Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Palin not the new Clinton

Good piece on the pitfalls of dealing with Palin. I think it is accurate to say that she is a perfect embodiment of the right side of the culture war, and "anti-intellectual evangelical reactionary" is just as good a description of her as any. Still, I don't think there's quite as neat a symmetry between Palin and Bill Clinton in terms of the culture war. I don't think that Bill Clinton was really the embodiment of the left side of the culture war. I think he was the embodiment of the baby boomer generation, but I think there's a distinction to make here. Palin is hated by left-side culture warriors because of her image and what she stands for, and similarly beloved by the right-side culture warriors for the same reason. Clinton was hated by the right because of what he stood for, but he was not really embraced by the left--partially because of his policies, but also partially because he failed to live up to his initial promise as the next JFK, who I'd say still is the ideal of the modern day left culture.

Clinton largely survived because he made the correct enemies that a left-leaning politician would make, and the thought of, say, Newt Gingrich winning the shutdown crisis or the impeachment crisis was simply unpalatable to lefties. But Clinton never gave the left more than lip service, and the left accordingly never repaid him with much enthusiasm, though they did remain loyal to him. Palin's position is relatively stronger, as the GOP base is solidly behind her. Unfortunately, Palin isn't blessed with Clinton's reputation for competence and his knowledge of policy, not to mention his persuasive capacity. She can, of course, use her sportscaster training to deliver a good zinger or two, but it's not going to be enough in a country that has tired of anti-intellectual hillbillies. Just an opinion.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.