Some of Peggy Noonan’s observations about Sarah Palin (see John’s post below) are over-the-top, in my opinion. Noonan notwithstanding, the Democrats I know don’t see Palin as a “real and present danger to the American left.” One Democrat with substantial experience in presidential campaigns told me that he viewed the race as a toss-up before the Palin selection and now gives Obama the slight edge. He and the other Dems I’ve talked to may be underestimating her, but that’s how they see Palin.
The Dems are attacking Palin, as they would attack any nominee with vulnerabilities, because they want McCain to look bad, not because they believe she’s potentially a “transformative presence” in American politics (McCain, if he were younger, might fit that description). The Republicans would be doing the same thing if the Democrats had nominated an obscure, less than half-term governor.
Palin, who is best described as an “up-and-comer,” seems to be taking on legendary status among a sizeable chunk of the party faithful, and this before she has even delivered tonight’s set-piece. It shows, I think, how desperate the party faithful is for heroes.
JOHN demurs: Paul, I think you underestimate how edgy the Democrats are at the prospect that the first woman on a winning national ticket could be a Republican. Recall how desperate the Democrats were, for similar reasons, to keep Clarence Thomas off the Supreme Court, and to what dishonorable lengths they went to try to destroy him.
PAUL responds: The Democrats are desperate now for the same reason they are always desperate — they want to take power. That means defeating John McCain. The attacks on Palin can fully be explained as a way of undermining McCain. Unless one thinks that, under normal circumstances, the Dems exhibit a greater sense of decency in the pursuit of power.
As for Clarence Thomas, the Senate Democrats went after him the same way they went after Robert Bork, with whatever they could lay their hands on.
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