Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Race Just Got Interesting

For someone who is a principled conservative, this has not overall been an exciting election season. There's been much to fear, as a gifted young orator with warmed-over ideas from the Great Society whips up crowds into moments of collective ecstasy over plans most of his fervent supporters are too young to remember the failure of. But there's been no one who seems to have real conservative principles at heart. (No, I don't believe Romney is much of a conservative. Huck and Ron Paul both struck me as mildly unhinged. Thompson has a folksy manner, but it takes more than that to make a statesman. Don't get me started on Rudy.)

I've had a sort of grudging respect for McCain for some time. I don't think he's particularly conservative, except in a certain temperamental fashion. There are some issues where I generally agree with him (unlike most conservatives, immigration is one of these) but there are others where I think he's quite wrong. He does, however, have a certain Old Roman sort of honor and civic virtue -- something rare
in politics these days. Though there are issues on which I disagree with him, I do at least respect McCain's gravitas as a Cato or Pliny-like figure -- a respect I do not have for Obama's lightweight Tiberius Gracchus impersonation.

However, I'd basically expected McCain to run a solid (to the point of stolid), honorable and slightly boring campaign, and be patted on the back in November for letting Obama win by "only" 30-40 electoral votes and 2% of the popular vote. However, there's more life and imagination in the old lion than that. When McCain introduced Governor Palin to the nation last Friday, I started feeling enthusiastic for the first time in this election cycle, and it started to seem possible that McCain really did have it in him to lead a winning ticket.


One of my biggest problems with the GOP of late has been its descent into petty corruption, fiscal irresponsibility, and no more than lip service to principled conservative ideals. The Palin pick suggests to me strongly that McCain is prepared to take on the first two of these, and perhaps some of the third.

However, many were clearly not as impressed with the pick as I was. While I'd been reading about Palin and hoping that she'd be chosen for the last few months, reliable liberal media commentator Eleanor Cliff reported that when the McCain pick was announced there was open laughter in many newsrooms. Many analysts immediately claimed that this represented a ham-handed attempt to appeal to feminist Hillary voters -- which was doomed to failure because Palin was hopelessly "anti-choice" and not of sufficiently elite pedigree. When Palin and her husband released a press release on Monday saying that their seventeen-year-old daughter and her eighteen-year-old fiance were pregnant (and expressing the hope that the media would respect their privacy) the media initiated a complete bloodbath (the NY Times ran three cover stories on the daughter's pregnancy) and roundly scolded McCain for incompletely vetting Palin. Many theorized that McCain had become so scared and so desperate after seeing Obama's convention speech Thursday, that he made a desperate gamble by picking a totally unqualified woman for the ticket.

That this line of thinking got so much coverage just goes to show how strongly many in the media are invested in Obama's candidacy, because the facts of the matter were readily available. (And that's ignoring the ridiculous and despicable "her youngest baby isn't really hers" rumors which were happily dug up from the swamps of the Daily Kos and circulated by mainstream press outlets.)

However, it turns out that this theory is very easily refuted. This Washington Post article does a pretty good job of talking to the insiders about the VP selection process, and it definitely sounds like this was no last minute decision.

It seems that McCain first met Palin back in February at a governor's convention, where he was impressed with her reform credentials and her grasp of the all-important energy issue. They talked 1x1 there briefly, and McCain reportedly had her near the top of his VP candidate list ever since.
Far from being a last-minute tactical move or a second choice when better known alternatives were eliminated, Palin was very much in McCain's thinking from the beginning of the selection process, according to McCain's advisers. The 44-year-old governor made every cut as the first list of candidates assembled last spring was slowly winnowed. The more McCain learned about her, the more attracted he was to her as someone who shared his maverick, anti-establishment instincts.

"He looked at her like a kindred spirit," said one close adviser, who declined to be identified in order to speak more freely. "Someone who wasn't afraid to take tough positions."
...
Six people were involved in the secretive deliberations that led to Palin's selection: McCain; his wife, Cindy; campaign manager Davis; longtime confidant Mark Salter; senior adviser Steve Schmidt; and key strategist Charlie Black. In addition, Washington lawyer A.B. Culvahouse oversaw the vetting.

