Conservative defections continue regarding Gov. Sarah Palin. Peggy Noonan, former speechwriter for George H. W. Bush (remember "a thousand points of light"?), has weighed in with a verdict on Palin and her, ah, talents.
[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.Whoa, sister. This is a no-holds-barred indictment of Palin and her fuzzy political philosophy. More importantly, it's an indictment of John McCain and his decision to select a vice presidential candidate wholly unsuited for the job.
But it's unclear whether she is Bushian or Reaganite. She doesn't think aloud. She just . . . says things.
Worse, perhaps, is the unqualified embrace of Palin in places like, well, Oklahoma. While conservative writers and thinkers are jettisoning Palin daily, here in the Heartland, she's still the cat's meow.
Being a hockey mom, a hunter, beauty queen and some sort of "normal" conservative, Sarah Palin is one of us, the logic goes, so we should support her.
This is foolish, we think, because it assumes that "a person like us" will be a good and wise leader. That seems unlikely. We really like the clerk at the neighborhood QuikTrip; he seems to be a regular guy. But he's highly unlikely to be much of a political leader.
Isn't it better to put our faith in extraordinary people, men and women of talent, accomplishment and skill? John McCain, Joe Biden and Barack Obama can pass this test. Sarah Palin can't.