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Palin Fans Need to Chill

The Daily Caller stepped in it today.  In a fairly innocuous piece about Sarah Palin’s TLC reality show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” they reported on a story already in the news, here and here, about the state tax subsidies the show’s producers received for filming in Alaska.  From today’s DC:

…in a political age where it’s controversial in many circles to defend public funding of National Public Radio, critics panned Palin for supporting a measure that forced taxpayers to foot the bill for a private media project after many statements from the former governor in support of a government that only plays a limited role in the economy.

“I’d bet, like many politicians, Palin’s views on the proper role of government becomes more flexible as it comes closer to her own interests,” wrote the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney on Tuesday.

Jim Geraghty of National Review said that the reality show’s subsidy was “ridiculous” and that the policy was “problematic for a crusader for small government to end up collecting a seven-figure paycheck from an endeavor that received a seven-figure subsidy,” while Peter Suderman of the libertarian Reason Magazine cracked: “In 2008, Sarah Palin, then the Governor of Alaska, signed a special tax credit for filmmakers into law. … Who’s benefiting from that tax subsidy now? … none other than Sarah Palin.”

Palin, as she often does, responded ably to those criticisms on Facebook. From the last big paragraph:

“It’s…a false accusation to suggest that signing this bipartisan bill somehow goes against my position on the proper role of government,” she said. “I’ve said many times that government can play an appropriate role in incentivizing business, creating infrastructure, and leveling the playing field to foster competition so the market picks winners and losers, instead of bureaucrats burdening businesses and picking winners and losers.”

This actually seems like pretty small potatoes — it’s the kind of gotcha piece that every politician eventually faces.

What’s striking, though, are the comments below the Daily Caller piece.  Many of them display the kind of tripwire defensiveness I’ve noticed a lot in die-hard Palin fans.  And Palin’s Facebook response is also a little over-the-top.  There’s a lot in it about “burying” her response — in reality, it’s there, unburied — and a weird shot at Tucker Carlson

“As I noted in my statement (which was curiously buried by The Daily Caller – whose editor-in-chief was recently called on the carpet for publicly using a degrading term to describe women. C’mon Daily Caller, we can’t afford you slipping up like this. America is counting on more professionalism than that.”

Okay, full disclosure:  I like Sarah Palin.  I like her especially because of the way she totally unhinges the Left.  I don’t think she’d make a good president, though.  And I’m unwilling to accept, as some Palin fans demand, that this is some kind of slur.  There are literally hundreds of people and politicians whose temperaments and judgement and values I like — Roger Ailes, my dad, Peter Robinson, Ursula Hennessy, George Will,  just to name a few.  I’d even throw in most of the Ricochet membership.

That doesn’t mean I think any of them should be president.  

The notion that because she’s been on the receiving end of a lot of nasty press — and she has — that that somehow exonerates her from any criticism, even the small-bore penny-ante stuff about state tax subsidies for film production, is just way, way, way too hypersensitive.  It doesn’t do her any good, either.  It makes her look small and prickly.  It makes her look Nixonian.  Not Reaganesque.

Sarah Palin needs to take a deep breath.  The DC piece was a fair piece of gotcha, and her response — when she finally got to it, after lots of drama and stemwinding and self-pitying justification — is a perfectly fair, perfectly persuasive answer.  She should have left it at that.  She’d seem a lot taller and more — dare I say it — presidential if she had.  I mean, seriously: as president, would she be spending all of that time and energy pushing back against every single small-potatoes piece?  This is what makes some of us think: Senator Palin, great; President Palin, not so much.

And the knee-jerk paranoid defensiveness of her fans doesn’t do them any credit, either.  They don’t seem like supporters.  They seem like disciples.   They need to chill.

  1. Michael Tee

    I am not surprised that on free political message boards the commenters can seem unhinged.

    Isn’t that one of the reasons why Ricochet was started?

