Sunday, November 09, 2008

Palin poll portends problems and raises the question "What is a Republican?"

Rasmussen poll results released yesterday suggest that 69% of Republican voters viewed the Palin VP candidacy as helping McCain, 91% have a favorable view of Palin, and 64% see her as the top pick for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Who are these Republicans. Did they see her woeful lack of knowledge on basic civics and current events. Did they listen to her absurd claim of foreign policy experience. Did they not realize that most of her views were hollow repetitions of coached opinions. Did they see her reveling in racially biased chants and taunts by her crowds, never once stopping them with a reprimand or reminder of what's right, just smiling and almost laughing just as if they were saying "drill baby drill". Who are these Republicans?

Apparently what they saw was an attractive candidate with a supposedly homespun charisma who refused to be flummoxed by any of her missteps. They saw someone who was confident and ambitious. They saw a cipher who could deliver a speech in an upbeat and charged manner. They saw a confirmation of themselves and their aspirations for the simple America of their dreams that they want back. Just a guess as I don't get it.

If the Rasmussen poll was accurate in identifying those who are Republicans today it shows a party that has morphed into a type of anti-intellectualism, or anti-learning may be more accurate, and negative populism that is disturbing. It has little relationship to the party of Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Nixon, and Ford, or even to some extent that of Reagan. In those years the Republican party, like them or not, was still a party of ideas that valued knowledge and clear principles. Sarah Palin represents something completely different and the majority of the party as now constituted today stands behind what she represents.

While some folks are amused by all of this(in hindsight it's possible to be amused) and see Palin's survival as more entertainment on the horizon, another perspective suggests that this is disturbing and possibly dangerous. Please excuse any alarmist observation here, or hackneyed insight, but isn't the Palin phenomenon what poisoned Western Europe, as in Germany and Italy, in the 1930's. This resentment based and anti-knowledge based perversion of populism voiced by a relentless, charismatic, and questionably principled icon is not a good omen for our country. Flash in the pan, a one trick pony, hopefully that's the case, but if not be wary.

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