Palinistas kill me. Lately, they've been trying to equate Palin to Reagan, and while there are similarities, Sarah Palin is no Ronald Reagan.
Let me stipulate that I like Sarah Palin. Pretty much every position she takes is one with which I agree. As a conservative, we're probably in lock-step, so, I have every reason to support her. With the perhaps single exception of Herman Cain, she's the only candidate I expect to agree with nearly 100% of the time.
Here's the problem with Palin for me. I actually find myself thinking she agrees with me, vice me agreeing with her. I don't get that feeling from a guy like Cain, who I have had the opportunity to listen to quite a bit here in Atlanta over the years. With Cain, I feel like I am following him, and that I learn something new with him. With Palin, well, she's a politician who happens to share my views. I think she could learn more from reading my blog than I could ever learn from months with her. It's not that I think she's stupid, nor that she's intellectually incurious. It's just that I don't think she brings thought leadership to the movement.
That may seem like I am knocking her, but I am not. Seriously, Palinista's, I'm not. Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, and even as far back as Woodrow Wilson, we have examples of superbly intelligent men who couldn't lead nor would even really be management material. Academics are like that.
So, I could get behind a Palin presidential run, or a Palin presidency. I actually think it would be competent, and she'd at least be pushing my agenda. I expect she'd be highly effective at getting my priorities executed. But, don't tell me she's an intellectual force bringing new ideas to the conservative movement. She's not. She's good at framing ideas that are not her own, and at bringing to bare metal the flaws in the opposition's arguments. But, I don't find any of her ideas or approaches terribly original, but derivative. Even her famopus Death Panels was not her original thought.
We don't necessarily need that in a president, and I don't require it. I need my president to get the things I want done, to be persuasive in doing so, and I'd like them to make the state-run media nuts. She'd do all those things, and, she'd bring new blood to the movement. I think she understands, at a working level what most people with common sense are thinking, and she gives voice to that, and more effectively than pretty much any other candidate out there (with the exceptions of Cain, and the non-running Huckabee). I find her Midwestern cadence and odd butchering of the English language grating and it drives me crazy, but, I have it on good authority that the way she talks rings true with large swathes of the populace (and these swathes vote). So, I have to be prepared to accept it.
But, it doesn't mean I have to listen to her ardent supporters say she's Reagan incarnate. She is not. And no one will be. One of the GOP's and conservatives' problems is that we're all looking for Reagan II. We're not going to find it. Reagan was unique, and unique for his time.
Sure, the media pilloried Reagan as nothing better than an amiable dunce, and a warmonger, and an old, senile man (during term 2). Those of us who followed him knew better. By 1980, Reagan had a 20 year record of real thought leadership in the conservative movement, and was a leader in it. He came by his convictions honestly, and through thorough study of them. He was intellectually curious. He was a persuader, and he was able to make his arguments because he had thought them through himself.
So, you Palin fans, I am with you, but, please stop comparing Palin to Reagan. Feel free to compare the treatment of her by the press to their treatment of Reagan, and continue to rebut it, but...I don't think your arguments are as strong as Reagan's defenders. And, it serves neither Sarah Palin, the conservative movie, not the GOP, to try to turn her into something she is not.
She could be a wonderful candidate, and a common-sense alternative to Professor-President Obama. Let her.
More on my candidate in a future post.