Futile Advice For Sarah Palin

In an open letter to Sarah Palin, The American Conservative sees in Palin what it once saw in George Bush: a regular person with strong traditional values who champions faith, limited government, and pro-life judges. The AC feels betrayed by a president whose promised “values” agenda was hijacked by neocons.

You see what happened: the president’s entire domestic agenda collapsed under the weight of his failed foreign policy. Social Security reform stalled. Pro-lifers became political orphans. And whatever gains Bush’s tax cuts secured were wiped out by record spending. Everything was subordinated to the war on terror.

It’s doubtful that the president’s failed foreign policy slowed the advance of a conservative domestic agenda. Social security privatization went nowhere because it was spectacularly unpopular. The president was never committed to the right’s values agenda or to a conservative belief in responsible spending and limited presidential power. Lacking views of his own, Bush depended on his corporate political cronies for policy. They happened to be neocons. To appease the religious right, the president said what Karl Rove told him to say, but his real agenda was to redirect the country’s wealth to wealthy countrymen, as well as oil companies and favored corporations like Haliburton.

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The AC’s mistake is to believe that Palin is somehow the authentic ordinary person that Bush never was, that she’s a real mom with strong values who can be counted on to avoid the neocon clutches.

The AC warns Palin against the warlike neocon tendencies that her running mate fully embraces and that her briefing books surely endorse.

Neoconservatives pay lip service to life, but, as their enthusiasm for Lieberman shows, they have higher priorities. Now they plan to make them yours.

The AC persuasively indicts the neocon desire to reignite the Cold War while fighting Islamofascism and spreading democracy worldwide. It surveys the neocon strategy of aggression around the globe and argues in favor of noninterventionist positions. It would be worth Palin's time to read the letter, assuming The AC is among the many unnamed newspapers and magazines that Palin claims to read.

The AC’s analysis stumbles when it urges Palin to reject these views and to follow the heart that beats within a true conservative. Palin’s heart may be full of faith, but her understanding of foreign policy is clearly nonexistent. She will embrace McCain’s positions with loyalty and relief, to the extent that she can understand and remember them. (Perhaps if she reduces them all to song lyrics, ala “Bomb Iran,” she can more easily keep them in mind. This advice seems about as useful as The AC’s.)

The AC wants Palin to be offended that her trainers are treating her like a blank slate.

You’ll find the new friends conducting your foreign-policy crash course pleasant enough, if a little dogmatic and a lot condescending. They call you “Project Sarah.” We saw that one staffer at AEI—that mystery monogram on all your briefing books—said you’re “a blank slate.” He added, “She’s going places, and it’s worth going there with her.” That’s how they operate. They don’t implement their agenda themselves. Rather, they impose it on rising star. If things don’t work out, it’s because the Project wasn’t sufficiently committed. (Just ask President Bush.)

Probably true, but authentic ordinary people like Palin are more likely to watch The OC than to read The AC. Palin’s brief exposures to the sunlight of journalistic inquiry demonstrate her lack of interest in foreign policy. Traditional conservatives are a bit late offering their advice. At this point, Project Sarah is absorbing McCain’s belief system, including his willingness to use military power to promote an American vision of the world. And if through misfortune Palin becomes president, she will do as the McCain team tells her to do. She will be More of the Same on religiously fueled speed. The religious right will love her, but traditional limited government conservatives will be just as disenchanted with her as they are with George Bush.

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    Well, what's true is that (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:20:27 PM EST
    Pat Buchanan really did like Sarah Palin at one point. I remember him saying as much on the eve of the 2006 election.

    So to some degree, the American Conservative probably thinks they have in Palin an asset to protect.

    Assuming she was even smart (none / 0) (#2)
    by Repack Rider on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 10:14:35 PM EST
    How many people could learn enough about baseball in two weeks to debate Joe Torre on the subject?

    Joe Torre? (none / 0) (#3)
    by dws3665 on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 10:25:52 PM EST
    A better comparison might be Yogi Berra.

    I like Biden, and I like Yogi, but they both have a hard time with the whole 'foot, meet mouth' thing.


    I think the AC is just upset (none / 0) (#4)
    by litigatormom on Wed Oct 01, 2008 at 12:03:56 AM EST
    that McCain beat them to it in terms of filling up the empty vessel that is Sarah Palin.

    What on earth makes them think that Palin could change McCain's mind on war-mongering, assuming that she were so inclined?  Do they actually believe that McCain picked her because he sees her as a partner in governing the country?

    so, what they're saying is, (none / 0) (#5)
    by cpinva on Wed Oct 01, 2008 at 12:27:25 AM EST
    gov. palin, like gov. bush before her, is a not very bright person, who should concentrate on simple things?

    ok, i'll buy into that.

    and please, spare me the warnings about how "she's really very smart, she just hides it behind the glazed look of a simpleton, to fool everyone". no, she isn't and doesn't, just as pres. bush isn't and doesn't.

    we see how well that worked out.

    The American Conservative (none / 0) (#6)
    by Mikeb302000 on Wed Oct 01, 2008 at 06:55:37 AM EST
    One thing they did get right is the fact that the so-called War on Terror took precedence over everything else.  

    I see Palin fading into obscurity as we speak.

    hm (none / 0) (#7)
    by connecticut yankee on Wed Oct 01, 2008 at 08:44:06 AM EST
    I don't think they should worry, if she takes the first brainwashing well, she can take another.