Friday, April 24, 2009

Palin's Populism and Obama's Elitism

How did Barack Obama, with the thinnest resume of any candidate for President, come across to many Americans as more "experienced" than Sarah Palin? Public policy expert and bioethicist Yuval Levin says it's basically simple: Obama went to Harvard -- while Gov. Palin didn't. Obama talked the language of academic and media elitists, while Palin talked the language of the American people.

The MSM's biggest failing is the simpleminded, predictable way in which it presents information and commentary. It assumes everything Left is "right," while everything Right (traditional and pro-American) must be "wrong." Yuval Levin brings that point him in a brilliant essay on "The Meaning of Sarah Palin," published in the February, 2009, Commentary magazine. I hope you'll read all of Levin's piece, excerpts of which follow in (bold-face), along with my comments in italics.

Levin says, "The reaction of the intellectual elite to Sarah Palin was far more provincial than Palin herself ever has been, and those who reacted so viscerally against her evinced little or no appreciation for an essential premise of democracy: that practical wisdom matters at least as much as formal education, and that leadership can emerge from utterly unexpected places. The presumption that the only road to power passes through the Ivy League and its tributaries is neither democratic nor sensible, and is, moreover, a sharp and wrongheaded break from the American tradition of citizen governance."

Levin points out that Ivy League graduates, the Washington, DC establishment, and the media elite have a wildly exaggerated view of their own capabilities. They believe that people like them are the only ones who should be in positions of power. Of course, that's totally in conflict with the traditional American view that values "citizen legislators," people who are like those they govern. Snobbism -- elitism -- scorns ordinary Americans.

Levin adds, "Barack Obama, who actually has far less experience in executive governance than Palin, was not dismissed as unprepared for the presidency. Palin may have been elected governor of Alaska, but his peers in Cambridge had elected Obama editor of the Harvard Law Review. He is thoroughly fluent in the parlance of the college town, and in the eyes of the new American elite, Washington is the ultimate college town."

In an early campaign commercial, one of Obama's Harvard Law professors (Lawrence Tribe) said his former student was "brilliant." What Prof. Tribe meant is that Obama went to . . . Harvard. Actually, Obama, who refuses to release any of his college grades, has never evidenced what normally passes for brilliance. He passes himself off at times as a constitutional law expert, but in that field he's published exactly as many articles (or even footnotes) on the Constitution as Sarah Palin: zero. The difference between them is that she's been a reformist governor -- and he hasn't reformed anything.

Levin continues, "In the face of unprecedented attack, Palin succeeded where almost no vice-presidential candidate ever has before in winning sustained support for the ticket. This suggests Palin’s potent combination of cultural populism and social conservatism might provide the road map a Republican politician will need in the future to make headway against the Democratic tide. But that road map will only take that Republican politician so far. The rest of the journey requires the articulation of a broader vision for American families, American prosperity and freedom, and American security; a vision of conservatism, not only a nimbus of populism."

Polls show that, contrary to some media reports, Palin got McCain -- a weak candidate -- many more votes than she cost him. Her cultural populism and social conservatism are a good foundation for a future presidential run -- but only a foundation. She needs to present a coherent "vision of conservatism," and articulate how her views and policies will help American families, prosperity, and security. If Sarah Palin can do that, she might just turn out to be unbeatable.

Sarah, in your 2012 campaign, hire Yuval Levin!

Levin's piece on Sarah Palin is getting great reviews from readers. Here's one from an emerging national hero, Patriot Rose:

Great article! This needs to be used as responses to smears and malicious comments directed towards her. Dailey Kos and DU was the "devils plot" for all the Obots to get their material We need a centralized clearing house website to state "Shame on You" for maligning the backbone of our country. I agree with him on all the hype about Barack Obama being a scholar when we have never seen any article he has published or his college transcripts. The Conservatives have to really go after him this time around demanding his transcripts and birth certificate. As just an everyday American piss ant, what I have noticed is Americans are turning to is the founding documents of our country and patriotism. They are hanging on to these precious comforting legacies of American tradition.

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