Sarah Palin Unqualified

Millions of dollars have been spent to make us think so, and it’s apparently working.

All told, 59 percent of voters surveyed said Ms. Palin was not prepared for the job, up nine percentage points since the beginning of the month. Nearly a third of voters polled said the vice-presidential selection would be a major factor influencing their vote for president, and those voters broadly favor Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee. [emphasis mine]

Since the beginning of the month.

What events, pray tell, occurred since the beginning of the month to make people convinced of such a thing…people who were left unconvinced as of the thirtieth of September? The Katy Couric interview? Nope, sorry. Occurred before that. The “Bush Doctrine” thing, in which it turned out Palin was correct and it was the reporter who needed an education about it? Nope. That was even earlier.
It’s the time span declared, that creates the glaring logical problem with this. It’s a fair statement to make that throughout October, nothing substantial transpired to convince anyone of Palin’s unfitness or incompetence provided they weren’t so convinced before. Nothing substantial…and only one thing that was insubstantial. The spending of millions of dollars to get the word out.

That old meme about “all Republicans who pose a threat to democrats must be stupid if they were born after Pearl Harbor (and must be evil if they were born before).”

I guess that old warhorse still has a few years of life left in ‘er. That’ll always be the case, you know, as long as people are more malleable in their thinking than they believe themselves to be. And they are. Everyone wants to be placed on the pedestal reserved for independent thinkers…so few really merit that.

Meanwhile, here are a few words jotted down by Elaine Lafferty, who used to run Ms. Magazine. Yeah, that notorious right-wing libertarian rag Ms. Lafferty’s as loyal-democrat as they come, and she actually sat with and talked to that clueless dolt Sarah P. In close quarters. In October, and before.

It’s difficult not to froth when one reads, as I did again and again this week, doubts about Sarah Palin’s “intelligence,” coming especially from women such as PBS’s Bonnie Erbe, who, as near as I recall, has not herself heretofore been burdened with the Susan Sontag of Journalism moniker. As Fred Barnes–God help me, I’m agreeing with Fred Barnes–suggests in the Weekly Standard, these high toned and authoritative dismissals come from people who have never met or spoken with Sarah Palin. Those who know her, love her or hate her, offer no such criticism. They know what I know, and I learned it from spending just a little time traveling on the cramped campaign plane this week: Sarah Palin is very smart.

I’m a Democrat, but I’ve worked as a consultant with the McCain campaign since shortly after Palin’s nomination. Last week, there was the thought that as a former editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine as well as a feminist activist in my pre-journalism days, I might be helpful in contributing to a speech that Palin had long wanted to give on women’s rights.

Now by “smart,” I don’t refer to a person who is wily or calculating or nimble in the way of certain talented athletes who we admire but suspect don’t really have serious brains in their skulls. I mean, instead, a mind that is thoughtful, curious, with a discernable pattern of associative thinking and insight. Palin asks questions, and probes linkages and logic that bring to mind a quirky law professor I once had. Palin is more than a “quick study”; I’d heard rumors around the campaign of her photographic memory and, frankly, I watched it in action. She sees. She processes. She questions, and only then, she acts. What is often called her “confidence” is actually a rarity in national politics: I saw a woman who knows exactly who she is.

That’s probably why the millions of dollars were spent to get the word out that she don’t know nuthin’. Nothing scares a politician, or for that matter anyone in any position of power, like an everyman with a brain in his head who actually uses it. As Ayn Rand said, thinking men can’t really be ruled.

And this is the real concern about the nine-point swing. Palin certainly has had her stumbles and hiccups, one could even call them gaffes…but since they all occurred before this huge jump in her incompetence rating, what we have here is a jump of nine solid points, every single one of ’em delivered by propaganda, since the evidence did nothing to support this in the timeframe specified. Every single point, and every single fraction of a point — that’s all people parroting what they were told to think, there.

Should this concern us? I’d ordinarily say no, because people have always wanted to put on a big show of thinking for themselves, and they’ve always been dissappointing in this. It’s one of those things that go all the way back to the snake giving Eve that apple…or the first man’s ape-tail shriveling up into nothingness, if that’s your point of view. Humans have always wanted to be regarded by other humans as deep, solitary, independent thinkers. They’ve never wanted to do much to earn that.

Here’s what concerns me. You can’t just spend millions of dollars repeating over and over again that a certain smart person is stupid, and then enjoy a nine percent increase in the number of people who believe it to be true. People have to have some reason to clamber on board the bandwagon. Sarah Palin hasn’t been giving people reason to believe that it’s true. As far as I know, free cigarettes and hooch haven’t been passed out to people willing to sign on to the idea that Palin’s a moron…and so it comes down, by process of elimination, to a technique the democrat power-brokers and party bosses are known for using, and using very well.

The “I’m not too sure about you” technique. The “maybe-you-can-count-on-me” technique.

The weapon wielded here, is your own uncertainty. Tell a man you think he’s scum and nothing he does will ever change your mind, and you can’t get him to do anything.

Tell a man you think he’s wonderful and nothing anybody else does will change your mind, and you get the same result.

But you tell him you used to like him, now you’ve heard some ugly stuff, or accuse him of some skulduggery here or there…put on a good act that you’re thoroughly convinced that he did what he did, even though you just pulled it out of your a$$…but are undecided about whether the fellow deserves the consequences that would surely rain down upon his head if word got out…maybe demonstrate the capability to convince others of this imaginary transgression, nevermind whether there are any facts that would back it up.

He’ll move mountains for you.

And he’ll believe everything you tell him.

It always has the potential to work, and it does work nearly always. That’s because we’re all flawed. If you’ve made mistakes in the past and haven’t come to terms with them, a complete stranger can accuse you of something else entirely unrelated, something of which you couldn’t possibly be guilty. If the facts don’t back him up but he still strikes a chord…he’s got at least a shot at owning your very soul. We seem to have it wired into our brains to think “well, I didn’t steal any office supplies like he thinks I did, but I returned a library book a week late a few years ago and he doesn’t know about that, so I guess it all evens out.”

The only exception to that rule, is the true Howard Roarks of the world; recall what Ayn Rand said about thinking men being ruled. People who believe in what they do everyday, who are strong enough to sustain their own definition of what’s worthwhile, and know that they themselves are it. In other words, that stuff we used to call “self-respect.” That isn’t being a perfect being, devoid of sin. That simply means making up your own mind about things. This technique of “friend yesterday enemy today maybe-friend tomorrow” doesn’t work on them.

Apparently, it does work effectively in the here-and-now. Hence my concern. It would seem this isn’t Howard Roark’s finest year. Individual self-respect seems to have gone on a holiday.

I wonder if we’ll ever see it again. It would be nice if we did…but if that doesn’t happen before Tuesday, I don’t suppose it very much matters. Enjoy your two years of socialism, and for being forced to live under it, you can thank the people around you who are utterly lacking in self-respect. Whatever the personal reason they have for missing it, in every country in which socialism has prospered, they are always the ones who brought it on in. The kind of person who yanks her daughter out of school to go see the Replacement-God-Man in action. Yay, the unicorn-fart man will pay my mortgage for me…

H/T for the video to Cassy Fiano.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

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