Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Question for Conservatives

OK, a Palin question. My impression is that a lot of conservatives like Sarah Palin...but outside of a relatively small group of enthusiasts, most conservatives basically like her as a sidelines bomb-thrower, nothing more, and certainly not as a presidential candidate. Are you in that group? If so, what is it you like about her? Is it her willingness to hit hard? How she makes liberals react? Or do you respect her instincts (if not, perhaps, the depth of her knowledge) on policy? Something else?

(Yes, I'm using the term "bomb-thrower." No, I don't mean it literally. No, I don't think it's horrible for politicians to occasionally use rhetoric that has violent imagery, although I don't particularly like it when they go too that well too often.)


  1. I'm not in that group, so I can't add an answer to the question. But I wanted to thank you for asking it and hope to see cogent and thoughtful responses.

    Anytime I've asked the question....all I get is tired rhetoric and deflection.

  2. She is, to borrow some phrasing, "hated by all the right people." I think people underestimate the role this plays in her popularity. There is a degree to which she is appreciated for the sheer volume and depth of hatred she inspires in some of the left's more extreme elements.

    Anyway, I like that she says things that conservatives more concerned with their perceived electability are afraid to say. That, and yes, I think her "instincts" are more often right than not. Though I'm not sure what mix of personal admiration and policy alignment makes for the ideal candidate, I still put a lot of stock in the latter, and I happen to still agree with what of much she believes, regardless of how it's expressed or how lucid I find her.

    That said, I don't want her to run, and if she does, I don't want her to get the nomination.

  3. I have never been a fan but I have certainly heard and read many of her fans so I think I understand her appeal.

    Being a bomb thrower is part of her appeal but not all. Her lifestyle is a good for conservative identity politics. Having several kids including one with downs syndrome. Living in the West and hunting with guns. If she had one kid, lived in a big metro area suburb and her main hobby was knitting she would not be nearly as popular.

    I wish politics was not based so much on appeals to group identity and candidates lifestyles but that is the reality. If liberals think this is only true on the right I would ask why they adore JFK.

    "Or do you respect her instincts (if not, perhaps, the depth of her knowledge) on policy? Something else?"

    No. I think she supports policies popular with her base without bothering to think if they make sense or appeal to the general electorate. Quitting her governorship was a terrible decision if she wants people to take her seriously or have a future in elective office.

    A big reason I loath her is because of her single mom daughter. I think one of the biggest problems in American life is the increasing number of children growing up without a father in the home. This has been something that the right has not been shy of criticizing unlike the left. For the most popular conservative woman to have a daughter and grandchild live with her and not have the father around depresses me. To have this daughter glamorized on a TV show disgusts me.

  4. Since I am no conservative I can't give a 'primary' answer to this question, but I am mystified by the fascination she holds for a lot of people on the left.

    In 2008 she seemed clearly out of her depth by the modern standard for VP nominees, but that was a reflection on McCain, not her. To the degree that she is obnoxious now (from my point of view), it lies somewhere on the spectrum from 'not handling stardom well' to 'part of her schtick.'

    But why did she become a 'star' in the first place? What makes her such eyeball bait at places like HuffPo? (She isn't that great looking.) I just don't get what the thing is about her, for either side really.

  5. Rick,
    As a person on the left who has a tough time not clicking on every Palin story, I think I can give you a partial answer.

    Pure, unbridled, unrelenting hate. Personally, I find every aspect of Palin despicable. The guns. The quitting. The sheer idiocy. The college shopping until she found one that would graduate her in an easy major. The "folksiness." Really, everything. So, I click on the stories. I'm not really sure why. Definitely, some of it is schaudenfreude, and the media certainly play to this. Headlines and ledes seem tailored to the haters, like me. But, I think it goes beyond that. Honestly, I think hate is a stronger emotion than like. There's also fear in there (fear that she or someone like her will get elected), and fear is primal. If there was a lion in the room, there's no way you'd take your eyes off of it.

    However, this is just spitballing. I think I'm on to something with hate/fear, but I don't know the why's behind that.


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