Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dobbs, Palin, and the Master of Resentment

One thing to add (working from Justin Miller's very nice comment about Dobbs and Palin)...the greatest candidate of resentment, Richard M. Nixon, was far more of a Palin than a Dobbs. Nixon was far better at it than Palin, but then again by 1968, even by 1960, he had far more practice on the national stage.

Nixon's entire political persona was about being a little guy who got no respect from American elites. That's what the Checkers speech (in 1952, which he was running for Vice President) was about; that's what Nixon's book after losing a campaign, Six Crises, was about. Nixon's political gift, like Palin's, was to be resentment personified. Just as it is with Palin, you were supposed to like Nixon because he didn't go to Harvard, and he didn't have any advantages in life, and because the liberals just hated him (all true for Nixon, for what's it's worth).

I think that's a very, very valuable asset among Republicans. Unfortunately for Palin, she hasn't shown that she has the other traits that helped Nixon get to the White House -- hard work, perseverance, and, well, intelligence. If it turns out that she does have those traits, she has plenty of time to recover from her disastrous national introduction and wind up a formidable national figure.

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