Even Some Conservatives Realize Sarah Palin Lacks A Well-Informed Worldview

While many conservatives were excited about the addition of Sarah Palin to the 2008 ticket and support her for the 2012 nomination, other conservatives realize that this would deliver a serious blow to any hopes for a recovery by the Republican Party. In a post at National Review entitled She Doesn’t Have a Well-Informed Worldview, David Frum looks at Sarah  Palin’s interview for John Ziegler’s “How Obama Got Elected” project (video posted here). He gives some reasons why Palin’s interviews are a disaster, regardless of whether they come from legitimate journalists or from supporters:

However nastily and treacherously Palin’s media handlers may have behaved after the election, their only error during the election was to offer too much access to Palin, not too little. Those handlers faced a daunting problem: Their party’s nominee for vice president could not respond to questions without embarrassing herself. The handlers who kept Pain under wraps knew what they were doing. Had Palin refused all interviews during the campaign, there would have been some criticism, but it would have been forgotten by now – and the Gibson and Couric interviews would not be filling YouTube, ready to be rebroadcast in 2012.

Now Palin is hiring her own handlers, making her own decisions, speaking freely. And if anything, the results are even worse than they were in 2008.

Watch the Ziegler interview yourself, and you will see what I mean. Ziegler represented a new and subtle kind of danger for Palin, the overly friendly interview. Ziegler’s questions were all traps, no less dangerous for being set unwittingly. Palin stumbled into every one.

Again and again, Ziegler invited Palin to engage in self-pity and self-excuse – and again and again she accepted.

She tells us she was a victim of sexism. She tells us she was a victim of class prejudice. She complains about her media treatment – then insists she never watched any of it. She deplores the unpleasant personal comments directed against herself, while offering up some equally unpleasant personal comments of her own. She repeatedly shades the truth in order to escape blame for her own mistakes. (She won’t for example let go of our claim that there was some insult to Alaska embedded in Katie Couric’s simple question: “What do you read?”)

A smart politician rebuffs all invitations to speak about his or her own hurt feelings. It’s not just that such talk sounds whiny and weak, although it does. Much more seriously, such talk betrays a self-involvement that alienates voters almost more than any other personal quality. Through the 2008 election, Barack Obama repeatedly said “It’s not about me. It’s about you.” Exactly so! But Palin’s replies to Ziegler make clear that for her, the election was about her. The next election will be even more so, because she has collected so many more grievances along the way.

I appreciate that NRO numbers many die-hard Sarah fans among its readership. Perhaps you were charmed by the Ziegler interview, or anyway sympathetic. But remember: In the last polls before the election, 59% of Americans condemned Palin as unready for the presidency. In the course of the campaign, her support among white women plunged by 21 points. Among independent white women, her support declined even more sharply by 24 points. By the end, half of independent white women expressed a “strongly negative” view of Palin.

If Palin seeks the presidency, these are votes she’s going to need. On the evidence of the Ziegler interview, she has no better understanding of how to seek them than she did in August. Palin’s supporters insist that she can grow and learn. Maybe someday. But on the evidence of this latest interview the growth and the learning have not started yet. Don’t blame the handlers, then, for concealing Palin under wraps. Given their candidate’s flaws and limitations, concealment and evasion was the right media strategy. So it remains, and so it seems it always will.

Palin’s lack of an informed world view is one major reason why she should never be on a major party ticket. Republicans will have difficulties regardless of their candidate as long as they continue to promote ideas which are out of touch with the realities of the twenty-first century, but their problems would be worse if led by someone as uninformed as Sarah Palin.

Polls this far out have limited meaning, but it is notable that a recent poll shows Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin leading for the 2012 Republican nomination. This might not predict the ultimate result, but does show the dominance of social conservatism in the GOP at present. Huckabee does not make the mistakes by Palin which Frum describes.  While I would hate to see any candidates from the religious right dominate the Republican Party, if they must offer such a distasteful choice in 2012 I would prefer that it be Huckabee over Palin.

An intelligent social conservative is preferable over one with Palin’s uninformed world view, even if on paper the two agree on most issues. At least a more intelligent leader has the potential of changing course and possibly seeing some limitations in their world view. Huckabee has made many absurd comments in the past, but at least has moderated his views on some, such as on isolating people who are HIV positive. He has also shown an ability to question some of the ideas of the religious right, such as in arguing that prayer can be done in home as opposed to in the schools. He has also avoided some of the excesses of the right wing on immigration.

