Saturday, November 14, 2009

Althouse v. Palin
Tom Smith

Regarding Professor Rappaport's post immediately below, Ann Althouse should perhaps consider that Palin's book might not be just the simple, unvarnished truth about what went on. Perhaps Palin has chosen not to share all of her thinking and calculations with the reading public. She is obviously in part trying to even the score with Katie Couric ("I was just trying to help her because she was in the dumps over her faltering career," says the rising star to the declining one) and Nicolle what's-her-name ("she was disloyal to W, i.e. a complete bitch, had I but seen it at the time"). Palin is portraying herself as a lamb among wolves. This does not necessarily mean she really was or is in fact a lamb, except in the sense that she is a lot cuter than her critics. 

Consider how an accurate memoir would read: "I miscalculated. Early on, I understood the McCain campaign was unlikely to win, but I thought I could use it to promote my own career as a national conservative voice and perhaps as future presidential candidate. I had little expertise in dealing with the national media, so I thought it best to rely on the McCain people for that, reasoning they had no incentive to feed me to the wolves. etc. etc." The reader would think, why that Machiavellian bitch! I am not saying the above was her thought process, just that whatever it was, it was probably not the sort of thing you would put into a memoir, especially a political memoir, which is just a particularly unrealistic form of fiction constrained by the necessity of conforming its plot to certain matters of historical record, like an historical novel. So the question is not, is the woman Palin portrays qualified to be President, but rather, is a woman who would decide to portray herself as Palin has decided to do in her book, qualified to be President -- a very different question. But I otherwise agree with Professor Althouse that the woman Palin is portraying is not qualified to be president;  I am just saying, just because Palin says she was a lamb among wolves does not mean she is in fact a lamb.  I sort of like the idea of her singing "I'm a poor little lamb who's lost my way" along the lines of Michelle Pfeiffer in the Fabulous Baker Boys, but that is of course an unrelated point.

Personally, I'm a Palin fan, even though I think she's not qualified to be President. Of course, we now have in the White House a man not qualified to be President and evidently a real leftist with all sorts of bad intentions to boot.  I would rather be cringing right now over President Palin's faux pas than anguishing over the future of the Republic, as anyone following the future of health care, the national debt, the attempts to hand such enormous power to labor unions, and our disturbing foreign relations, should be doing.  Better somebody clumsily trying to do the right thing than somebody cleverly trying to do the wrong thing.

PROFESSOR Althouse complains I really should have linked to her instead of just referring to Professor Rappaport's post immediately below mine, which in turn linked to hers.  Alas, she is probably correct.  Mea maxima blogo-culpa.  And so here is a link to her post about various points of Palinological interest.  Oh and here is a link to the original post to which Professor Rappaport also linked.  In my own defense I will say I was not aware I was addressing Professor Althouse, but this is something that probably happens a lot, viz. bloggers unconsciously speaking to her or of her without even knowing it, much as asteroids orbit the sun without even knowing what is the real center of their universe.  I had thought, wrongly as it turns out, I was addressing my treasured colleague Professor Rappaport, talking as we do, too infrequently in person, of the often alarming events of the day, and of course, the intrepid readers of the Right Coast, who come here, I imagine, knowing what they are going to get, weird links and all.  And on that point and as to my link to Miss Pfeiffer singing Making Whoopee being weird, alas, that is probably only too true.  It's just that the image of Governor Palin, clad in a tight red dress (where do these things come from?!  Maybe I need therapy or something), singing the Whiffenpoof song torch style sprang unbidden into my head and it seemed very like, well, inspiration, always a dangerous moment for those of us who, however humbly, worship at the shrine of Calliope (and here's a link -- the last thing I want is for the muse of writing to be mad at me).

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Tom Smith


I think Palin will do until someone better comes along. Critics tend to compare her to a theoretical perfect presidential candidate, while holding Obama, Kerry et al to a lower standard. It was similar with W, who had a lot of flaws but who else who was electable would have done better? That is the thing. Palin is politically competitive and she is not a phony, which nowadays is a rare combination.

Posted by: Jonathan | Nov 15, 2009 10:49:03 AM