Once again Matthew Continetti is using his considerable writerly talent to laud Sarah Palin, the Alaska politician who resigned her governorship to focus on cable news appearances and paid speaking gigs. Daniel Larison ably explains why Mr. Continetti’s commentary on the foreign policy elements in her speech are an embarrassment to a man of his intelligence.
I’ll therefore focus my commentary elsewhere, and in doing so, I must admit that he gets this exactly right:
Sarah Palin’s speech to the Tea Party convention in Nashville showcased all of the former Alaska governor’s strengths. She was confident, funny, down-to-earth, at times emotional–and she took a scalpel to the Obama administration and congressional Democrats.
Read that passage carefully, and you’ll see that Mr. Continetti acknowledges, whether slyly or inadvertently, that Ms. Palin’s strengths are limited to confidence, humor, down-to-earthiness, and an ability to attack the opposition party. Conspicuously missing from her list of strengths are intelligence, prudence, foreign policy experience, self-awareness, impressive achievements, patience, perseverance, integrity, intellectual honesty, and rhetorical precision.
Normally intelligent writers refrain from touting politicians who lack these qualities, but not Mr. Continetti, who continues to marshal his considerable talent in Ms. Palin’s service. The second paragraph in his piece is a small example of how far he is willing to go as her sycophant:
The timing of the speech was also significant. Palin used the talk, broadcast live on Fox News Channel and C-SPAN, to respond to the president’s State of the Union address from last week. Palin’s mention that today is Ronald Reagan’s birthday positioned her squarely among his heiresses.
So talented is Mr. Continetti that I almost read right past that without pausing, but wait a minute — can politicians now position themselves as heir or heiress to Ronald Reagan, the political figure most beloved of conservatives, merely by mentioning his birthday? Perhaps Ms. Palin can also give speeches on the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln, F.A. Hayek and Winston Churchill, positioning herself as their heiresses too. “The media are playing into Palin’s hands,” Mr. Continetti writes. “They’ve used her celebrity as an excuse to cover her relentlessly even though she holds no office–and yet the attention helps her communicate to her supporters and reach out to audiences who may be giving her a second thought.” It is truly jaw-dropping to see Mr. Continetti of all people slag the media for covering the former governor relentlessly despite the fact that she holds no office.