This is the first post I refer to when I claim the Right is as Obtuse as the Left: From "View From The Right" by Mr. Auster:
As broadcast on CSPAN between 10:00 and 10:15 tonight Eastern time (and the same event is being broadcast now, at about 1 a.m.), Sarah Palin, standing next to McCain, spoke at a rally on Sunday in Missouri. Notwithstanding my own warnings against excessive enthusiasm for her, I have to say that she is extremely impressive, a gifted politician, an American original. When she talks about wanting government that is “free of corruption and self-dealing,” her old-fashioned American idealism makes her sound like a female—and also a more forceful, canny, and confident—version of James Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. I don’t think Palin is going to fold or be embarrassed in debates and interviews. She clearly knows how to handle herself.
And this is the post that prompted my e-mail to the author:
Conservatives lining up obediently—no, eagerly
Focus on the Family has issued a statement expressing their complete support for the Palin family regarding Bristol Palin’s pregnancy and her upcoming marriage to the father, as quoted at the Corner. But of course the issue is not Bristol’s unmarried pregnancy and how the family is dealing with it–the same situation has happened a billion times before and will happen a billion times again. The issue is whether McCain should have chosen as his vice presidential running mate–and thus required the Republican party to approve that choice–a woman who has all these issues going on in her family. The issue is that McCain chose her and announced her selection, thus getting all the Republicans lined up behind her, with full knowledge that shortly after he announced her selection, there would be the further announcement that her unmarried daughter was pregnant. The McCain campaign itself told Fox News that McCain knew about the situation when he selected her. What kind of conduct is that by the leader of a party? Is this really what we want to be dealing with in the middle of a presidential campaign? Are conservatives now to raise as their co-leader and new icon a career mother whose unmarried pregnant teenage daughter is getting married while the mother is running for vice president? McCain has put the conservative base in a position where it has to bend itself out of shape to maintain its support for the Republican ticket.
McCain has been lauded for his brilliant stroke against the Democrats in choosing Palin. But it appears that McCain’s truly brilliant stroke in choosing Palin has been against Republicans and conservatives. Which is no surprise, since, as we all know, sticking it to conservatives and defeating conservatism is McCain’s main goal in life, something he cares about, I suspect, even more than being president.
Update: But, no surprise, I am way out of step with the conservative base. They don’t have to bend themselves out of shape at all. Read the reactions at Lucianne.com. It’s an endless string of encomia for the wonderfulness of life and the fact that life is often messy and that many of us started out as the children of unwed teenage mothers and that the Palins are just so "real." That’s what conservatism now stands for–getting "real" people with their "real" issues into the White House. Talk about the Obrah-ization of conservatism! Or, rather, the McCainization of conservatism. Which is why I have opposed his candidacy from the start and still do.
And this is the post that gave me my ten seconds of fame:
Standing athwart the Sarah Palin love train yelling Stop!
There is so much to say about the unfolding events, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.
For the moment, here’s an appalling article at Time by someone named Nathan Thornburgh who went up to Wasilla and asked the locals what they thought about the Bristol Palin situation. Note the way he seeks to banish the very notion that there’s any problem with illegitimacy. "Real" Americans from the wilds of Alaska don’t care about illegitimacy. Only effete Americans from the lower 48 care about it.
He says this, when for 45 years we’ve seen the devastating effect of fatherlessness on individuals and society. How many lives and neighborhoods have been blighted, how many people have been murdered, how many women raped, by savage young males raised without fathers. And now the Republican presidential and vice presidential candidates have put conservatives into the position where no negative judgment can be expressed about out-of-wedlock pregnancy, and the whole conservative movement, with panting eagerness, are going along with them.
Also, see James Wolcott, not previously a fan of mine, quoting me at his blog at Vanity Fair:
The Bristol Stomp
A notable exception is Lawrence Auster, a model of political and intellectual consistency who refuses to board the Sarah Palin love train with the NRO crowd and that malleable lump of Jello-O known as the conservative base….
Of course, Wolcott, a left-liberal, is praising me only because I am criticizing conservatives on this issue on which the left is intensely fired up; as I pointed out the other day, the left has been expressing a disturbing degree of malice against Palin. Yet what Wolcott says about the love train and the conservative movement is right on.
One more thing. A reader This is me this evening told me I was a hypocrite for praising Palin and then criticizing her candidacy. Indeed, I have said from the start that I was very favorably impressed by her as a political personality. I have also said that given her family situation it is wrong for her to run for VP. It is not a contradiction to say that I admire and am intrigued by a person, AND to say, all things being considered, that it would be better for this person not to be a national candidate.
Here is my hypocrite e-mail:
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Monday, September 01, 2008 10:50.p.m.
Subject: ric writes:
Mr. Auster, I read your posts from time to time, as I do also a leftist blog or two. My purpose is to gain a perspective that I may not get from moderate or left/right of center publications. I was directed to your site many months ago by S. Warshawsky after I was critical of an article he published in AT.