Starting last spring, the inner circle met regularly with McCain to review and discuss an initial list of about three dozen possible choices. "He and several of us had multiple meetings," one adviser said. "Discussions, strengths and weaknesses of all the candidates. He asked a lot of questions and listened -- didn't tip his hand to too many of us. He was very insistent that this process often wounds people, and we were to stay very quiet."
...
McCain's advisers conducted interviews with a number of the prospective choices, but McCain did not. Most he knew well enough to have a sense of their personalities, policy positions and character.
...
For all the focus on Pawlenty, Romney and Lieberman, Palin was the leading candidate by the beginning of last week. Davis had spoken with her a number of times. The McCain camp had reviewed everything it could find on her, including videotapes of her public speeches and interviews. "She makes a great speech," one adviser observed.

Last Sunday night, McCain talked to Palin by phone from Arizona in what aides described as a somewhat-lengthy call that resulted in McCain asking her to come to Arizona.

On Wednesday Palin flew to Flagstaff. That night she conferred with Schmidt and Salter. The next morning around 7, the three of them, along with a Palin aide, climbed into an SUV with tinted windows to begin the 45-minute drive to McCain's retreat in Sedona.

When they arrived, McCain offered Palin some coffee before taking her to a bend in a creek on the property where there are places to sit and a hawk's nest looming above. It is one of McCain's favorite places, and the two talked alone there until they were joined by McCain's wife, Cindy, who is described as having played a key role throughout the selection process.

After about an hour, Palin joined her aide on the deck of McCain's cabin, while the candidate and his wife went for a walk along the creek. When they returned, McCain held one last session with aides Schmidt and Salter. Then he offered Palin the job. The deal was sealed "with a handshake, a pat on the back," one adviser said.
By all accounts, the vetting process was quite thorough. All leading candidates were asked to list any controversial articles or speeches they had given, personal and family problems, etc. The first thing that Governor Palin mentioned in this regard was that her seventeen-year-old daughter was pregnant -- a fact that was already generally known in her home town of Wassilla. McCain said he didn't think that that should be an issue. He and she must have both known very well, however, that it could not be concealed and that the liberal press and blogsphere would have a feeding frenzy over it. I can only assume that Palin discussed this with her daughter, and that they believe that since her daughter's marriage and future rest in a 9,000 person town in Alaska, well away from the DC feeding frenzy, she and her new family will be alright. Power and distance can provide an awful lot of insulation.

Nonetheless, even just reading the print media over the last few days has been enough to make the blood boil. And so by last night, conservatives were ready to get some of their own back and see Palin bring the house down. She did not disappoint.

Not having a TV in the house, I catch speeches less than I might otherwise prefer. The only Obama speeches that I've heard all the way through have been his Philadelphia speech on race and his convention acceptance speech. And so perhaps my expectations have not been correctly lowered by the generally low rhetorical tenor of our times. I'd thought that Palin's acceptance last Friday was decent and solid, but not outstanding. However as I've watched Obama's convention speech, and the speeches by Lieberman, Romney, Huckaby, and the Governor of Hawaii at the GOP convention, I realized that my expectations must be overly high. Obama's speech had struck me as okay (if you can believe that sort of thing) but certainly not great, Lieberman's was limp, the Governor of Hawaii can't speak well, Romney's as not very good and Huckaby delivered fairly well but spent way too much of his time on a weird anecdote about a schoolteacher denying her students desks until veterans brought them in.

Rudy's speech finally started to pick up the tone a bit. I don't like him a bit, but he has the instincts of an entertainer, and he laid into Obama and into the treatment the press had given Palin with a will. It was a fun speech, though not a deep one.

Then Palin came on stage.

One can quibble with a thing or two. I personally would have preferred to get a bit more policy talk -- though her discussion on energy policy (clearly her strong point given her management of Alaska's oil and natural gas resources -- which the state owns, according to its constitution, and leases extractions rights to) was solid. I wished she had included a few lines on social issues, conservative principles, and abortion. However, she's the VP candidate, the policy properly belongs to the president. I thought Palin did what she needed to do as far as emphasizing her own toughness, poise and readiness; the general conservative worldview; and McCain's personal strengths.

But overall, this was a brilliant performance. She is at least as good a natural political talent and speaker as Obama. And she came out tough and feisty after several days of unimaginably vicious media attacks, and did so with humor and grace rather than anger. A political star was born last night. I would be glad to see her as president in 4-8 years -- and the Obama camp has good reason to be scared as she gets down to barnstorming Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

With a speaker like that, I hope that she's assigned a couple of the McCain team's best writers to sit down with her and craft a couple of solid speeches on issues such as:
  • Energy policy

  • "Kitchen Table" issues: Jobs, Housing and Education

  • Principled social conservatism

  • Real feminism

They've got the best political talent the GOP has seen in a long time on their hands, and I hope they don't waste it.

