- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 4, 2008

Paying off

“The risk John McCain took last Friday is comparable to the 72-year-old ex-fighter pilot knocking back two shots and flying his F-16 under the Golden Gate Bridge,” Pat Buchanan writes at www.WorldNetDaily.com.

“McCain’s choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his co-pilot was the biggest gamble in presidential history. As of now, it is paying off, big-time,” Mr. Buchanan said.

“The sensational selection in Dayton, Ohio, stepped all over the big story from Denver - Barack Obama’s powerful address to 85,000 cheering folks in Mile High Stadium, and 35 million nationally, a speech that vaulted him from a 2-point deficit early in the week to an 8-point margin. Obama had never before reached 49 percent against McCain.

“As the Democrats were being rudely stepped on, however, Palin ignited an explosion of enthusiasm among conservatives, evangelicals, traditional Catholics, gun owners and right-to-lifers not seen in decades.

“By passing over his friends Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge and picking Palin, McCain has given himself a fighting chance of winning the White House that, before Friday morning, seemed to be slipping away. Indeed, the bristling reaction on the left testifies to Democratic fears that the choice of Palin could indeed be a game-changer in 2008.”

‘Kill her quick’

“Gut: The Sarah Palin choice is really going to work, or really not going to work,” Peggy Noonan writes at www.opinionjournal.com.

“It’s not going to be a little successful or a little not; it’s not going to be a wash. She is either going to be magic or one of history’s accidents. She is either going to be brilliant and groundbreaking, or will soon be the target of unattributed quotes by bitter staffers shifting blame in all the ‘Making of the President 2008’ books. Of which there should be plenty, as we’ve never had a year like this, with the fabulous freak of a campaign,” Miss Noonan said.

“More immediately and seriously on Palin:

“Because she jumbles up so many cultural categories, because she is a feminist not in the Yale Gender Studies sense but the ‘How Do I Reload This Thang’ way, because she is a woman who in style, history, moxie and femininity is exactly like a normal American feminist and not an Abstract Theory feminist; because she wears makeup and heels and eats mooseburgers and is ‘Alaska tough,’ as Time magazine put it; because she is conservative, and pro-2nd Amendment and pro-life; and because conservatives can smell this sort of thing - who is really one of them and who is not - and will fight to the death for one of their beleaguered own; because of all of this she is a real and present danger to the American left, and to the Obama candidacy.

“She could become a transformative political presence.

“So they are going to have to kill her, and kill her quick.

“And it’s going to be brutal. It’s already getting there.”

Positive response

“Television viewers would have been hard-pressed to find media commentary in the last few days that was, on balance, favorable to Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin,” Lawrence B. Lindsey writes at www.weeklystandard.com.

“It ranged from the appallingly biased on MSNBC, which ran a ‘Breaking News’ subheading as McCain was about to introduce her: ‘How Many Houses Does Palin Bring to the Republican Ticket?’ through the obvious references to the Religious Right liking her ‘extreme anti-abortion’ views to the universal observation that her pick ‘destroys the key argument that Republicans have made about Barack Obama: experience.’

“This last point is reiterated by nearly everyone who has served a long time in Washington, media, pundit, or former officeholder.

“Despite this, the poll numbers show a modestly positive initial response by the public at large. Gallup found her favorable-to-unfavorable score as 39-33 (billed on MSNBC as ‘only 39 percent support for Palin’). Rasmussen found that the public thought McCain had made the right choice, not the wrong choice by 40-32. Aside from her own speech at the announcement of her candidacy, the public got all of its information about her from the media, having no idea about her before the announcement. How can negative media coincide with positive public reaction?”

The angry press

“I have always tended to think that conservative complaints about the media are a little exaggerated,” Yuval Levin writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“There are occasionally obvious instances of bias and clear examples of a double standard, but most reporters don´t want to fall into those, and some conservatives are surely too sensitive to them. But this week has changed my view. I have never seen, and I admit that I could never have imagined, such shameful, out-of-control, frenzied, angry, condescending, and pathetic journalistic malpractice,” Mr. Levin said.

“The ignorant assault on Palin´s accomplishments and experience, the breathless, careless airing of deranged rumors about her private life, the staggeringly indecent mistreatment of her teenage daughter in a difficult time, the ill-informed piling-on about the vetting process, the self-intensifying circle of tisking, nodding heads utterly detached from a straightforward political event, have been amazing and eye-opening.

“The reigning emotion of it all has been anger - anger at being surprised, anger at being denied the spectacle of a Republican circular firing squad, anger that a conservative pro-life Republican could also be a woman and might represent the aspirations of other women, anger at being handed a person they did not know and who did not know them, anger that this upstart thinks she can ruin their coronation party. And the anger was fed by, and was indicative of, a profound elitism - a sense that we were dealing with some redneck moron from a state with no decent restaurants.”

Piling on

The New York Times and The Washington Post both piled on Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin in editorials and columns yesterday.

The New York Times went so far as to lead its op-ed page with a column by liberal academic Garry Wills, who compared Mrs. Palin to Tom Eagleton, who was forced off the 1972 Democratic ticket when it was revealed he had undergone electroshock treatments for depression.

“Perhaps Gov. Palin, realizing that [she might have to be replaced] and trying to minimize her own humiliation in coming days, should withdraw before she is nominated and let Sen. McCain turn again to one of his more experienced options,” Mr. Wills wrote.

*Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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