  2. dittoheadadt

    Since when do we do gotcha pieces, “we” being the conservative media? My concern isn’t necessarily Palin’s rabid fans’ (“disciples” – excellent!) reaction as much as it is the fact that someone, anyone on the Right saw fit to issue a gotcha piece. We, by and large, have the facts and the real world on our side in just about any and every argument. So what gives with Tucker and the DC doing gotcha pieces about anyone?

    Or am I mistaken in my perception, and conservative media do engage in this kind of thing?

  3. Sisyphus

    Hey! Hey! Where do you come off sayin’ I’m not Presidential??? Ask my mom, she’ll tell ya! I got Presidential oozin’ out my pores!!!

    Wait. Wait. Nope, I think that’s botox. My bad.

  4. Wylee Coyote

    If you think that’s bad, try saying something remotely critical about Ron Paul.

  5. River

    Sarah’s chances are slipping away, which is making her fans hysterical. She’s comfortable being out of the arena, I suspect.

    I’m a big fan, but don’t think she’s serious about the presidency anymore; which is for the best. She doesn’t have the gravitas and neediness that presidents must have. She’d be a fabulous Secretary of Energy or Interior, but for president we need a Reagan now. Too bad there aren’t any on the horizon. We may have to settle for Mitt Romney.

  6. Kenneth

    Great post, Rob.

    The other day, I was challenged here to name one Palin policy prescription with which I disagreed.  I declined to rise to the bait, because it was beside the point.

    Sarah Palin and I would undoubtedly agree on the aerodynamic principles of flying an airplane.  But that doesn’t mean I want her in the pilot’s seat.

  7. Kenneth

    By the way, just to stir the pot; did anyone catch Palin on Fox the other night?

    She referred to our Libyan adventure as a “squirmish”. 

  8. Kenneth

    “…leveling the playing field to foster competition…”

    Huh?  This is a conservative stance?  Competition is inherently unequal – that’s why the best ideas, the best products and the best companies rise to the top.

    The woman’s ignorance of even basic economics is breath-taking.

  9. Mel Foil

    If and when I ever meet a dog that was rescued from Michael Vick’s house, I’m probably not going to go out of my way to kick it. Likewise, attacking Palin (in almost any context) seems like piling on.

  10. Underground Conservative

    Oh boy, another Palin post.  Rev ‘er up to 100+ comments…

  11. Ursula Hennessey
    C
    Kenneth: By the way, just to stir the pot; did anyone catch Palin on Fox the other night?

    She referred to our Libyan adventure as a “squirmish”.  · Mar 30 at 1:21pm

    This is totally the kind of thing I say. I know better, but it’s just that I’m often too tired/distracted to be thinking 100% straight 100% of the time. I’m giving Palin the benefit of the doubt on this one. Maybe this is why Rob doesn’t want me to be president. *Pouty face*

    But seriously, folks. Rob is 100% correct. As usual, he can sum it up in a couple of perfect sentences:

    And the knee-jerk paranoid defensiveness of her fans doesn’t do them any credit, either.  They don’t seem like supporters.  They seem like disciples.   They need to chill.

  12. Kenneth
    Ursula Hennessey

    Kenneth: By the way, just to stir the pot; did anyone catch Palin on Fox the other night?

    She referred to our Libyan adventure as a “squirmish”.  · Mar 30 at 1:21pm

    This is totally the kind of thing I say. I know better, but it’s just that I’m often too tired/distracted to be thinking 100% straight 100% of the time. I’m giving Palin the benefit of the doubt on this one. Maybe this is why Rob doesn’t want me to be president. *Pouty face*

    But seriously, folks. Rob is 100% correct. As usual, he can sum it up in a couple of perfect sentences:

    Mar 30 at 1:41pm

    Yeah, Ursula, but you aren’t being paid the big bucks to be on Fox; nor are you publicly positioning yourself as some great communicator.

    In any event, I’d trust you in the White House.  Heck, I’d even trust Rob’s dad, based upon the axiom that the apple never falls far from the tree. 