And hey, maybe she can even address national security:

34 comments:

Jim said...

Oh come on Darwin,

Here is the sub-title to the Washington Post article you reference - "Fellow Maverick Survived McCain's Thorough Vetting Process, AIDES [emphasis mine] Say."

Who said this? What do you expect them to say? The boss is impulsive.

Jim

Tom Simon said...

OK, Jim . . . who would you rather hear it from? Someone not connected with the vetting process at all, who therefore wouldn't even know the facts?

Next up: 'Peter Tabbed for New Duties by Jesus at Last Supper, Disciples Say'. Whoops! Who said this? What do you expect them to say? The Messiah is impulsive.

crankycon said...

Can we think about this logically, for a second? If the McCain people didn't know that Bristol was pregnant before this weekend, it would mean that Sarah herself didn't say anything. Do you really think she would have kept mum about this. What, was she thinking, "maybe they won't find out"?

Darwin said...

Jim,

Well, given that the McCain campaign is apparently a lot more disciplined and leak-proof than the Obama campaign, and that the process was apparently completed by a tight group of six people, there's no one to ask BUT aides, is there?

There is, reportedly, a sixty page list of accomplishments and potential problem areas which Palin provided to McCain's aides -- but they're hardly going to release that to the press, are they.

Fact of the matter is, McCain made a far more interesting VP pick than Obama. Get used to it and move on. There's not much to snipe at.

CMinor said...

I think a lot of the ire is because McCain and his circle slowly, deliberately, without giving anything away, put one over on just about everyone. Doesn't sound like impulsivity to me.

Kevin Jones said...

"He and she must have both known very well, however, that it could not be concealed and that the liberal press and blogsphere would have a feeding frenzy over it."

Actually, I'm not sure they could know this. I doubt either is familiar with the best of the blogosphere, let alone its cesspools.

Besides, he's generally received kind treatment from the mainstream press.

The mass coverage of a politician's minor daughter in this degrading way is unprecedented, as far as I know.

Did even that Spears girl get such harsh treatment?

McCain may have been thinking her daughter wouldn't pose a problem for the sociocon base.

Also, do you think the "unvetted" reports from "McCain aides" could reflect a few sour grapes from GOP backers of other VP candidates and factions?

The Deuce said...

Hey there, Jim,

Saw your "It's Palin's own fault she has a Downs Syndrome baby" post, and responded. Real classy, pal.


Darwin,

I'm inclined to think this is a large part of why Democrats lose so much, often even seeming to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

They are heavily invested in the narrative that conservatives possess a Homer Simpson level of intelligence. Unfortunately for them, rather than just saying this, they actually manage to convince themselves of it.

As a result, they underestimate their opponents, and get caught off guard every time conservatives do something smart. And when this happens, instead of learning from it, they just rationalize it away as luck, like our friend Jim here, and go on to have their posteriors handed to them again in the next election.

You can even explain this to them directly, and they still won't ever get it (I wouldn't be explaining it here or elsewhere if I thought there was actually a chance that folks like Jim might actually get wise).

Rick Lugari said...

A hot chick with a gun, can it get any better? Now I might be able to vote for McCain without holding my nose.

;)

Anonymous said...

Darwin wrote: "By all accounts, the vetting process was quite thorough."

Um, no. Permit me to point out a few contradictions here:

1)McCain’s background-vetting staff didn’t even arrive in Alaska until the day before he announced the pick (reported by NYT, not disputed by McCain);

2) No one in the Alaska Republican Party, and none of Palin’s neighbors or co-workers, report being questioned by McCain’s people (again reported by NYT, not disputed by McCain);

3) If McCain knew that Palin’s daughter was pregnant, why didn’t they let the story leak BEFORE announcing the pick (which would have seriously reduced the public damage here). Why, for example, didn't Palin herself call a press conference 2-3 days prior to the announcement to tell Alaskan media about the pregnancy?

Joel

Jim said...

Deuce, biology is, well, biology. It is not a should or shouldn't type of thing. Understanding the undeniable and nonmallealbe nature of human biological reproduction is absolutely essential to responsible sex.

Darwin, check out George Will's recent column on Sara Palin. That old and wise conservative is none to happy with the choice.

Best, Jim

Darwin said...

Joel,

No, they didn't go to Alaska and interview people, but then they didn't go and interview people in the home state party structures and administrations of the other candidates either. They did go through a lot of paperwork, including the online archives of all stories mentioning Palin in the Anchorage papers for the last ten years. (They skipped the Wassilla paper because it was only available on microfilm and didn't want to tip people off.)

