Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sarah Palin, the media, and intelligence

Here's a post election interview with Sarah Palin. Writing about the experience, the interviewer makes these comments,

"One of the things you quickly learn when you visit the Palins is that the legend created around who they are and how they live is no myth. It appears to be absolutely real and everything about them seems 100% sincere...We saw the genuine Sarah Palin and it is patently obvious this is the only one who exists. She is the real deal.

As a former TV sportscaster and radio talk show host I’ve interviewed a lot big-time “celebrities,” and can honestly say that even though you could argue Sarah Palin was the most prominent, she is also by far the nicest, most sincere and seemingly honest subject I’ve ever questioned."

Sarah Palin was the object of the standard anti-conservative media smear machine, and it has been successful at affecting the perceptions of many Republicans as well as non-Republicans. I know several Republicans who decided to vote for Obama because of the Palin selection. These people had bought the media line that Palin wasn't intelligent or experienced enough to be Vice President. The part about experience is laughable, of course, because she demonstrably has more experience than The Messiah.

The part about intelligence is interesting because it has been used over and over again by the media/Democratic Party machine against Republican candidates for as long as I've been watching politics, which is getting to be a very long time. How many remember that Dwight Eisenhower's intelligence was compared unfavorably to Adlai Stevenson in the 1950's? The intellect of the guy who won the war in Europe couldn't compare to the many achievements of Mr. Stevenson.

Of course, Ronald Reagan was universally portrayed as a dunce by the MSM. As we know, he only solved the 2 seemingly unsolvable problems of his day - winning the cold war, and ending the pernicious economic malady known as "stagflation", which had been brought on by the same Keynesian economic policies that The Messiah is about to re-introduce. Both goals were almost universally thought to be impossible by the "experts" of the day.

By the time of George Bush the younger, this mantra was in full cry, no matter that Bush had gone to a little podunk school called Yale, achieving higher grades there than John Kerry, and went on to an advanced degree at Harvard Business School.

So anyone who remembers history should be innoculated by now against this very familiar theme, but surprisingly, even many older Republicans who should know better drink the liberal Kool-Aid.

So how should one evaluate the intelligence of a political candidate? According to the media, only 2 things matter: glibness and whether the candidate is a Democrat. Bill Clinton won the all time glibness award. His contribution to history was to studiously ignore Osama bin Laden while defending his definition of the word "is". John Kerry was anointed by the MSM as the more intelligent candidate in his run against Bush though he was a little short of Bush's grades and his glibness quotient was lower than average. So glibness and being a Democrat don't necessarily seem to be the best definitions of intelligence.

Given the need to translate ethereal intelligence into practical results, it would appear that two relevant standards for candidates for office are 1. who has demonstrated performance, and 2. who has better policy positions. It can truthfully be said that intelligence is as intelligence does. Bookish intelligence that doesn't translate into meaningful performance is useless, particularly in a high level executive job.

So how does Palin compare to The Messiah according to these criteria? As the mayor of her town, Chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission , and as Governor of Alaska, Palin has gotten rave reviews. Her 80% approval rating as governor at the time of her nomination to Vice Presidential candidate is as high as approval gets. Along the way, she rooted out corruption in her own party, challenged long-time Republican bigwigs for office, and trounced them. If this isn't intelligence defined by performance, I don't know what is.

How does it compare to The Messiah? He came up through one of the most corrupt political machines in the country and did nothing to challenge it. He associated with a list of corrupt and disgusting characters including his longtime mentor Rev. Wright, his financial angel and convicted felon Tony Rezko, who arranged an almost certainly corrupt transaction to help him buy his house, and former terrorist bomber William Ayers. He enthusiastically supported Gov. Blagojevitch, who promptly put The Messiah's Senate seat up for sale.

His Illinois Senate career was completely undistinguished, notable primarily for the number of "present" votes cast, and he made no mark during his brief national Senate experience other than immediately abandoning his job to campaign for still higher office. So if performance is a measure of intelligence...?

In terms of policy, The Messiah believes in virtually unlimited government spending and regulation. His tax policy is to increase taxes on the 10% of people who already pay 70% of income taxes in order to pay for a giant new welfare system (sold as "refundable tax credits") for half the population.

To reduce our dependence on imported energy he wants to ban electricity production using our most abundant domestic energy source, ban drilling for oil in new areas offshore and in Alaska, and stop development of vast domestic oil shale reserves which would make us independent of foreign oil for the next several hundred years. He's also against development of nuclear power until the day when environmental fanatics are happy with nuclear waste disposal, whatever century that might be.

Instead he wants create "millions of green jobs" building windmills, solar panels, and other massively subsidized schemes which have no potential to make the slightest dent in our oil imports, but will cause huge increases in domestic energy costs. He proudly states that energy prices will and should "skyrocket" under his plans. If this is "intelligence", I prefer dumb, please.

By contrast, Sarah Palin wants to open Alaska and offshore areas to drilling, and is probably the most pro-energy production politician on the national scene. Comparing these two candidates on energy, with Palin we have a chance to reduce our dependence on friends like Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. With Obama, we'd better get used to kissing their feet, which Obama apparently wants to do anyway.

Perhaps the real question of intelligence is about the MSM itself. Its definition of intelligence includes the thrill Chris Matthews gets up his leg when he hears The Messiah speak. If that's your definition of intelligence, you should buy their smear tactics against Palin's intellect.

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