LIMBAUGH: Authenticity vs. charisma

COMMENTARY:

Many Democrats, including Joe Biden himself, are second-guessing Barack Obama’s selection of Mr. Biden, but I have to wonder how many are having even greater misgivings about Mr. Obama leading the ticket.

How quickly the political landscape can change. The dynamics of this presidential campaign have turned faster than a Jack Bauer torture target. But those praying that Palinmania is as ill-conceived and fleeting as Obamamessiahmania will be sorely disappointed. Building one’s house on the rock of Sarah Palin is quite different from erecting it on the shifting sands of Barack Obama.

As the Democratic primary season was winding down, discerning Democrats began to have serious buyer’s remorse about Mr. Obama, as shown by Hillary Clinton’s dominance in the late primary contests. But Democrats faced a titanic dilemma because cashiering Mr. Obama might have salvaged this election but caused a permanent exodus of black voters from the party.

These unpleasant realities, I believe, forced Democrats into denial about Mr. Obama. They might have had rumblings of awareness that he wasn’t the demigod they had assumed but clung to the illusion that he was at least partially a post-partisan paladin who could rise above the mundane milieu where mere mortals meander.

But even they had to recognize that Mr. Obama is the least experienced candidate for president in recent memory. Earlier in the campaign, that truth temporarily was overshadowed by the dizzying euphoria sweeping America about Mr. Obama because of his good looks, his scripted eloquence and charisma, his apparently cheerful and magnanimous demeanor, and his promise to deliver change and a new kind of unifying politics.

As the campaign unfolded, Mr. Obama imploded in every one of those categories. Without a teleprompter, he was stripped of his eloquence, down to verbal nudity. Under fire, his cheerfulness turned to sniping nastiness. His platform of change was exposed as the same old extreme leftist policy prescription rejected by 60 percent of Americans, which is why he tried to hide it under cover of vagueness.

His commitment to unity was betrayed by close relationships with paragons of divisiveness, racism and anti-Americanism and his elitist denunciation of small-town Americans. His grandiose pledge to bring us all together was obliterated by his failure to unite even his own party and his eager participation in a very strident and contentious campaign. Far from rising above deficiencies in his resume, Mr. Obama is not cool under fire and has less, not more maturity than an average person with his level of experience.

Having hung all their hopes on a haloed herald of hallucinatory charisma and having established superficiality over substance as the electoral standard, Obama supporters forfeited all credibility to criticize Sarah Palin for lack of experience or excess of charisma.

But that won’t stop them from trying, as they are never bound by what they said yesterday. And trying they are, as they desperately shoot their stopped-up popguns at Mrs. Palin, only to injure themselves with the backfire of betrayed liberal commitments to gender equality.

Besides, there is a fundamental difference between the excitement once generated by Barack Obama and that presently inspired by Sarah Palin: Mr. Obama’s was not grounded in any semblance of reality.

Americans cannot rely on promises of undefined hope. They can find no stability in aimless change. They cannot bank our national security on angry denunciations of America. And they won’t easily squander their liberty in exchange for the class-warfare politics of envy and redistribution.

While there is plenty of enthusiasm surrounding Sarah Palin, little of it is irrationally based. None of her supporters believes she is flawless or possesses supernatural qualities. To the contrary, it’s her very authenticity that appeals to us, her decency, her commitment to family, her unapologetic veneration for America’s Founding principles and traditional values - the very principles and values that are repugnant to the elites.

When you look at Mrs. Palin, you don’t get the idea she believes she is superior to other human beings or “the one we’ve been waiting for.” One can’t imagine her being comfortable if treated as infallible, placed on an artificial pedestal or voluntarily remaining there through such unspeakably presumptuous extravaganzas as those feted Mr. Obama at Berlin and Invesco Field.

But with delicious irony, the outcome of this presidential race could well turn not so much on the marked difference in humility between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Palin, but between Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain.

Had Mr. Obama been willing to bury the hatchet and share the limelight with rival Hillary Clinton, no less a political genius than Karl Rove believes he would have been unbeatable. Gratifyingly, Mr. McCain was a big enough man to choose and surrender the spotlight to Sarah Palin.

David Limbaugh is a nationally syndicated columnist, author and lawyer. His book “Bankrupt: The Intellectual and Moral Bankruptcy of Today’s Democratic Party” was released recently in paperback.

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