Monday, October 20, 2008
WHEN CHARACTER WAS KING
We've criticised the Republican presidential ticket. But apparently we aren't the only ones to note the problems on the right.
You want to know what Reagan conservatives think of VP Nominee Sarah Palin? You don't have to take it from us that Palin is a know-nothing caricature of a candidate. Peggy Noonan is a certified Reagan Republican. She was Reagan's speechwriter and the author of a book on the 4oth President: "When Character was King, The Story Of Ronald Reagan" (which is a great book by the way).
Noonan wrote this about Palin in the Wall Street Journal this past week:“She doesn’t think aloud. She just ...says things... She does not speak seriously but attempts to excite sensation.”
That about says is all on the Palin issue. Here is more of Noonan on Palin:
[W]e have seen Mrs. Palin on the national stage for seven weeks now, and there is little sign that she has the tools, the equipment, the knowledge or the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high office. She is a person of great ambition, but the question remains: What is the purpose of the ambition? She wants to rise, but what for? For seven weeks I've listened to her, trying to understand if she is Bushian or Reaganite—a spender, to speak briefly, whose political decisions seem untethered to a political philosophy, and whose foreign policy is shaped by a certain emotionalism, or a conservative whose principles are rooted in philosophy, and whose foreign policy leans more toward what might be called romantic realism, and that is speak truth, know America, be America, move diplomatically, respect public opinion, and move within an awareness and appreciation of reality.
Noonan's identification of the differences between the current Bush and Reagan are profound. She nails W as "a spender" whose policies are rooted in "emotionalism" and not grounded in a particular philosophy or logic. Look around the world today, and you will see the end result of a leader who acts based on what "his gut tells him" rather than based on what learned professionals think should be done. Remember Bush's famous statement of looking into Putin's eyes and seeing his soul? Did that include the destruction of Georgia? We are a country with a simpleton president who is not even close to being a deep thinker. And all you have to do is see the enthusiastic crowds cheering for Palin to understand why anti-intellectualism rules the day in the US. Now make no mistake, this appeal to anti-intellectualism is crafted and created by very smart people (Karl Rove, et.al.) However, the end result is when the Frankenstein they created starts two wars and supports legislation that does away with regulations over financial institutions. We have the country and the problems we deserve because we elected these profoundly and proud anti-intellectual politicians.