Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Last week I predicted that Sarah Palin might use the alleged liberalism of co-sponsors NBC and Politico -- their alleged liberalism being an article of faith on the right -- as an excuse to boycott, and thus duck, the first debate of the 2012 campaign, scheduled for the spring of 2011 at the Reagan Library. Betty Cracker argued that blowing off Nancy and the departed demigod Ronnie might seem like bad form to Republican voters who aren't in the Palin cult -- and, well, she had a point. I started to doubt what I'd written.

But now, via one of her Rumproast colleagues, I see that Palin fan Hugh Hewitt, in a Washington Examiner column, is arguing for a boycott of the Reagan debate:

... The idea is itself an insult to conservative activists and new media.

... both outlets are significantly biased to the left, and not just to the president, but to the whole Beltway culture which is inherently big-government oriented and dominated by the conventional big-government wisdom about every debate.

... Can we be honest? They are all liberals. All of them. Not one of the questioners that could or would be proposed by Politico or NBC would be remotely in touch with the cares, concerns, and passions of the GOP's primary electorate. The process of choosing a GOP nominee should not be mediated by the left-wing media -- again.

... objectively, what would get more ratings and be more interesting, a panel of Brian Williams and John Harris and Anderson Cooper asking eight Republicans questions, or a panel of Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael Medved -- four different radio networks -- asking the same people questions? ...

I know, I know -- Hewitt only left himself off that list out of false modesty. What he's really saying is Dammit, I should be Brian Williams!

But nevertheless, the seemingly unthinkable notion of insulting a Reagan has now been recommended by a (semi-)prominent movement conservative. In the closed, cramped, insular world of Wingnuttia, that gives Palin cover.

Now, maybe she won't want to blow off the debates. Her recent communications suggest that she feels she's mastering all the relevant subject matter. (Look, I know what quantitative easing is!)

But this makes me wonder if she'll blow off the Reagan debate even if she doesn't feel overmatched -- as a way of sending the message that movement conservatives (the only people she and her followers consider "real Americans") Must Not Be Ignored.

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