Those nasty elites are coming down hard on Sarah Palin for putting her name on a book with about as much heft as cotton candy. This means I get to add her to my list of “cotton candy conservatives” — which I hesitated in doing previously only because she had not proved herself worthy.
In order to make it on my list of cotton candy conservatives, an applicant must have the opportunity to expound and explain her conservative beliefs in book form. It’s only fair, since we live in a media culture dominated by the soundbite and snappy interview. (No more Firing Line, where a Reagan, Gingrich, or Podhoretz could relax and banter with Buckley for an hour while taking their time in articulating their philosophy.)
So we await the inevitable bio where the applicant can either prove herself worthy of joining the ranks of cotton candy conservatives or prove me wrong and be taken seriously.
From what I’ve read so far, Sarah Palin has not disappointed me.
Going Rogue does nothing to relaunch Palin or establish that she’s capable of running the country. There’s lots of tedious detail about Alaska politics, and loads of chatty stuff about Palin family life. And there’s plenty of bitchy stuff about the McCain campaign and the media and various cultural elites. All of it is liberally laced with the usual right-wing buzzwords and boilerplate. But there’s nothing to her. She spends seven pages dishing about her appearance on Saturday Night Live, but only just over one page discussing her national security strategy (which amounts to: America must be strong and win the war on terror). Know what her economic strategy is? Cut taxes and get government out of the way. Really, it’s no more detailed than that. You don’t expect to read Friedman here, but come on, is that the best she can do?
To answer Mr. Dreher’s pointed question, we don’t know. Palin could have taken the opportunity to write a more thoughtful exposition of her beliefs and ideas. Perhaps she did and they were cut — unsuitable for the market that the publisher was wishing to reach. Not to belabor the point as I have previously, but many of Sarah’s supporters might get a little suspicious if she began to use words of more than three syllables and deviated at all from right-wing dogma.
Many — not all — of Palinites have made it plain that thinking conservatives are suspect because they see shades of gray when, obviously, there is only black and white. If she had sounded too much like one of the “elites,” they may have turned on her as they have turned on so many who fail their ever more convoluted litmus tests of who they deem “conservative enough.”
However, I will give her the benefit of the doubt and believe that she meant to be as shallow and depthless as she has demonstrated in the past.