Palin vs Reagan

More

Steve Chapman notices the stark difference:

Who needs policy? In her world -- and the world of legions of conservatives who revere her -- the persona is the policy. Palin is beloved because she's (supposedly) just like ordinary people, which (supposedly) gives her a profound understanding of their needs.

That attitude used to be associated with the left, which claimed to speak for the ordinary folks who get shafted by the system.

Logic and evidence about policy, to many liberals, were less important than empathy and good intentions. Now it's conservatives who think we should be guided by our guts, not our brains.

Palin is the embodiment of this approach, never imagining that knowledge and reflection might be of more value than instinct. When Oprah asked if she had felt any doubts about her readiness to be vice president -- which requires the readiness to be president -- Palin replied breezily, "No, no -- I didn't blink. I felt quite confident in my abilities, in my executive experience, knowing that this is an executive administrative job." (The audience tittered.)

Contrast that with Reagan, who after learning of his victory on election night 1980 told his supporters, "There's never been a more humbling moment in my life."

And I, of course, think of Thatcher, whose example helped make me a conservative, and her total grip of policy detail, and her fascination with ideas and history, and her degree in chemistry from Oxford and her training as a lawyer, and years in diligent opposition and government, and her willingness to take on and argue with anyone, and to never quit anything.

And I silently weep that the right has been reduced to this absurd fantasist know-nothing who believes her ignorance is her selling point. It is worse than a descent. It is an abyss.

Jump to comments

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down