I suppose they could have held a press conference announcing the pregnancy before the announcment of her selection, but then: Why should a governor hold a press conference to announce that her daughter is pregnant? Especially when everyone in her home town is already aware of that fact?

The only reason why it is "news" is because many member of the press have a visceral hatred for Palin and what she stands for. And I don't think any different approach would have lessened that effect.

Jim,

George Will can be called a lot of things, but an solid conservative is not one of them these days.

Anonymous said...

Darwin, you cannot, repeat, cannot vet someone without interviewing both current and past associates. Do you know what it takes to get a security clearance with the federal government? You fill out a form (natch) which includes questions about everywhere you've lived for the past 10 years or more, and names of people who can verify that you lived at those addresses. The investigators will contact the people you named on the form, not to ask what you were like, but to ask for the names of more people who know you. Then they will contact *those* people and ask lots of invasively personal questions about you. Any signs of criminal involvement (drug use or whatnot)? Any clues of extramarital affairs? Did you ever seem to be living beyond your means?

That is what the federal government routinely does before granting a peon like me a security clearance. They want to be damned sure that I don't have, for example, moral issues in by background that would make me vulnerable to blackmail, or any track record of financial problems that would make me inclined to take bribes. And interviews with associates are the foundation of this process, because they know damned well that 99% of the time you miss this stuff if all you're doing is paperwork.

I note, in this context, that the National Enquirer (the people who told us about John Edwards' affair) are apparently planning to run a story on Sarah Palin's affair with one of her husband's business associates. Coincidentally, this same business associate filed an emergency motion yesterday in Alaska to have his divorce papers sealed. There appears to be a HUGE scandal coming soon, which the Enquirer dug up by doing only a few days' worth of actual human interviews. Too bad McCain couldn't be bothered to do the same. Palin might have been a good candidate.

Joel

Darwin said...

Darwin, you cannot, repeat, cannot vet someone without interviewing both current and past associates. Do you know what it takes to get a security clearance with the federal government?

Yes, but the FBI did the complete background check on Palin and on all the other top contendors, not the McCain campaign. Which would be why the McCain campaign operatives weren't up in Alaska dealing with that. And credit reports, tax returns and financial records were pulled on all of them as well, both by the McCain folks and I would assume by the FBI as well.

I note, in this context, that the National Enquirer (the people who told us about John Edwards' affair) are apparently planning to run a story on Sarah Palin's affair with one of her husband's business associates. Coincidentally, this same business associate filed an emergency motion yesterday in Alaska to have his divorce papers sealed. There appears to be a HUGE scandal coming soon, which the Enquirer dug up by doing only a few days' worth of actual human interviews. Too bad McCain couldn't be bothered to do the same. Palin might have been a good candidate.

Well, we shall have to see, shan't we.

It's possible -- or it could be like the New York Times article claiming McCain had an affair with a lobbyist, which turned out to be totally false and unsubstantiated.

Honestly, though, it strikes me as unlikely that either one of them would do something so obviously self-destructive. We may simply be seeing a case of some very wishful thinking on the part of the liberal reporters and bloggers.

Anonymous said...

No FBI background check on Palin.

http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/09/palin_and_the_fbi_background_c.php

This was obvious to anyone who noticed that none of Palin's associates had been questioned about her. An FBI background check would have included that.

Also, the National Enquirer is not liberal. They exposed John Edwards.

And finally, politicians as a class are hardly noted for avoiding self-destructive behavior. Craig, Pataki, Vitter, Kilpatrick, etc.

Jim said...

So true anonymous. I have tried a bit of research into FBI background checks on prospective candidates and didn't come up with anything right off the bat - I remembered (memory not being the best source) reading that the FBI did not do any checks on Palin. Guess they didn't. I don't think we would want them to anyhow. I know I wouldn't. Hire private investigators and get the candidate to allow the investigators free rein.

How may times have I thought, "Surely they wouldn't do that? Not now."

Darwin said...

I had taken the WaPo article at face value (and frankly, the way the Atlantic's blog coverage is right now, I'm not sure that I trust a post there -- but let's take it as read) on the FBI check.

As for why the McCain people weren't all up in Alaska austentatiously poking around, it doesn't surprise me that they wanted to keep their selection process under wraps. I think that's pretty normal.

