Palin, Obama, and stuff....

I've often taken a much more sympathetic view of Sarah Palin's skills and talents than many in the blogosphere, at least on this side of the Atlantic. A while ago, I found it impossible to sustain any sort of respect for the Honourable representative for Moonie Ponds, however; her peevish attempts to isolate journalists and to play upon her children's illnesses, her wilful ignorance, and her narcissism struck me as an attempt to embed the worst aspects of Richard Nixon into some shopping channel Harpy, and I just started ignoring her.

The Republican party's establishment seems to have had much the same idea. With increasing force in recent days, the Bushes, Krauthammers, Coulters, and Roves have all fired their arrows into Hughie Long's lost, confused high school bully of a daughter.

People forget how conservative the Republicans actually are, partly because of their tendency to dress up in cowboy boots whilst pretending to be stupid. Since 1952, 12 out of 14 presidential tickets have contained someone called Bush, Nixon, or Dole, and the two which did not--Goldwater-Miller in 1964 and McCain-Palin in 2008--went down to disastrous defeat. The GOP likes its nexi and nodes. What it lacks these days is a candidate with Paul Ryan's sense or Mitch Daniel's competence allied to old money and party gravitas, given that Jeb Bush is damaged goods and there are no Lodges or Rockefellers worth the candle anymore.

And so, for now, the face of the Right in America is, variously, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor,and Sarah Palin. None of the formal office holders have Palin's appeal. No one, as far as I can tell, trusts Mitt Romney (rightly), and neophytes like Scott Brown have not proven able to gain any media traction.

I also find it hard to believe that the Tea Party has gone away. All of which provides an interesting conundrum for the GOP. Do they continue to try to waterboard Palin whilst pretending to just be raising sensible questions, and encourage her to bolt? Will they be blamed for the stagnation side of stagflation, whilst the Obama Administration claims credit for mortgage write-offs, anti-debt inflation, and the export via the creation of an unsustainable Sino-surplus of inflation to China?

I think the Democrat, whoever that may be in 2012, is still the safe bet for election to the White House. Barring a trip to Dallas, as it were, serious money should still be on Obama (or Hillary Clinton, in the unfortunate event) despite the vast expansion of the monetary base with no commensurate expansion of work, or jobs, or resources, and no serious reduction of the deficit and debt. I'm also open to the idea of a Tea Party split undermining the Republicans.

All this whilst Obama deserves genuine plaudits for his foreign policy, and for playing a very weak hand very well. At any other point in American history, Obama would have been a guaranteed one-termer- David Dinkins in a Carter mask. Foreign policy normally does not matter, and, famously the economy does. The American economy, the real economy rather than that of the pundits and massaged figures, is at the moment still in a dire state. This ought to be very bad for the Administration.

But our times are not normal, and the President is actually doing rather well. If he carries on in this vein, Joan Walsh may well be justified in her lukewarm attempt to brand him a liberal Reagan, without the lies and criminality, obviously.

It's a funny old world, isn't it?

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