National Review's John J Miller teases his audio interview with Claire Berlinski thus:
We talk about why people still talk about Thatcher after all these years, how the Iron Lady would respond to the financial crisis, and whether Berlinski sees any Thatcher in Sarah Palin.
On the actual page, NRO goes a little further:
Claire Berlinski, author of There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters, says, “[H]er lower-middle class background inspired a degree of snobbery among her critics…that is absolutely shocking…who found her…middle-class gentility odious’, who said she literally made them sick.”
Get the implication? But the actual interview reveals that Berlinski, like anyone else who knows anything about Margaret Thatcher, finds the comparison with Palin as absurd as it is insulting:
JM: Do you see any of Margaret Thatcher in Sarah Palin?
CB: Honestly, no. I mean, I know we'd all like to believe that we see Margaret Thatcher in Sarah Palin, but I'd like to point out that there are some extremely significant differences.
By the time Thatcher was elected she'd had a 20-year parliamentary career, and her clearly expressed views -- and I do mean clearly expressed -- about every matter of crisis, problem and debate of concern to Britain over the past two decades were a matter of public, parliamentary record. Now, the question isn't whether Palin could be prepared to acquit herself on the world stage, if she had sufficient time and experience, it's whether she is prepared now, given that, you know, there's a non-zero chance that she could be president of the United States. Whenever you look at Thatcher during the period before she became prime minister, taking questions from a hostile Opposition, or in a press conference -- and she did plenty of press conferences, she did plenty of debating, too, in contexts where she's being questioned with about as much hostility as you can get, short of actual violence -- she acquits herself magnificently. Absolutely magnificently.
With a really encyclopedic command of the issues, and a willingness to answer questions directly -- and extremely compellingly -- with an extraordinary mastery of economic statistics, and with the simple historical facts at her disposal. So, no. I don't think there's any real comparison between Sarah Palin and Margaret Thatcher. You could say perhaps that there's a comparison in terms of character, or temperament, or ambition. But in terms of really being prepared, there's no comparison. Let's be honest about that.
Thatcher was a brilliant, pioneering, fearless, open and ethical conservative. Palin is a proudly ignorant, cowardly, secretive, unethical, know-nothing populist. And John Miller used to be a fair writer.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.