Sarah Palin’s political career will probably be studied for quite some time, but not because she’s ever going to be elected to anything again. It’s going to be studied as the culminating disaster of a disastrous political campaign and philosophy that shredded every value America has ever embraced as the true American Way in an effort to grasp power.
Sarah Palin will never hold national office nor will any Republican at the presidential level for a long time to come. Why? Because America has uneducated jerks in it but is not a nation of uneducated jerks. The Republicans are done, hoisted on the petard of their own “southern strategy.”
The Republican Party is only a step away from becoming the fringe of the fringe, identified more with cross-burning weirdoes wearing hoods, folks like the Alaska secessionist party, all those gun owners stocking up on assault weapons before the “Socialist/United Nations/Obama/Muslim” conspiracy comes to fruition, than with anything remotely like a serious national political force.
The Republican Party— and I speak as a former lifelong Republican who, up through the 2000 primary campaign supported John McCain and even worked for him by arguing his case on various conservative and religious radio stations— is now the toy of the Rush Limbaugh windbags. These folks include outright crazies (such as Sarah Palin’s Assemblies of God pals who are waiting for Spaceship Jesus to rescue them and/or rooting out “witches” from their midst), white racists and a few not-very-bright attention seekers, including Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity etc.
Read their blogs! Listen to their talk radio! You’ll be in the twilight zone of front page tabloid fantasy on a par with Bat Boy Attacks! headlines. Bill Buckley roll over.
The Religious Right, the racists, the anti-gay hate-mongers are now not only marginalized but thoroughly out of step with even members of their own former constituency. For instance the Gordon College student newspaper (Gordon is an influential Evangelical College north of Boston) endorsed Obama this year. Many young evangelicals voted for the Democrats. James Dobson, Fox News, Limbaugh, et al, were utterly powerless to do more than stir up hate. They are losing the next generation of their “base.”
And that’s a good thing. The under-educated will always be with us, but we cannot allow them to be used by the unscrupulous to control our elections ever again. There’s simply too much at stake.
Meanwhile many former Republicans— like me— ran to Obama as fast as our legs could carry us and away from our willfully “we’re not an elite” moronic former party. Republican commentators such as David Brooks and George Will mourned the loss of the Republican center. Others noted the Republicans have become anti-intellectual. “Anti-intellectual”? They wish! How about simply anti-literate?
Indeed. But what will we do about it? Will we find the spine to do what’s right? Cradle to grave education opportunities for all our citizens; mandatory graduation from statemanship schools for all who would enter public life; schools of philosophy; an overhaul of our nation’s plan of suffrage.
Meanwhile the fringe of the fringe is holding meetings where they’ll talk to themselves and look at the “facts” of their alternative universe in order to figure out “what went wrong.” These are the same “leaders” (like William Kristal) who think Sarah Palin has a big political future!
Sarah Palin will never be president because the right wing of the Republican Party has perfected the art of believing their own bullshit, starting with the idea that is-Africa-a-country-or-a-continent?-Palin has a future. Palin and her fans don’t know it yet, but having reduced itself to a grim angry joke, the Republican Party has also divorced itself from American politics and. . . is destined for the garbage can.
I agree; but a “grim angry joke” with any political power is still a serious threat to the health of the nation. When the majority of Americans vote for a new direction, it cannot countenance a political party trying to pull us back to an ignorant and immoral past, a politics of fear and hate. If the Republican debacle of the last three decades has produced anything of value, it is the crystal clear knowledge that their politics and their philosophy must be abandoned to oblivion.