As tedious as it seems, I have to say a few words on the exchange between John Schwenkler and R.S. McCain. McCain seems to be laboring under the false impression that C11 was a) building a political movement and b) uniformly hostile to Sarah Palin. Neither is correct. The name of the site might have clued him on the first point, and paying more than passing attention to what its contributors had to say would have helped him with the second. Nor is McCain’s implicit claim that “the public” embraced Palin correct. If “the public” is never wrong (a strange claim for a conservative), Palin must be as bad as her critics claim, since most of the public does not care for her or at the very least does not embrace her. Is Palin “arguably the best hope for preventing the four years of Obama from becoming eight years of Obama”? Obviously not. It’s not even close, and the left would like nothing moe than for the GOP to believe this. Those who think she is the answer need to pause and reconsider before lecturing anyone about their lack of political insight. If anyone has had a “fanatical obsession” in connection with Gov. Palin, it has been McCain and his endless mooning over how wonderful she is.
McCain isn’t done yet:
Schwenkler seems to argue, as do so many of Palin’s critics, that there is something fundamentally wrong with the Republican Party seeking the support of voters who don’t have college diplomas.
John does not “seem” to argue this, and there is nothing in his remarks that suggest this. Goodness knows we could stand to have the GOP do more to seek the support of voters who don’t have college diplomas–and they could do more to seek the support of voters who do have them. They might start by crafting policies that actually serve the interests of both groups and take it from there. Instead they throw up symbolic champions who are supposed to embody a certain way of life, give all the right signals and ham it up as jes’ folks while supporting the most conventional establishment policies that work to the detriment of precisely “voters who don’t have college diplomas.” At the same time, the GOP strikes the pose of the willfully, proudly ignorant, delighting in its members’ lack of expertise, that alienates those who have graduated from college. It’s the worst of all worlds: ignoring the interests of its natural constituents while deliberately mocking the education of the middle and upper-middle class. If the GOP keeps “building” its political coalition like this, it will soon be gone from the scene. Palinites don’t accept either populism in any meaningful form, at least not if Palin’s positions during the campaign count for anything, and they are satisfied to pay lip service to “the people” to co-opt them in the perpetuation of establishment policies that do them no good. Unlike most of Palin’s conventional boosters, McCain does not go along with all of those policies, but he is more than happy to be a cheerleader for a politician who does. Behind all of his endless blather about being duty-bound to defend the common people, McCain is helping to enable every habit in the modern GOP that works to harm them and their communities. Perhaps that is why he so desperately clings to the fiction that Palin’s critics hate Middle Americans. Perhaps at some level he is aware that he is doing more to undermine Middle American interests with his shameless Palin-worship than any of them ever will.