For what it is worth, I often think the far right is as loony as the far left. The right has an advantage in they are far more intelligent than the left, and thus are not vulgar or otherwise similarly despicable. Nonetheless, I am often grateful when I read you, and then imagine myself as just an average, not particularly judgmental guy enjoying life as a blessed traditional American.
I would like to point out that you have demonstrated hypocrisy on your site, all in less than 24 hours. At 1:01 am you are praising Gov. Palin (Saracudda) as "a more forceful, canny, and confident-version of James Stewart.," and by 2:18pm ‘McCain has put the conservative base in a position where it has to bend itself out of shape to maintain its support for the Republican ticket." You didn’t even appear to attempt to hide it.
I know little about you beyond what I read as recommended by SW, but as much as we conservatives desire to have a world as it should be, we are in a world that is what it is. We aspire for perfection but we are also realists. Hence, we do not condone behavior that is inconsistent with our values, but we don’t cast those who fail into hells of our making either. (Funny how the term "realist" appeared since that is the term SW used re: you.)
Palin as VP candidate or VP is not going to hurt the traditionalist. It has been a tradition that fathers such as me pass our values on to our children, and occasionally (or non-to-frequently) we learn that we are to be blessed with a grandchild. That is if we are lucky enough to have successfully influenced our children in regard to respect for life when it is most vulnerable. I suggest there are tens of thousands of parents like me who are not in any respect contorting.
The question is, however, what about all those mom’s and dad’s who live day to day wondering if they might have had a grandchild that they can never meet, at least in this world? Gov. Palin has been as successful as me and my Mrs., and obviously more successful than many. She may be an influence on the future mom’s-to-be however, thus indirectly having a beneficial impact on future CHOICES.
We are not contorting, and nor should you.
and Auster’s reply:
Sent: Monday, September 01, 2008 8:34 PM
Subject: Re: ric writes:
for now, a short answer.
1. If you want to have a discussion with me, don’t start it off by calling me a hypocrite. If you see a contradiction in what I’m saying, point it out, and I’ll reply. But to call me a hypocrite is to say right at the start that I’m acting in bad faith. If you want to have a discussion with someone, you have to assume he’s speaking in good faith. If you conclude he’s not speaking in good faith, you end the discussion.
2. There is no contradiction between my praise of her and what I said on Monday. I have said from the start that I was very favorably impressed by her as political personality. I said at the same time that given her family situation it is wrong for her to run for VP. It is not contradictory to say that I admire someone’s qualities, AND to say that this person should not be a candidate for vice president.
3. I went from feeling her candidacy was inappropriate to being actively angry at it when the news came out about her daughter’s pregnancy. I’ve already given some reasons why, and will expand on those thoughts tomorrow.
And my reply to his reply:
and for now, a short lesson
from an Alaskan to an apparently overly sensitive Master.
Your behavior (specific writing) was "hypocritical", but that does not charge you as a "hypocrite." Using WORD, a right click on hypocritical reveals synonyms insincere, two-faced, duplicitous, deceitful or phony and an antonym genuine.
A Hypocrit is a charlatan or a fraud. You are not either of these, and I am offended by your claim that I said you were. Again, I said it was hypocritical. I did not state you were a hypocrite.
Thus, at 1am, were you sincerely pleased with the selection? Not if by 2pm you are sincerely in favor of her to withdraw.
FYI, I have been critical of the Gov. since she put her signature on the ACES (Alaska’s Clear & Equitable Share) legislation, an anathema to conservative principles. She proposed a tax increase on the oil industry to benefit Alaskans as "Owners," consistent with the compact and constitution, and signed a final product that made Alaska look like Venezuela. Their marginal tax rate is progressive and, depending on the market price of oil, can be as much as 100%, was once this year ~80%, and I suspect may be ~60% today. As a shareholder in a few Big Oils, my (and your) dividends and capital appreciation is effected, but as a shareholder of Alaska citizenship I am far ahead because I am going to get a special dividend "from the state." (above and beyond the normal annual div) That should be frightening, especially if Big Oil does not elect to reinvest in Alaska and exploration & production continues to decline as a result. (ANWR is federal land and other than business/employment aspects, does not benefit the state coffers any more than the recent positive Beaufort Sea results)
One more thing,
The governor has made a $500 million investment that is addressed on http://andrewhalcro.com/ The author has recently gotten into the mud, but re: TransCanada or TC Alaska he is as good as it gets.
The governor’s apparent abuse of power to fire a rogue cop is interesting. My position is that the issue was concluded by the "process" before she took office, and she can disagree with the results, but she can not change them. Her energies would have been better directed toward changing the process, so that future rogue behavior is in fact dealt with severely and more appropriately.
These are policy matters, not personal matters, and should be the focus. Personally, I am of the opinion there is too much misogynistic behavior on both the left and the right.
Now don’t get the opinion I have called you a misogynist too.
I have not yet received a reply, and I won’t hold my breath. But the far right and the far left often have far too much in common.