Tuesday, March 13, 2012


In today's column, Richard Cohen laments Sarah Palin's proud ignorance, dishonesty, and general unfitness to hold high office -- and speculates that her influence is going to migrate out of the Republican Party eventually:

So far, the Palin effect has been limited to the GOP. Surely, though, there lurks in the Democratic Party potential candidates who have seen Palin and taken note. Experience, knowledge, accomplishment -- these no longer may matter. They will come roaring out of the left proclaiming a hatred of all things Washington, including compromise. The movie had it right. Sarah Palin changed the game.

Betty Cracker thinks this won't happen because Democrats are better than that:

While the left has its share of dunderheads, I'm afraid the Republicans have pretty much cornered the market on prideful ignorance. When was the last time a Democrat on the national stage appealed to the base via anti-intellectualism? William Jennings Bryant maybe? We ceded the Know-Nothing vote for good when the Dixiecrats finally got over Reconstruction and switched party allegiance to the GOP a few generations ago.

I think it won't happen for another reason: Democrats aren't really allowed to be like that, at least on the national political stage. After decades of Democrat- and liberal-bashing propaganda from the right (going back to Spiro Agnew at least), America may agree with liberal ideas on many issues, but America only lets actual Democrats run things when Republicans have royally screwed up, or when the country is sick and tired of the GOP (1976, 1992, 2006, 2008). Even then, Democrats have to reassure the public that they won't really act like, y'know, Democrats -- mustn't frighten anyone by being remotely ideological! So Carter ran as a healer and holy man, Clinton as a Sister Souljah-bashing New Democrat, the congressional class of 2006 as a group big enough to include the likes of Jim Webb and Heath Schuler (and exclude the likes of Ned Lamont), and Obama as a post-partisan.

Angry demagoguery that inflames the ignorant masses? That's allowed in national politics if you're, say, Palin or Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich or Michele Bachmann or Steve King or Allen West or James Inhofe. If you're Alan Grayson or Anthony Weiner? Watch your back. (And they're not even ignorant -- just intemperate.)

(X-posted at Booman Tribune.)


BH said...

Betty forgot Huey Long. But more to the point: ultimately, do we really want to compete for the demagoguery trophy? I agree, Dems aren't "allowed" by the electorate to do so, but that's OK, I think. The trick is to find ways to win without sounding like a mirror image of The Newt. In the long run, if we can manage that, the level of American political discourse might even improve - slowly, painfully, & partially, but it might.

M. Bouffant said...

They will come roaring out of the left proclaiming a hatred of all things Washington, including compromise.

Yeah, sure. I'll be holding my breath.