Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | July 14, 2009

Loving and Hating Sarah Palin Are Twin Sides of the Same Coin

Twice this weekend neighbors made passing conversation about how much they loved Sarah Palin.  And I got an earful over the phone.  Maybe admired and supported are better words.  One person spoke of wanting to clean house of the Ivy League elitests in government – for good.  I asked if my two Ivy degrees made present company excepted.  He said, that I was shaped at West Point and my time in grad schools didn’t bend or twist me.

A neighbor spoke of irritating his in-laws by asking them to be specific about what they disliked about Gov. Palin.  Like good liberal bigots, they couldn’t name particulars.  They offered snide disgust instead of reasoned opposition.

Guys at the 7-11 just cheered how she was like Harry Truman – and some of them were old enough to remember Give’m Hell Harry.   They love that she isn’t from the political class.

I see the guts and, general, good sense of a Truman, Reagan, Thatcher, Kirkpatrick.   But, she hasn’t done the reading they did.  She could read and absorb about 125 books in a year if she took the time off and spent it at the Heritage Institute or like place.   It would provide the backing, depth, to her right side solution for issue after issue.   It would serve America if she wants to be President.

I don’t know what is her political future.  But, she touched the right nerve in the public body.  Both sides twitch involuntarily at her stimulus – and in opposite directions.  She must be hitting a precise pressure point. 

I wish her well – and her family.

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Responses

  1. Interesting comment — the reading. I give reading a lot of weight, but I think experience more important. An Palin has had some experiences.

    We should take each as we find each other. We should be content to let our friends remake themselves (and we each do). Unfortunately, we normally react to each other by suggesting the other guy needs to be more like us. Because you value the reading you have done much, and you suggest it, of course. Good, kindly intended suggestion. Whether Palin will take it…

    I fear the main thing that will determine Palin’s future political success is the ability of her and her family to endure the unrelenting personal attacks. What price is she willing to pay? What can we do to help her. Perhaps reading, particularly the Bible, will help her to endure.

    To endure. That is hard. Conservatives and Republicans have a habit of discarding “failures.” These are people who offered us their leadership and been brought low, sometimes by their own failures and sometimes by the Democrats and the corporate news media. How much is Palin willing to risk? How much is she willing to endure?

    Is it not strange that Democrats can be so obviously corrupt and still their party will stand beside them. We, on the other hand, cannot forgive much of anything. We are too much I fear fair weather friends. Then we wonder why we do not have any Conservative leadership.

    At this point, I just hope Palin has the guts, and the general, good sense you mentioned. And I hope we have the wisdom to stand beside her, to hold her up, and to help her to endure. 🙂

  2. CT: Your comment speaks to your inner man – and it is quite complimentary. You show real lovingkindness.

    The Bible talks about the baby Christian (doesn’t use that term) being tossed like a boat on the waters in the wind. The books would add depth to the ideas and her gut.

    I’ve often said that I am way better educated than Rush Limbaugh, but I can’t wait to hear his take on a issue, because his gut is way smarter than my head. He gets the many sides of issues instantly – and better than I do.

    Palin and family need prayer support. The Bible promises Believers peace beyond understanding, joy that knows no bounds and persecution. Comes with the territory.

    Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, Wilson, and Truman were very well read Presidents. Maybe there were others too. It makes a difference in judgement. Study and experience work in parallel to train and educate.

  3. Peggy Noonan’s piece in the Wall Street Journal last week said it very clearly and accurately about Sarah Palin. She (Palin) seems to be a person of principle in terms of some of the private life decisions she has made, but she essentially knows very little about the things that require the attention of national leaders. To paraphrase Noonan(I don’t have the piece in front of me) Palin was disadvantaged by having been born into a political philosophy without having had to understand why it makes sense or why she should espouse it. For that reason, she couldn’t withstand even superficial questioning from such intellectual giants as Katie Couric about what her core beliefs meant or why she held them.

    It is a reflection on the low quality of conservative thought in the political context that there are so many who have just latched onto “conservatism” without understanding its roots or evolution. Palin is one of these youngsters who suffers from that problem.

  4. NoVA Scout – We each approach life with different talents. In addition, we each have different opportunities to hone the talents we have. So cavalierly passing judgment on anyone is a risky business.

    What I find curious about Sarah Palin is that large numbers of people found John McCain’s VP choice more attractive than John McCain himself. In addition, Palin’s political opponents despise her. Such hatred usually indicates fear.

    SoI suspect the good lady has much more intellectual depth than you credit. In fact, I find it odd that you feel compelled to discredit her. Of course, I also find your explanations of conservatism no more coherent than you seem to find Sarah Palin’s.

