Thursday, July 15, 2010
Like her or not, it is easy to see that Sarah Palin's new web ad is very effective. Short commentary follows.
Now, I'm not much for "moms" in politics. Banded together, they usually argue for more state action and social control. See, e.g., the Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and their antecedent, the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Palin's emphasis on women, though, is something different and arresting, and poses a direct challenge to the idea that politically aware and empowered women -- as opposed to women who derive their political opinions from their husband, for example, or other condition of dependence -- simply must be for more and bigger government, or at least the Democrats. Sarah Palin drives a lot of people crazy, some of whom simply cannot abide the idea that she might lead, or at least embody, a women's movement.
We've had several threads below about Palin's electability. Palin does less well with college-educated women: the "Bomber Girl Vote." Palin'll have difficulty winning a general election because of this.
Among "college educated women", Palin'll never win the "unmarried" subset. She could win the "married" subset ... hence "Mama Grizzlies."
Smart move. Will it work?
I cannot personally figure out my feelings towards Sarah Palin because her strengths are so strong; while her weaknesses are too aparent. I think that she is much smarter than people think, but she does not come off as such and after eight years of G.W. it grew tiresome having to defend his horsepower. Maybe more troubling is her polarizing persona. To the Left she is such a lightening rod, similar to G.W., that any chance of objective dialogue cannot happen; which can be tiresome.
Nonetheless, there is a common sense solution that Mrs. Palin speaks to that unmistakably hits a cord with women. As Conservatives we have always had to be the adults and most of the beliefs we hold take some thinking to figure out (e.g. Lower Taxes = higher revenue, Privitization of Industry = better results, School Choice, litigation reform, etc.) As a Democrat what mob/crowd does not want a bunch of free shit? (e.g. welfare, greater union benefits, healthcare, sue anyone you want as long as you dont have a bill to pay, etc.)
The thing about Sarah Palin's message is that we have given so much free shit away that the choices anymore are so limited that what needs to be done is very clear. This is where I think the beauty of where she is coming from resonates with so many women who run homes. As a country (think family) we can no longer afford anything other than a strong defense, somehow pay for Social Security and Medicare and that is it. Nothing else can be paid for without completely changing the American promise.
I remember how insane Ronald Regan would make the left with his idealistic vision of America. His syrupy stories would bring almost all American-loving people to the brink (or in my case well past the point) of tears. I think after this Presidency America will be much more open to the idea of American exceptionalism. Mrs. Palin's simple "get it done" message brings incredible clarity to this mission.
You have to do better if you going to indict "mom" oriented political movements. First of all MADD is hardly a socialist movement. And, it's one thing to in hindsight reprove Prohibition, but another to consider enforcement of drunk-driving laws (which I hoping you don't consider an undue exercise of government authority as some wacked-out libertarian might) to be government oppression. Those laws are a classic rejoinder to any libertarian. I'm not sure what hope there is for the free market to replace government oversight DWIs, but so far it's not working and I want there to be sobriety checks, etc. I'm a heterosexual male, but you MADD, too.
Palin: she's still half vetted politician and half "anchor woman" type and thus does Alaska governor adequately where rhetorical skills are required, but her strength is the set piece like that of an anchor woman. George W. Bush, too. The truly skilled GOPers in rhetorical settings are Gingrich, Cheney (he's too dour, but intellectually sharp), and the best out there - funny in debate, but hard-hitting and responsive to the foundational mistakes of his opponents .... Giuliani! He goes on these shows like Chris Matthews and it's like he's taking a dog [Chris Matthews] for a walk. Palin was treated horribly by Gibson and Couric, but that's the press ... their hostile to the GOP and their questions are biased. One has to be ready for the mistaken presumptions upon which they are based. It requires training, the kind of training that a very elite (I'm being direct) liberal arts education provides. There are substitutes in abundance and every college in the USA can produce them - Reagan is a classic example, but you see he sharpened his skills debating other Hollywood industry people - he was ready; and you'll find bar-room pundits out there surely (Beck would be great if he wanted to be, but even he could not handle a political run). It's not accident that all these presidents overwhelmingly tended to to to excellent schools. There is no better political education because they are filled with the best debaters on earth across a wide variety of viewpoints from anarchist to theocratist. One must be ready not merely for the "produced" appearance, but for every possible debate setting, challenge to your position, and reporters contorted question.
Three points about MADD
1) MADD won its fight years ago. Like too many organizations that suceeded in its original mission, it didn't fold up its tent and go home. It's turned into a temperance society.
2) MADD got Congess to use the threat of witholding federal money as a lever to force the states to legislate. This was a terrible precedent.
3) Taking DUI seriously was one thing ... raising the drinking age to 21 hasn't worked out well.
"Taking DUI seriously was one thing ... raising the drinking age to 21 hasn't worked out well."
Maybe, maybe not. The drinking age has been 21 in most states as long as I can remember which is pretty long now at my age. One of the problems used to be that when a 21 state (Conn. where I grew up) neighbored an 18 state (NY at the time) kids would drive over the state line for liquor and then get killed on the way back. Eventually NY raised its age to 21.
I can see that 21 might be too high but I think 18 is too low because that pushes drinking down into high school. Yeah I know a lot of high schoolers are drinking anyway but I don't think it should be made easier. Maybe 19 or 20? But we're talking about what works, not some undying principle of democracy.
I grew up in Upstate NY in a predominantly ethnic 2nd generation suburb of Buffalo. The drinking age was 18 and we were getting boozed up at a far too young of an age. With the help of anyone of my five older brother's ID cards I was regularly buying beer at the age of 13. Make no mistake about it, the number of near miss deaths/serious injuries in cars were too numerous to document.
I have seen many of those statistics/reports that question the validity of a 21 year old drinking age and they are very poorly designed and have no control (meaning states that have a drinking age below 21) to compare relative statistics. One must realize that the real target for a 21 year old age limit is to raise the age by which a kid starts drinking. So if it were 13 or 14 when I was a kid, it is 16 or 17 where kids are are regularly indulging.
Lastly, I dont get TigerHawk's dissing of MADD. That has been a great organization and have done really terrific things. The fact that even those kids who do start drinking at least all of them will assign one person to be the designated driver; in my day we just hoped the driver could see the road in front of him on our way home. As a father of four young kids, my oldest in now 12 years old, the prospect that she would be boozing it up in the next year like I did is positively frightening. Go MADD!
We're supposed to be a free country. To me that means the majority shouldn't be picking on minorities. QuakerCat's logic leads to prohibition -- we tried that once before.
For most in college, drinking is their first encounter with law enforcement. Most of them don't obey. That's a bad precedent.
MADD's strategy of getting the federal government to coerce states was an awful precedent.
Palin is the mother on the right. She's well spoken, tactful, polite, and ladylike.
"Mother Sheehan" was the mother on the left. She's loud, abrasive, mean and unladylike.
The differences and contrasts are striking.