I didn't mean to suggest that the National Enquirer had any political slant -- they care about nothing other than selling newspapers at checkout stands. However, they're clearly feeding off a certain hunger for blood that the Left is feeling right now.

As for self destructive behavior -- politicians certainly do a lot of stupid things while in office under the assumption that they can get away with it. However, it would seem very odd to me if McCain didn't do what he considered a basically solid level of dilligence, and also if Palin agreed to sign up for massive coverage while knowing that she had skeletons that could so easily be brought out of the closet. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems unlikely to me.

(And recall, while the media think this came out of nowhere, conservative venues like National Review have been pushing for a Palin VP slot for a year.)

And there is clearly a lot of political motivation in the interest in these. I don't see the same people so fascinated with these questions spending lots of time on the guy recently convicted of corruption who helped Obama buy his house -- after Obama gave his company multi-million dollar slum-building contracts, which he did a terrible job on. So while not everyone involved is political, the interest clearly is.

Anonymous said...

I must admit, I'm deeply puzzled by this brand new yet widespread notion on the right that it's perfectly normal for VP selections to be kept secret until the last second. Since when? Obama let it be known months ago that he was considering Biden, Bush made no secret that Cheney was on his list, and Clinton made clear early on that Gore was high on his shortlist. In fact, the only case I can think of where a VP was pulled out of nowhere like a rabbit out of a hat was Bush Sr's selection of Dan Quayle.

So why, precisely, does it not "surprise me that they wanted to keep their selection process under wraps."? Letting it be known that Palin was under consideration would have at least allowed them to do a meaningful vetting process, and thus avoid the trainwreck that the party now seems doomed to experience. And it would have moved her and her family into the spotlight more gradually, rather than the sudden baptism-by-media-fire that they have now experienced.

Joel

Darwin said...

Certainly, there's not secrecy about who's being considered. Just a desire not to tip one's hand too early as to who is picked.

There was little surprise over Obama's pick because he made a very, very unimaginative pick. Given that many are already hesitant enough about someone with his lack of track record, that's probably the right way to go.

On McCain's list it was pretty clear who the options were:

Ridge, Pawlenty, Lieberman, Romney, Jindal, Palin, and maybe Carly Fiorina as an outside chance. I don't recall much of any buzz about anyone else, but maybe I'm missing someone.

A week before the selection, Palin and Romney were the stand-out favorites on National Review's online poll.

So it's not like this is someone totally out of the blue. (She is a governor, there are only a limited number of Republican governors with any national buzz.) It's just that no one outside of serious conservative circles seemed to take the idea seriously.

I suppose the McCain campaign could have said, "We're taking these three people very seriously," but to be honest, that's not any precedent for that either. I suspect that they did about as much homework as is normally done. Whether they missed something glaring remains to be seen. I hope not. She seems like an interesting woman and a natural orator. With luck, she'll be on the national scene for quite some time.

Anonymous said...

darwin wrote: "I suspect that they did about as much homework as is normally done."

BUT THEY DIDN'T. That's the entire point. There was no FBI background check, nor any background vetting of any kind.

Darwin said...

So let me get this straight: You're sure that you know exactly how much background checking is "usually" done on a VP candidate, and you're sure that it didn't take place in this instance?

Look, I try to be a critical reader, and if you have any good detailed articles on how the selection process worked in the Obama campaign or in other recent campaigns -- in reputable publications the the New Yorker, New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, etc., not some Atlantic blogger like, Andrew Sullivan has pretty much shredded their credibility -- I'd love to read it. But frankly, so far as I can tell, we've got the people who would be in a position to know, those in the campaign, saying the process was thorough, and a bunch of angry people on the outside, saying it wasn't.

That sounds like opinion rather than fact to me.

Donald R. McClarey said...

Well the affair smear of the National Enquirer and the deranged left, seems to be sinking into the cesspool, probably the deranged trooper ex-brother-in-law of Palin, from whence it came.


http://hotair.com/archives/2008/09/05/another-palin-smear-
bites-the-dust/


For handy reference, as noted at Hot Air, Explorations has a list of exploded Palin Rumors\Smears.


http://explorations.chasrmartin.com/2008/09/05/palin-rumors/

The Deuce said...

Thanks, Donald.

Wow, didn't take long to knock that one down. And here I expected we'd be seeing a bunch more "news" on it this week.

You know, folks on the left used to talk about the irrational Bill Clinton hate on the right, but liberals have come up with as many wild rumors about Palin in one week as it took the right to come up with over about four years.

Darwin said...

