Like Jennifer Rubin, only a year ago the author of “Why Jews Hate Palin,” these second-degree Palin maniacs no longer defend Palin. Instead, they try to solve the baffling mystery: how could anybody possibly object to the half-term governor?
Is it because they look down upon those who lack fancy college degrees? Because they hate babies? (Those were Taranto’s theories.) Or perhaps because they despise military moms? Or are they just jealous that Palin is so damn sexy?
I’d be willing to join Ross in pretending that the whole shameful Palin episode never happened if I could assure myself that the second-degree Palin defenders really had learned the lesson of this experience. I see no sign of it.
So as a contribution to the debate, let me try to explain why the Palin phenomenon cannot be left behind quite so fast.
In 2008, the Republican party nominated for the office of vice-president a person who is now pretty universally agreed to be unfit for the presidency. (Even Taranto agrees with that.) Concededly: it’s not the first time in the history of the republic that this has happened. But here’s the difference between Palin and, say, Spiro Agnew or Henry Wallace. The Palin nomination elicited a huge outpouring of argument from Republicans and conservatives denying that competence mattered at all in a potential president.
Admittedly, much of this defense was insincere. But unfortunately – not all. Palin we could quietly consign to the attic of Republican embarrassments. The apparatus of excuse and justification that surrounded and protected Palin until the day before yesterday – that still chugs away over at the Wall Street Journal – that apparatus remains an overwhelming impediment to any hope of a more responsible conservatism of the future.