Actually, we probably spend less time talking about Sarah Palin than almost any political web site–a fact of which I am rather proud. But, for those who need a daily Sarah fix, here it is.
Howard Kurtz, one of the savviest media critics around, is “starting to believe the detractors are wrong and that Palin is executing a shrewd strategy that has catapulted her past potential rivals:”
In her TLC series on Alaska, we see Sarah the frontierswoman hunting, skeet-shooting, and beating a captured halibut to death. None of these skills are in demand in the Oval Office, but they cast her as a strong, swashbuckling figure. Compared to that image, Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty seem like, well, guys in suits.
There is no question that among potential Republican Presidential candidates, Palin dominates the news coverage:
According to a Google News search by New York Times blogger Nate Silver, Palin’s name has been mentioned in about 20,300 articles this year, compared with 3,640 for Romney, 3,280 for Newt Gingrich, 2,980 for Pawlenty and 1,870 for Mike Huckabee. She has been Googled six times as often as these four gentlemen combined.
If you haven’t been watching Palin’s Alaska series on TLC, you can contrast Kurtz’s positive take with this snarky summary of Episode 3 in the New York Post:
Sarah explains that there are two ways of catching fish, and the Palins do it the other way. They are net setters, who plant nets in the bay in the hopes that a school gets caught by the gills. But oh-ho-ho. Nerves can get fried when the fish aren’t catchin’, she says with a little wink. Track doesn’t always agree with Super Todd: Father Nature and Fish Whisperer, so they get a little snippy with each other. Poor Track pulls up one measly fish at a time.
Sarah’s still positive about it all. These are life lessons! “A big part of being a fisherman is knowing when to cut bait and run.” This is also part of being an elected civil servant and the state’s highest executive. “We’ll get ‘em next time!” she chirps.
Palin’s take on issues is often unique. “Frontier feminism,” for example, is simply not a subject that most American politicians are familiar with, but when Palin writes that the “frontier also produced a different kind of woman” — and backs it up with the story of Caroline Nichols Churchill — she is making a case that most coastal elites cannot refute or even debate because of their near complete ignorance of the subject matter.
If the book has a target, it is in fact the coastal elites that define and drive so much of American culture. The big foots of Manhattan-Beltway-Los Angeles media aren’t going to be familiar with Charles Stanley or Max Lucado, but Palin is comfortable quoting them in support of her points. Some of those elites might recognize the names of Fred Barnes, Arthur Brooks, Jonah Goldberg, Kathryn Jean Lopez, and Rich Lowry, but they may blink at Palin’s quick references to the Brooks’ key book, “The Battle.” The odds are good that these elites are not regular readers of National Review or the Weekly Standard and thus not remotely familiar with the arguments that powered the red wave this past November.
Palin’s grasp of the current political moment is comprehensive. She knows the conservative movement. She is generous about those who lead it with her, spending time praising Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, for example. And contrary to press reports, she allots very little ink to direct criticism of the president.
“America by Heart” is an upbeat, positive affirmation of traditional American values.
There you have it: today’s Palin fix.
UPDATE: One more, as Governor Palin effectively questions the Obama administration’s competence in connection with the Wikileaks leaks:
First and foremost, what steps were taken to stop Wikileaks director Julian Assange from distributing this highly sensitive classified material especially after he had already published material not once but twice in the previous months? … [Assange] is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands. His past posting of classified documents revealed the identity of more than 100 Afghan sources to the Taliban. Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders?
What if any diplomatic pressure was brought to bear on NATO, EU, and other allies to disrupt Wikileaks’ technical infrastructure? Did we use all the cyber tools at our disposal to permanently dismantle Wikileaks? Were individuals working for Wikileaks on these document leaks investigated? Shouldn’t they at least have had their financial assets frozen just as we do to individuals who provide material support for terrorist organizations?
Most importantly, serious questions must also be asked of the U.S. intelligence system. How was it possible that a 22-year-old Private First Class could get unrestricted access to so much highly sensitive information? And how was it possible that he could copy and distribute these files without anyone noticing that security was compromised?
The White House has now issued orders to federal departments and agencies asking them to take immediate steps to ensure that no more leaks like this happen again. It’s of course important that we do all we can to prevent similar massive document leaks in the future. But why did the White House not publish these orders after the first leak back in July? What explains this strange lack of urgency on their part?
Good questions all. As usual, Barack Obama and Eric Holder are no match for Governor Palin.