  13. Jerry Broaddus
    Rob Long

    And the knee-jerk paranoid defensiveness of her fans doesn’t do them any credit, either.  They don’t seem like supporters.  They seem like disciples.   They need to chill. ·

    Just who’s knee is jerking here? Are you suggesting that Palin, armed with some kind of psychic foreknowledge that she’d be selected as McCain’s running mate, get beaten, trashed in the media (both left and middle right) only to emerge as a folk hero, slyly signed into law a tax subsidy that would benefit her personally?

    You’re starting to sound like Kenneth.

    Might there be a good reason for a state wanting tourism dollars to make filming in the state attractive? I mean other than just to pay the governor off?

    In the case of Palin’s show, would such a deal have paid off? I understand that she broke all records for the Discovery Channel. Ratings and chatter, cheap at twice the price.

    I dearly love Jim Geraghty, and I’ll read all he has to say any time. But honestly, he’s slightly more over the top on Palin than Kenneth.

  14. Kenneth
    Jerry Broaddus

    Just who’s knee is jerking here? Are you suggesting that Palin, armed with some kind of psychic foreknowledge that she’d be selected as McCain’s running mate, get beaten, trashed in the media (both left and middle right) only to emerge as a folk hero, slyly signed into law a tax subsidy that would benefit her personally?

    You’re starting to sound like Kenneth.

    Might there be a good reason for a state wanting tourism dollars to make filming in the state attractive? I mean other than just to pay the governor off?

    In the case of Palin’s show, would such a deal have paid off? I understand that she broke all records for the Discovery Channel. Ratings and chatter, cheap at twice the price.

    I dearly love Jim Geraghty, and I’ll read all he has to say any time. But honestly, he’s slightly more over the top on Palin than Kenneth. · Mar 30 at 2:00pm

    Edited on Mar 30 at 02:07 pm

    Wow.  I have my very own stalker.  Does that mean I’m a celebrity?

  15. Louie Mungaray (Squishy Blue RINO)
    Kenneth: By the way, just to stir the pot; did anyone catch Palin on Fox the other night?

    She referred to our Libyan adventure as a “squirmish”.  · Mar 30 at 1:21pm

    I refudiate your pot-stirring: squirmish is perfectly cromulent word. Sarah Palin embiggens us all.

  16. David Williamson

    Um, and Obama would make a good President for 4 more years?

    As the Instapundit once commented, a syphilitic goat would be preferable to our current part-time resident of the White House. 

    I think Sarah Palin would make a fine President – does that make me a Fan?

    Excuse me while I go and chill-out…

  17. Ursula Hennessey
    C
    Kenneth

    Ursula Hennessey

    Kenneth: 

    Yeah, Ursula, but you aren’t being paid the big bucks to be on Fox; nor are you publicly positioning yourself as some great communicator.

    In any event, I’d trust you in the White House.  Heck, I’d even trust Rob’s dad, based upon the axiom that the apple never falls far from the tree.

    You are too kind, Kenneth. Especially since your other observation could (and probably has been) be said about me:

    The woman’s ignorance of even basic economics is breath-taking.

    And, you could probably also replace “economics” with “history” “geography” “physics” etc.

    Listen, I think Palin’s a heck of a lot smarter than I am. I also don’t think smarts = perfect politician. She’s got some breathtaking strengths and some breathtaking drawbacks. I think that’s the way I’d size her up.

  18. shelby_forthright

    Bill Maher says some despicable things about Palin so now just HAS to be a great time for someone on the right to take a shot at her. This time it’s The Daily Caller.

    I don’t know if she’s make a good president. I do know her critics are a tiresome lot.

  19. Jerry Broaddus
    Kenneth

    Wow.  I have my very own stalker.  Does that mean I’m a celebrity? · Mar 30 at 2:12pm

    Actually, I’m stalking Geraghty. But I can give you some time next Tuesday.

    Just to make you feel better about it, a stalker that’s half a continent away is the kind to have.

  20. Jerry Broaddus
    Ursula Hennessey

    ..

    Listen, I think Palin’s a heck of a lot smarter than I am. I also don’t think smarts = perfect politician. She’s got some breathtaking strengths and some breathtaking drawbacks. I think that’s the way I’d size her up. · Mar 30 at 2:23pm

    Wiser word have seldom been written.

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