Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kristol Flop Sweat

William Kristol is in full transference mode over Sarah Palin:

A spectre is haunting the liberal elites of New York and Washington–the spectre of a young, attractive, unapologetic conservatism, rising out of the American countryside, free of the taint (fair or unfair) of the Bush administration and the recent Republican Congress, able to invigorate a McCain administration and to govern beyond it.

That spectre has a name–Sarah Palin, the 44-year-old governor of Alaska chosen by John McCain on Friday to be his running mate. There she is: a working woman who’s a proud wife and mother; a traditionalist in important matters who’s broken through all kinds of barriers; a reformer who’s a Republican; a challenger of a corrupt good-old-boy establishment who’s a conservative; a successful woman whose life is unapologetically grounded in religious belief; a lady who’s a leader.

And he says the left is scared to death of her.

No, as I noted below, we’re more scared of the decision-making mechanism of John McCain. And if you read all of Mr. Kristol’s article, it’s clear that he is, to quote the immortal Victor Laszlo in Casablanca, “a man who’s trying to convince himself of something he doesn’t believe in his heart.” I think he knows that John McCain has made a mystifying decision in terms of resume, experience, political connections, and — most importantly — the ability to be a leader of all the people, not just the ones who voted for them, and he’s using all the pretzel logic he learned in defending the indefensible George W. Bush to make the case for Palin.

The “left-is-scared” line is the giveaway. We’re not scared of her; we’re scared of a president who would make such an impulsive decision from the gut. To quote John McCain’s own stump speech, “that’s not change we can believe in.” It’s more of the same judgment that we’ve endured under George W. Bush.

But I guess William Kristol is more interested in reciting the party line than speaking truth to power. Unless, of course, he really believes this bullshit. Here’s a little test: if Barack Obama had chosen Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA) as his running mate, a man whom some have said has as much executive experience as Ms. Palin, would he have used such glowing terms as he used to describe Ms. Palin: “rising out of the American countryside,” “free of the taint [of Washington],” “able to invigorate a[n Obama] administration and to govern beyond it”? I doubt it. He’d go after both Obama and Kaine hammer and tongs, claiming that a one-term governor of Virginia with no foreign policy experience has no business being a heartbeat away from the presidency and that choosing Gov. Kaine was a cynical ploy just to get the electoral votes of the state of Virgina and the South. And he’d be right; which is why Barack Obama didn’t choose him.

It’s going to fun watching Mr. Kristol for the next few months, and I wonder when he’s going to reach the breaking point and finally throw his hands in the air and say, “Okay, I give up. I can’t keep up this charade any longer.” It won’t happen, but I can dream, can’t I?