Longtime readers of Jonah’s Los Angeles Times column (and there’s gotta be somebody besides me, right? I mean, not everyone funnels their masochism into traditional pastimes like self-mutilation and bondage…) will concede that he’s showing faint, but definite signs of growth as a columnist. In the past, Jonah would usually open with a bold, asinine, and indefensible thesis, which he would then disown about halfway through, just in case events, logic, or Wikipedia proved him wrong; then he’d drop a lame joke and try to lunge offstage before the inevitable influx of overripe produce. But it seems he’s learning from the example of fellow media maw Bill Kristol, who’s proven that an unbroken record of being wrong isn’t a professional handicap for a pundit, it’s an endearing character trait, even a trademark, like the second banana’s obligatory catchphrase on a sitcom. If Kristol ever made a statement which wasn’t instantly contradicted by facts, his audience would almost certainly find it more disturbing than refreshing, like going through an entire episode of Happy Days without Fonzie even once flashing his thumb and drawling, “Aaaaayyyyyyyyy.” And while Jonah still hedges in his latest column, he does so briefly and grudgingly, as if afraid that to admit that there may be a few dust motes floating in the sunbeam that is Sarah Palin.
While Republican National Convention planners obsessed about the course of Hurricane Gustav, the only subject delegates and conservatives in general could discuss during the weekend’s pre-convention activities (i.e. drinking) was the potential beam of sunshine, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.This is my sixth RNC, and I’ve never seen anything remotely like the excitement Palin has unleashed. Some compare it to the enthusiasm for Ronald Reagan in 1976 or 1980. Even among the GOP’s cynics, there’s a kind of giddiness over John McCain’s tactical daring in selecting the little-known Alaskan.
Tactical? I’d call it strategic daring for a candidate to decide on a longtime friend and fellow senator for vice president, then to reverse himself at the first sign of opposition and accept a total strangerpicked for you by political rivals who hate your guts. John McCain knows how to win wars, people.
Readers of National Review Online — a reliable bellwether of conservative sentiment
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– flooded the site with e-mails throughout the long weekend. The messages ran roughly 20-1 in almost orgiastic excitement about the pick. On Friday, one reader expressed Christmas-morning delight over the gift of Palin, proclaiming that McCain had just “given us our Red Ryder BB gun.”
And I can’t wait until the first NRO reader, in the orgiastic afterglow of Christmas morning, tries to kill a moose with it.
The naysayers argue Palin undermines McCain’s core message since he locked up the nomination: “experience” and the necessary foreign policy expertise for a dangerous world. They contend choosing her was a gimmick that runs counter to McCain’s mantra about country before politics, particularly given his age and health record.
Hm. All good points. But I’m sure Jonah has a well considered rebuttal to deliver..
If Palin fumbles badly in the next few weeks, the critics will likely be proved right.
Take that, naysayers!
But what if she doesn’t fumble? What if McCain’s gut was right?
What if there’s a place — a wonderful place — Somewhere Over the Rainbow? No, not the gay rainbow…! It’s more like that kind of rainbow you see in the water when there’s fuel oil floating on the surface…
Then picking Palin just might go down as one of the most brilliant political plays in American history.
It might! It just might! And then television signals from the convention might travel into space, and be intercepted by aliens who’ve been warily observing the Earth, expecting us at any moment to destroy themselves. But then they’d realize that we’ve reached the absolute theoretical limits of political brilliance, and they might land on the Mall in Washington and invite us to join the Interstellar Federation, which would be like a Galactic United Nations, except without all the poor people, and they’d give us access to faster than light travel and advanced technology that would allow us to beam Simpson’s reruns directly to our optic nerves!
Posted by scott on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008 at 5:25 pm.