Hopefully it won’t come down to a choice between Huckabee and Palin. While the Republican Party is now essentially a party of religious conservatism based in the deep south, nominations are still won in contests in all fifty states. There is also still hope that there might be enough sensible people left in the GOP to attempt to change their direction to avoid going the way of the Whigs.

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  1. 1
    2012Palin says:

    Even Some Conservatives Realize Sarah Palin Lacks A Well-Informed …: While many conservatives were excited abo.. http://tinyurl.com/6vhyeb

  2. 2
    Deo says:

    That WAS a 9 minute pity party, alright!!! Palin also took down 3 women in that interview. She can´t help herself. There is no control there.
    Palin was  catty when talking about Catie Couric, who did nothing to Palin but ask soft ball questions. Why is everyone mad at Couric?
    Palin talked down Tina Fey, and let me remind you all that Palin appeared ON THAT SHOW right along Fey. Look at all the bitterness NOW.
    Then Caroline Kennedy, who is not getting a free pass from the press, as a mattre of fact the press  has compared her to none other then, SARAH PALIN.
    Palin is childish, 4 years is not enough time for the growth necesary.

  3. 3
    2012Palin says:

    Even Some Conservatives Realize Sarah Palin Lacks A Well-Informed …: While many conservatives were excited abo.. http://tinyurl.com/6vhyeb

  4. 4
    Stephen Rose says:

    Well, what goes through my head is if Palin was a candidate in 2016 and her opponent would either be Caroline Kennedy or Michelle Obama.

    I persist in thinking Michelle will be the bellweather in the White House, able to guage whether things are on track or not and able to nudge either the President or the people if a nudge is needed. 

    If Palin has a future, it would suggest the failure of the country to counter its own tendency to go zombie when facing difficult challenges.

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    I remain neutral with regards to Caroline Kennedy becoming a Senator, but at present I sure don’t see her as a potential presidential candidate. Of course a lot can change in eight years, especially if she becomes a Senator and does an excellent job. If the mood is that now it is time to have a woman then her relative inexperience also would matter less.

  6. 6
    Deo says:

    I don´t see Palin a  presidential candidate EVER.
    Honestly, too much ammunition is being gathered, and where there is smoke there IS FIRE.  She is really alienating everyone with this ELITIST (Ha! couldn´t resist) TEAM SARAH stuff. They have set it up as THEM against US. It will NEVER FLY in the long run. A divider is not what a president should be, and they have practically ADMITTED it!  We don´t like YOU, we are with SARAH…it´s childish.
    She has a career in television, that´s it.
    She refuses to do anything that WOULD make others take her seriously. She cannot HELP HERSELF. She just does not want to go back to obscurity and you can smell the Palin desperation.

  7. 7
    Eric D. Rittberg says:

    Of course some Conservatives wouldn’t like Sarah Palin. She’s a libertarian.  We libertarians have had a rocky relationship with conservatives for decades.  Why should anyone be surprised that the most popular libetarian politician in our lifetime is seen as a threat to the conservative movement?

  8. 8
    Eric D. Rittberg says:

    Well, if Sarah Palin is not a candidate on the GOP ticket in 2012, we Libertarians might run her.  The Republican Party would be insane not to tap her to challenge Obama.  But hey, they’ve made insane decisions before, like rolling over when Bush was getting savaged by the liberal media. 

  9. 9
    Ron Chusid says:


    Sarah Palin is no libertarian. Someone like her that supports banning books which offend the religious right, doesn’t even understand the First Amendment, and supports greater government power is hardly a libertarian.

    A few days ago you were saying that the conservative movement has become so libertarian and friendly to libertarians. Make up your mind.

  10. 10
    FairTaxNow says:

    Lets see Mike Huckabee has a hit Tv show garnering over 3 million viewers in a very short time and growing. He has a radio spot on ABC twice a day. His national signing tour for his new book is seeing huge crowds carrying multiple copies. I waited in line here in Mo for over an hour and when I got through the line was still just as large behind me. He is not so quietly building the Fair Tax army that got him alot of votes in 2008 ( a whole chapter in his new book is dedicated to the Fair Tax)
    Anyone that doesnt think he is going to be a huge  power player in 2012 isnt paying attention. GO HUCK and YES to the Fair Tax!

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