The Palin revisionism continues in earnest from Robert Stacy McCain:
Yet somewhere between Bush’s historic triumph in November 2004 (when he became the first president since 1988 to be elected by a popular-vote majority) and November 2006, the wheels fell off the Permanent Republican Majority. Suddenly, as if awakened from fairy-tale slumbers, conservative intellectuals began to regret that George W. Bush was not one of them.
Think about it. Peggy Noonan, Christopher Buckley, David Frum — what is the thread that connects them? All worked as speechwriters: Noonan for Reagan, Buckley for Bush 41, Frum for Bush 43. While these Republican wordsmiths had all praised Dubya’s machismo magnificence when he was contrasted with such pompous rivals as Al Gore and John Kerry, the bloom fell off that rose after 2006.
That born-again, down-to-earth, drawling Texas thing — somehow, it had once made Bush seem like Gary Cooper in High Noon. But as the disasters mounted and the poll numbers headed southward, that Gary Cooper glow faded and these conservative intellectuals turned on their TVs to behold, with unspeakable horror, President Jethro Bodine.
Thus their reaction to Sarah Palin. While the Republican Party grassroots looked at Palin and saw an American Margaret Thatcher (except much sexier), the conservative intellectuals looked at her and saw . . . Vice President Ellie Mae Clampett.
Look, I voted for Bush twice, and quickly came to regret it, so I am not going to pick on people who are belatedly figuring out Bush was and is a disaster. After all, what would be the point of picking on someone who is only a marginally slower learner than me?
But the Palin revisionism has got to stop. Palin’s problems were HER fault, not the fault of her handlers, not the fault of a liberal media, and most certainly not the fault of George Bush and the “conservative intellectuals.” The reason folks saw VP Ellie Mae Clampett was not because of residual Bush hatred or because they were projecting Bush’s failures onto Palin, but because of Palin’s own actions.
To my knowledge, George Bush and the “conservative intellectuals” didn’t force her to lie on the stump for several weeks straight with her “thanks, but no thanks” line about the Bridge to Nowhere. George Bush and the “conservative intellectuals” didn’t take part in the prep work before her disastrous Gibson interview, and Bush probably could have been counted on to give a marginally better description of the Bush doctrine (and, in fact, “conservative intellectuals” actually prostituted themselves out to provide Palin cover for her gaffe). George Bush and the “conservative intellectuals” didn’t tell Palin to say all the stupid things she said to Katie Couric. George Bush and the “conservative intellectuals” didn’t buy her two hundred grand worth of clothing and force her to wear it. George Bush and the “conservative intellectuals” didn’t tell her to ignore every question at the debate and instead ramble on inanely about whatever her talking points were. George Bush and the “conservative intellectuals” didn’t get Palin to whip up McCain/Palin crowds into something that resembled a modern day Triumph of the Will. George Bush and the “conservative intellectuals” aren’t responsible for Palin’s muddled answer about Hamas. And on and on.
One person is responsible for all that, and her name is Sarah Palin. Maybe you could ding George Bush for being such a disaster that people are no longer going to put up with this kind of idiocy, and maybe you could ding George Bush for creating a political climate that is inhospitable for incoherent rambling redneck know-nothings.
But you can’t blame George Bush or the “conservative intellectuals” for Sarah Palin being, well, Sarah Palin. Vice President Ellie Mae Clampett is a product of one person, and that person is Sarah Palin.
Moving along, McCain moves from the merely silly to the absurd:
Just as the conservative intellectuals once projected their hopes onto Dubya, now they project their disappointments onto Sarah. But the fault is theirs, not hers. And Sarah has something the intellectuals don’t have — an army. Brother, I’ve seen that army.
So you can take your David Frums and your David Brookses, and let Sarah take that army and, by God, we’ll see whose Republican Party this is.
We know full well whose party it is, and that is why it is President-elect Obama and moderates and independents fled to the Democratic party in 2008. And please stop with the Reagan comparisons. Reagan, for whatever faults he may have had, spent the better part of several decades repeatedly enunciating his beliefs. You may not have agreed with his vision for America, but he had one. Sarah Palin, by contrast, ran Wasilla into debt, sent a load of checks to Alaskans as governor while creating several scandals, and then spent three months on the trail winkin’ and not blinkin’ while mumbling something about “socialists” and “thanks but no thanks” and “pals around with terrorists.”
You guys keep running with that. We’ll see how that works out.
*** Update ***
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.
I wonder who they will blame for her decisions now?