The Good Candidate

I’m revising my position. After reading this well-thought-out article linked by our blogger friend in New Mexico, I have experienced a spiritual awakening, the scales have fallen from my eyes, and I can see Sarah Palin is a thoroughly inadequate candidate. We’ve got to do something to make this woman go away before she scuttles our chances in 2012, and Barack Obama coasts to an easy second term…which I don’t think this country can survive.

This is the passage that really turned me around:

The years since 2008 were Mrs. Palin’s opportunity to redefine herself, to shake off the McCain tinge, to shatter the press stereotypes of her as a right-wing zealot. This was certainly within her ability. After all, prior to getting tapped in 2008, Mrs. Palin’s reputation was as a clear-eyed, inclusive reformer–one with soaring bipartisan approval ratings.

Instead, Mrs. Palin has chosen to cater mostly to her loyalist base. She’s purposely chosen to insert herself into nearly every national controversy–all but forcing voters to be for her or against her. Far from being reassured, many independents have felt confirmed in their fears about her temperament. She remains radioactive among a majority of voters, and she has even polarized Republicans. A March poll showed that 37% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents view her unfavorably, a number that far outpaced that of any other potential GOP candidate.

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The stakes in 2012 are high. Mr. Obama is a sitting president. It will take a mighty GOP nominee (not to mention a lot of luck) to knock him off. Mrs. Palin would come into this race with little or no infrastructure, a near complete lack of a policy agenda, and eye-popping unfavorables. Nothing is impossible in politics, but her start is not encouraging.

Yes, now that I’m looking in on this “other” world from the outside, and making my first moves toward joining it, I can understand the appeal.

Making decisions a certain way, because & only because nameless, faceless strangers, whom you don’t know and never will meet, made the same choices. Choices you embrace fully, but the logic to which you will not, and cannot, explain.

It’s like a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders. No responsibility. Don’t ask me why this is the right choice, I only know that it is! Look at all those other people! Whoops, sorry, you can’t see them and neither can I. Oh well, they’re out there. Somewhere. Other nameless, faceless no-account busybodies keep telling me about ’em…and they wouldn’t lie. Why would they? They have no preconceived agenda at all! I think.

Anyway, I can certainly see the appeal. “Everybody knows it’s true because everybody knows that everybody knows.” No one taking individual responsibility for figuring out what the facts are, or what they might mean. Proxy fact-gathering, proxy-inference-forming, proxy-freakin’-everything. It’s like going back to high school or something.

Well, here’s one nagging problem with my conversion: If Palin is not the good candidate, then who is? So far, in spite of my asking this question of the rightward-leaning libertarian-spirit Palinophobes…I haven’t got back a single cogent, coherent response. Not one. Not a single time.

I haven’t even got the beginnings of a list of requirements to be applied, to figure out who such a candidate must be.

So I figured I’d do this legwork for them. Heck, if they were ever going to do it themselves, let’s face facts, they’d have done it by now. And they won’t put together such a list, so it falls to me.

They’ve been unified, and enthused, about why they disapprove of Palin so much. So the way I figure it, this is just building on top of the foundation they’ve already laid. So onward with Step 2 — your “Good Candidate” requirements document…

1. Male, or ugly woman; either way, never wears a skirt or dress
2. Went to Yale or Harvard, or a school with the right “prestige”
3. There is nothing novel about the state of origin, which rules out not only Alaska but probably a dozen others
4. Enlisted, saw combat, but not in any war or engagement that was particularly controversial
5. Meticulously puts “g” on the ends of all words
6. No pregnant daughters, no family members with mental disabilities
7. Children all have common names
8. Never participated in any gross or disgusting work that might show up on Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs
9. The usual with kids’ education; candidate is an advocate for public schools, but kids all go to Sidwell
10. Takes “moderate” positions on global warming, which I guess means we need new taxes to fix it all
11. “Moderate” on the economy, which I take to mean we need more regulation like what caused the mess in the first place
12. “Moderate” on stimulus spending, means we need to keep trying it again and again until it magically works
13. “Moderate” on drilling, which means don’t
14. “Moderate” on education, and that would have to mean don’t make any waves with the teachers’ unions
15. Wears all kinds of expensive clothes, but for unexplained reasons the media will never question it
16. Knows that Gaborone is the capitol of Botswana and that it has a population of 192,000…or isn’t asked about any such thing
17. Refuses to talk about Bill Ayers or Jeremiah Wright
18. Despises waterboarding
19. On record as thinking Dick Cheney is pure evil
20. Friend to Oprah
21. Gets along great with Joy Behar
22. Bill Maher thinks he’s a swell guy
23. David Brooks likes him
24. Plays a musical instrument while guesting on Letterman
25. Laughs good-naturedly at jokes at his expense, even if he’s called a baby killer or a war criminal

And after all that, don’t tell me let me guess…everyone to the political left of Orin Hatch is going to stay home, or vote to re-elect Obama anyway. Because He’s cuter. Sounds like a plan!

Hmmm…you know, after looking this plan over, along with what details I can cobble together and the likely outcome of it all…I dunno. It’s like I have a feeling of deja vu. Like I’ve already been through this a couple years ago…plus six months and twenty-nine days. Just a feeling I can’t shake. Am I imagining it?

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes and Washington Rebel.

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