Bill Kristol just won’t let Sarah Palin go quietly. In a new column at the Washington Post, he makes a number of startling claims about the soon-to-be ex-governor, including the following comparison to Barack Obama:
“He gave a good speech at the 2004 Democratic convention, was elected to the Senate that fall, and immediately started running for president. He didn’t accomplish much in his four years in the Senate (nor could he have been expected to). But that didn’t seem to hurt his standing. Isn’t Palin about as well positioned for the GOP 2012 nomination as Obama was in 2005 for the 2008 Democratic one?”
Uh. No Bill, she isn’t.
Kristol also claims that the “the panic among mainstream media commentators and the GOP establishment suggests real worry that if she does (run), she might pull off an upset. Why else the vehement assertions that she’s clearly made a terrible mistake? Why else the categorical insistence that her political career is finished?”
Well, maybe people are vehemently asserting that she’s made a terrible mistake because she’s made a terrible mistake. Maybe they are saying her political career is over because, well, it’s over. Maybe the GOP establishment expresses real worry about a Palin candidacy because unlike Kristol, it recognizes pending disaster.
While we’re on the subject, I want to address another point as well. The media have taken a lot of criticism for being mean to Palin and for driving her out of office. The truth is, it comes with the territory and always has. Nothing said about Todd Palin, for example, exceeds in viciousness or imagination to the attacks on Michelle Obama (remember that alleged “whitey tape?” The ape references?)
If you can’t handle it, don’t volunteer for the duty. Politics is not like shooting wolves from a plane. Politics requires that you get in among the wolves for hand-to-hand combat.
Furthermore, if conservative Republicans want someone to blame for ruining the once-promising career of Sarah Palin, they should look in the mirror. They’re the ones who plucked the poor woman out of Alaskan obscurity and fed her ego and dreams until her head all but exploded; they’re the ones who pushed her out onto the stage like some political Susan Boyle, totally unprepared for what was about to hit her.
Baseball managers, for example, know better than to bring that heat-throwing 19-year-old phenom pitcher from the single A’s straight up to the majors. Yeah, the kid might have talent, but they understand that the game as it’s played in the bigs is a whole ‘nother game from the Alaska League. They know that if you throw the kid into the lineup too early, you can ruin his confidence and force him try things he’s not ready to handle yet and all of a sudden, in your haste, you’ve turned a phenom prospect into a wreck.
But the ‘08 Republicans were desperate. They had no bench. So in a moment of panic they reached down into the deep minor leagues and brought up an inexperienced rookie who proceeded to get rocked every time she took the pitcher’s mound. They put her into a situation in which she was bound to fail, and for that failure they should blame only themselves.
And Kristol deserves more blame than most for Palin’s fall.