PODHORETZ: In Defense of Sarah Palin

Norman Podhoretz writes in the WSJ

Nothing annoys certain of my fellow conservative intellectuals more than when I remind them,

as on occasion I mischievously do, that the derogatory things they say about Sarah Palin are uncannily similar to what many of their forebears once said about Ronald Reagan.

What she does know—and in this respect, she does resemble Reagan—is that the

United States has been a force for good in the world, which is more than Barack Obama, whose IQ is no doubt higher than hers, has yet to learn. Jimmy Carter also has a high IQ, which did not prevent him from becoming one of the worst presidents in American history, and so does Bill Clinton, which did not prevent him from befouling the presidential nest.

Unlike her enemies on the left, the conservative opponents of Mrs. Palin are a little puzzling. After all, except for its greater intensity, the response to her on the left is of a piece with the liberal hatred of Richard Nixon, Reagan and George W. Bush. It was a hatred that had less to do

with differences over policy than with the conviction that these men were usurpers who, by mobilizing all the most retrograde elements of American society, had stolen the country from its rightful (liberal) rulers. But to a much greater extent than Nixon, Reagan and George W. Bush, Sarah Palin is in her very being the embodiment of those retrograde forces and therefore potentially even more dangerous.

When William F. Buckley Jr., then the editor of National Review, famously quipped that he would rather be ruled by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than by the combined

faculties of Harvard and MIT, most conservative intellectuals responded with a gleeful amen. But put to the test by the advent of Sarah Palin, along with the populist upsurge represented by the Tea Party movement, they have demonstrated that they never really meant it.

As for me, after more than a year of seeing how [Obama’s] “prodigious oratorical and intellectual gifts” have worked themselves out in action, I remain more convinced than ever of the soundness of Buckley’s quip, in the spirit of which I hereby declare that I would rather be ruled by the Tea Party than by the Democratic Party, and I would rather have Sarah

Palin sitting in the Oval Office than Barack Obama.

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