A reader writes:
But my criterion for endorsement is a simple one: did he back the GOP ticket? Yes, he did. When that definitionally means a chance of a Palin presidency, I don't think his positioning then or now gets him in the clear. To my mind, anyone who endorsed a national ticket with Palin on it endorsed Palin.
This continues to be unfair to Will on a number of levels:
- It discounts the fact that once McCain chose Palin he spent far more time and ink questioning and criticizing the ticket than praising it. McCain surely didn’t go looking for any more “endorsements” like Will’s. Will has also been relentlessly critical of Palin since then.
- We can only vote for the candidates we have. I agree with you that McCain “disqualified” himself by putting Palin on the ticket, but surely a reasonable person could have argued that Obama’s policy positions and minimal experience equally disqualified him to be president.
- Are we now conclude that all 45.7% of the American voting electorate who pulled the lever for McCain are now “Palin endorsers?” Is it really that way now, Andrew? Us against all the rest of them?
Anyone with a passing knowledge of Will’s columns in the past two years, having read your attempts to shoehorn him into a Fox New-Krauthammer-Palin acolyte caricature, would have to wonder what alternate universe you’re living in.
Another wants specifics:
When did Will's endorsement of the GOP ticket occur? I don't recall him ever openly endorsing the McCain-Palin ticket. In fact, in one column he came very close to saying he found Obama preferable to McCain:
It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?
Yep, Will's long-held disdain of McCain did hold him back from a clear-throated endorsement, and I should have noted that. I stick, however, with my view that a vote for McCain - a 72 year-old survivor of cancer and torture - was a vote for Palin as a potential president. You do not get to avoid responsibility for that now. Ditto Biden, of course, when voting for Obama.