Sarah Palin continues to galvanize the imagination of both her ardent supporters and her hectoring adversaries. It is easy to understand her appeal to those who have rallied behind her and her possible candidacy for the office of president of the United States. She has a lot going for her: charm, personableness, natural smarts, moral probity, executive competence, independence of character, and a passionate love of country. These are undeniable advantages, or should be in any sane political environment.
At the same time, she steps up to the plate with two strikes against her — or, in an alternative baseball universe, with three, four, or five strikes already logged in the umpire’s clicker. PDS (Palin Derangement Syndrome) flourishes on the liberal-left, to the extent that a correspondent to Salon.com suggests “we get rid of Palin” by having her electrocuted like one of Michael Vick’s dogs. According to the media scuttlebutt and her innumerable liberal detractors, she is poorly educated, brings no foreign policy experience to the job, shoots her own dinner, comes across as politically unnuanced, and, perhaps the most cutting strike against her, lacks gravitas. These negatives are obviously serious disadvantages for anyone contemplating a run for the presidency, but are they valid criticisms? Is she really “out” before she even takes a swing? Let’s consider each of these knocks against her in turn.
To begin with, Palin is by no means poorly educated; she merely did not graduate with a degree from an Ivy League institution, which by any reasonable account in today’s academic milieu should stand decidedly in her favor. Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Berkeley and other so-called elite universities charge prohibitive tuition fees while, for the most part, delivering second-rate curricular fare. They represent the kiss of intellectual death — unless, of course, one wishes to enter the service of the State Department or practice trial or immigration law. Palin did well to avoid these bastions of mainly liberal-left political correctness.