority of the next administration. But any significant hike in the marginal tax rates will lead directly to a double dip recession.

    10. kishke Says:
      June 11th, 2011 at 9:34 pm

      I think that the only realistic way the Federal debt could be reduced is through an implementation of a tax increase or a new tax.

      Actually, the only way to reduce the debt is to reduce spending. Which is what normal people do in tight times. What they don’t do is go out and steal rather than spend less. But that’s what you’re advocating the government do.

    11. Skeptic Says:
      June 13th, 2011 at 12:21 pm

      Now I never said that we should reduce spending, we absolutely should do that. However I’m having trouble believing how we can reduce the deficit purely by reducing discretionary spending (non-military discretionary spending makes up 19% of the budget).

      Why not raise taxes and cut spending? At the very least I don’t think we need tax cuts at a moment like this, aside from ones that will help entrepreneurs (but then that will make the tax code even more complicated, not something I want).