There was an interview with Wooten, the ex-brother-in-law trooper on the CNN website last evening. It basically amounted to: yeah, I did a bunch of bad things and I think I've got my act together now, so I wish that all the stuff I was disciplined for by the troopers was not in the news.

No exciting accusations there.

If, as I personally think is very likely, it turns out that none of these "scandals" amount to anything, the media and left wing will owe Palin an apology. Though I kind of doubt it will be forthcoming.

Literacy-chic said...

Darwin,

Without meaning to change the subject, and at the risk of asking you to repeat things you've said elsewhere, could I request a special topics post? I would just love to see someone intelligent take on the "I vote Democrat because of the social programs/universal healthcare" line. What do you think we stand to gain or lose by massive social programs? After all, there is something to be said for wanting to help people... (trying not to imply any particular approach I want you to take...)

Thanks!

~Literacy-chic

CMinor said...

Not really an answer to literacy's query, but have you noticed Suann Therese Maier's essay A Vote For Palin at First Things, Darwins?

Kyle R. Cupp said...

One of my biggest problems with the GOP of late has been its descent into petty corruption, fiscal irresponsibility, and no more than lip service to principled conservative ideals. The Palin pick suggests to me strongly that McCain is prepared to take on the first two of these, and perhaps some of the third.

Could be, and I really hope that’s the case; but that history in the GOP of corruption, fiscal irresponsibility, and lip service doesn’t incline me to trust the GOP presidential candidate. Call me a cynic, but I worry that the Palin pick is little more than a sensational form of lip service to conservative principles, a ruse to make us trust a man who may be untrustworthy as a conservative.

Darwin said...

Kyle,

I'm certainly one to be cynical -- but it seems to me that with the last 30 years of history we basically have the option of the Democrats who have _never_ been upholders of limited government/subsidiarity and fiscal responsibility, versus the Republicans who have _occasionally_ been the upholders of those virtues.

Also, I think that we're much more likely to have not-very-much-new happen (which as a conservative I think should be the default option) with a Republican in the White House and a Democratic congress, than we would have if we had the Democrats owning both the executive and legislative branches.

So while I still don't trust McCain very far, all he has to do is be a decent gate keeper -- while Obama would be likely to get a lot of his own way for the first two years, and that scares me more than a little.

Kyle R. Cupp said...

The Democrats are more predictable here, yes.

Anonymous said...

Palin is only 44 years old. She has decades in which to run for President, but she is so rapaciously ambitious that she agreed to run, despite the fact that she has a four-month old baby with Down's Syndrome, and a pregnant 17-year old (whose baby would be far better off being put up for adoption, as I was, thank Heaven). Leaving aside her distinctly unimpressive record in Alaska -- a record about which she has stretched and embellished the truth -- why exactly are we supposed to be happy about this nomination?

Darwin said...

Anon,

Come to that, Obama is 47 years old. He has decades left in which he could run for president, and currently sports almost no accomplishments. Why is anyone happy about his nomination?

Personally, it seems more logical to run the new talent as the VP and the experienced leader as the presidential candidate.

You have other ideas?

CMinor said...

Y'know, Darwin, I just had a look at that George Will column. He's cautious (not necessarily a bad thing) but I didn't read it as especially negative. And he doesn't hesitate to point out that Obama is easily the least experienced presidential candidate we've had in recent history.

Darwin said...

Fair enough, C.

I haven't read his column on Palin -- though I've read the columns critical of her by some conservative voices that I tend to respect more like Frum and Krauthammer.

Maybe it's just me, but I've had the impression that Will wandered off the conservative reservation and into his own quirky territory some years ago. I suppose mileage will vary, though.

Donald R. McClarey said...

"Maybe it's just me, but I've had the impression that Will wandered off the conservative reservation and into his own quirky territory some years ago."

Its not just you Darwin. Will hasn't been a conservative since Reagan left office. He isn't a liberal either, but rather just cranky. He's had an ongoing feud with the Bush clan since the Reagan administration and that helped separate him from the Republican party. He is a strong supporter of Israel and that often makes him a hawk on foreign policy although not always. He has a son who has Down's Syndrome and he wrote the moving column linked below last year.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16720750/site/newsweek/print/1/displaymode/1098/

crankycon said...

The odd thing is that Will is in many ways a conservative in the same vein as McCain - namely a temperamental, not ideological conservative. And yet he really hates McCain. Funny, that.

BTW, speaking of Krauthammer, I just saw him after I had dinner with my wife here in Bethesda. I very nearly told him that he was wrong about Palin.