It is amusing that now, many of those who served with honor whether in the government with Ronald Reagan or somewhere in medialand during his presidency, are turning against not only Sen. John "F--- You" McCain, but Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
It is a strange trip, man!
The latest provocateur is the former Reagan speech writer, Peggy Noonan.
For whatever reason, she is the latest of those who cut their conservative teeth under Ronald Reagan does not see that she has become the very people that Mr. Reagan spent his career running against.
Here is her latest summation of Gov. Palin:
In the end the Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics. It’s no good, not for conservatism and not for the country. And yes, it is a mark against John McCain, against his judgment and idealism.
Really, Peggy? What exactly do you mean about a vulgarization in American politics? And it is not good for conservatism?
Let me take question one.
Does Miss. Noonan not think that the left has vulgarized American politics? Take the latest smear that the DDBMSOWM has done to the infamous Joe the Plumber from Toledo, Ohio? Because Joe had the nerve to ask Democrat presidential nominee, Sen Messiah Barack Obama about the tax plan he proposes, and because The One answered honestly, about "sharing the wealth", the Obama allies went to work Joe over.
How about the reaction to those in the left had in wake of the Palin nomination to the vice-presidency?
Just in a posting yesterday, I noted how the left has resorted to wearing profane t-shirts about Gov. Palin.
And that is not vulgar to Miss. Noonan? I guess not.
As far as the Palin nomination not being good for conservatism, I will write this. We heard all of the same thing when Ronald Reagan ran in 1976 and 1980. Many of the people who sided with President Ford and then Ambassador George H. W. Bush were saying the same thing about Ronald Reagan. It was terrible that he attracted the so-called Reagan Democrats. It was not good that he was talking about cutting the size and scope of government. And when it came to the fight against international communism, it was that he was not "nuanced" enough to accept detente and all the accommodation policies that started with the Nixon presidency.
And, they called themselves conservatives.
But, I suspect that what we are seeing happen to those like Miss. Noonan and those who have turned rather vicious against the very ideas that brought them to the position where they are is that they have grown lazy.
By that I believe that they have decided to lock themselves in with the elite crowd of New York City and Washington, D. C. and forget that there really is a rest of the United States out there.
The fact is that Gov. Palin is an unconventional politician, much the way Mr. Reagan was. And, yes, her start in politics was rather different than most. As a mother, then Mrs. Palin got involved in the local PTA and it must have been an eye-opener. It made her run for the Wasilla city council, for the mayor of her hometown. And eventually, she ran for governor of her state, Alaska.
The last major American president to have a political resume like Gov. Palin was Calvin Coolidge.
As far as her intellectual understanding of conservatism, she may be a bit short on that. But she represents a kind of conservatism that we all should be supportive of. Participatory conservatism. She may not have read great thinkers like Russell Kirk, and the like. But she is putting the ideas that are promoted in the conservative think-tanks to practical governance.
And if there is the experience argument, it is valid. Gov. Palin does not have another term as governor under her belt, which would have been ideal. But, she does have a record. And it is one that has had success. Of Gov. Palin being able to carry out a great deal of her agenda in less than two years. I, for one, am trying to find any of a Barack Obama agenda that he had as a state senator in Illinois or for that matter as a first-term senator in Washington.
And, for Miss. Noonan and those like her, Mr. Reagan cut his teeth in politics as the president of a labor union, the Screen Actors Guild. Not exactly the senate, a congressional seat, or a governor's mansion. But, it was that time he was president of SAG that he went from being a lock-step Roosevelt Democrat to a conservative Republican. Again, not really a traditional model.
In reality, Sen. Messiah Barack has had a much more conventional way up the political ladder. But, because he represented an urban, overwhelmingly black state senate district, clearly he was not able to have a diverse view of things that may have tempered his left wing leanings. Had he had the patience of Sen. St. Hillary Clinton, and some legislative accomplishments, he would be a really formidable candidate.
But, back to this topic.
Conservatives in the ivory tower are passing their prime. Most are from the Reagan era and think in terms of the 1980s rather than almost 2009. A lot has changed in that time. Conservative principles have not.
And, Gov. Palin is not trying to change conservatism. But, what she is doing is exactly what Ronald Reagan did. Explain conservatism to a public that, quite honestly, has grown hostile because of the lack of conservatism shown in the waning days of the Bush presidency. Make conservatism understandable, not some esoteric theory dreamed up in the American Enterprise Institute or the Heritage Foundation.
If that is the crime of Sarah Palin, it was the same crime of Ronald Reagan. And the Peggy Noonan's and her allies have become the status quo. And that is a much larger threat to conservatism.
Read the whole Peggy Noonan column, "Palin's Failin"