    It is nice to have a leader with a smooth and practiced tongue. It is better to have a leader you trust, someone who says what they mean and tries to live the values they espouse. Perhaps that is the quality some people have found in Sarah Palin. Have you looked for it?

  5. NoVa Scout: Conservative thought has depth – contemporary writing when it presumes to be Conservative thinking tends to be scarce – and the popular stuff is shallow. Almost as thin as the veneer of cheap polish the Liberals put on anything amusingly called ‘thought’ on their behalf.

    If she reads the right books and is taught them, she’ll be as deep – and fierce – as any Founding Father.

    CT: I think she has natural smarts, but needs to read more. Not a rock, but an encouragement. I’ll support her as she is over any Socialist – soon to be Totalitarian Liberal Human Secularist.

  6. CT: I have not run for national office. Had I done so, you would have had a chance to weigh and measure the depth of my knowledge and the foundations of my conservatism. Mrs. Palin has, so comparison between her and me rather misses the point. My concern is not that Mrs. Palin is a less capable politician (at least in some sense) than I am. My point is that she knows very little about anything of importance to leadership in a complex time. I know a hundred women in my church and work environments who exhibit precisely the values-based living that you find appealing in Sarah Palin. It is wonderful that these people exist and exist in abundance. The problem is that virtually all of them are better prepared to be President of the United States than Mrs. Palin, and I’m sure my sample is minute compared to the universe of such admirable women.

    If Mrs. Palin has depth she should not hide it under a bushel. I don’t suspect that she is stupid. I do believe she is unacceptably ignorant for a national political figure. As JAB says, she probably could come up to speed with some intense study in the coming years.

    My criticism is not confined to Mrs. Palin – she is merely an example of a kind of facile, talking points-based “conservatism” that has infected American politics (something similar happens on the far left) where labels replace understanding. I don’t buy into it and think it harmful to the community at the local state and national level. One of the reasons that I am a big Deo Vindice fan is not because I agree with our host on every issue, but because his conservatism is formed based on knowledge, study, life experience in pursuits that test the mettle of a man (or woman). I’d like to see our political scene have to achieve a bit more substance.

  7. So Palin does not have any intellectual depth. Not well read. And how do you know? From the efforts of news media to investigate her intellectual depth.

    Just an observation. The Founding Fathers had libraries, but books were then comparatively rare. Electric lighting had yet to be invented. So I doubt any them ever read as many books as any one of us. Intellectual giants that we are.

    What the Founders did do is give considerable thought to what they had read. In addition to reading the same books repeatedly, they carefully discussed what they had read, debating each point. Moreover, they had the opportunity to put what they had read into practice.

    The Founders also measured their understanding of how we should govern ourselves against a fixed reference point, the wisdom provided in the Bible. Because their careful and considered readings included the Bible, they conducted themselves wisely.

    Because the People they led readily appreciated the Bible, the Founders’ wisdom was more readily accepted. Palin, on the hand, is castigated just for taking the Bible seriously. Rather than being a commentary on Palin’s depth, I fear that is more likely to be a hit against on our own.

  8. OFL, actually, I would never expect the “news media” to be able to tell me much about anyone’s intellectual depth. The best way to gauge it is to listen to the person speak in a variety of situations. One gets the best feel for these things out of a person’s own mouth.

    I agree with many of your observations about the founders, particularly the very important point you make that their reading had depth and quality to it, not just quantity. so much of what people read today is the literary equivalent of a diet of empty calories – no nutritional value.

    However, I think you may overestimate the centrality of the Bible to their erudition. It was, indeed, and important component, but many of the key Founders were very distinct in their day for their close knowledge of pagan and secular works, both pre- and post- Christian era. Several of them were at ease with Greek and Latin and were well plugged in to the works of classical Greece as well as (for them) more contemporary secular thinkers like Locke, Hobbes, Montesquieu, et al. As rationalists, men like Franklin, Jefferson, and Washington, were wary of conventional Christianity as practiced and observed in their day.

    I have not heard Palin castigated “for taking the Bible seriously.”

  9. The Founders did indeed know of Greek and Latin writers. And they admired the Roman republic. The wondered at its fall and the ruins of Pompeii, discover not too long before their times.

    When we read the works of the Greeks and the Latins, we discover men who see themselves living life on a stage. Their immortality was to be remembered for the glory of their deeds. Yet they feared they were but the toys of the gods. Were the Founders infected with such? Perhaps to degree.

    What made the Founders different? Although they were but men, they did not believe in capricious gods. They believed in a God who loved them and judged them. Although the mused over and struggled with the Bible, they believed in a Christian God and in the providence of His mercy. They believed God is a perfectly rational being.


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