Friday, July 10, 2009

National Review coverage

It's not my intention to bash Republicans in pointing out my disappointment in National Review and NRO. But I do feel compelled to defend Palin against needless attacks which, in my opinion, NRO has been indulging in since Palin announced her resignation. I simply want to change my perspective of what NRO represents and accept it for what it is.

I found a post by Anthony Dick posted July 8 that I wanted to highlight here. I feel like it underscores why I'm disappointed and why I no longer consider NRO a daily must-read.

But it wasn’t just the choices she [Palin] made; it was the way she presented herself in conformance with the stereotype of the red-state simpleton.

WFB [William F. Buckley] once remarked to me, in reference to the second-term plunge in popularity of the George W. Bush administration, that it is not enough for conservatives simply to be intelligent or sophisticated. They have to project these qualities, conspicuously and convincingly, in order to get past the visceral prejudices of elite opinion-makers...
Two questions of "why." Why would someone change who they are in order to appease people who hold visceral prejudices? Prejudices are bad, and they prevent people from seeing the real person, the real issues and it's not fair to judge others based on prejudices. Those are the people who need to change, not the ones who are simply being themselves. The second "why" is - why are the elite making opinions for the general public, why does their opinion matter? If they are elite it means they don't represent the realities of everyday Americans. They have special, unique life situations that don't trickle down. So they are not equipped to "make opinions." Elites don't make my opinion, thankyouverymuch.

...elite opinion-makers who generally regard conservative ideas as some combination of boobish, evil, backward, boring, dangerous, and simplistic.
Whoa, back up there, Anthony. In addition to calling Palin those things, it sounds to me like he's saying that the elite opinion makers consider conservative ideas (his words) that way, including the right-leaning elite opinion makers. That's not good for the conservative movement. He puts down conservativism and props up what? What is his alternative? He doesn't say.

Overcoming these prejudices is, if not a prerequisite, at least a very helpful vehicle for receiving a fair hearing on the merits. Bill Buckley was, of course, a master at this project.
So he's saying that if someone presents themselves in a non-simpleton (his words) way, then they will receive a "fair hearing on the merits," fait accompli. Not only is that false but again, what does it say about these elite opinion makers that they cannot focus on the issues and are obsessed with appearances and language? Truly intelligent people are able to look past anything that might be a distraction and cut to the real issues, not at NRO. They are concerned with appearances.

The other thing that struck me was that he said it is a prerequisite to present yourself in a non-simpleton way. A prerequisite to what? Winning a presidential election or just receiving a fair hearing on the merits? I don't recall William F. Buckley winning a presidential election. And the candidate we nominated last year had all those qualities and he failed to receive the winning votes. Republicans never receive fair treatment by MSM or democrats so I wonder again why this is a prerequisite.

Sarah Palin seems either completely oblivious to it, or else too indignant to play that game. This may be a principled decision, but it is not without consequences.
Here is his baseless attack. Palin absolutely does not present herself as a "simpleton." She is a professional, classy, an intelligent speaker, has built vastly successful relationships with foreign countries in her role as governor, connects with voters in a powerfully persuasive way, able to juggle special interests along with what the general public wants. Her priorities are right; she has a very good handle on all the important issues. And putting all that aside, she's a mom of five who hasn't had the help of nannies and maids like most politicians. It's draining to constantly prove Palin's legitimacy to these "elite opinion makers" who outright refuse to look beyond their prejudices. If they have prejudices, it's not my problem or Palin's problem. They need to take a look at themselves first before "making an opinion" for the masses.

The bottom line is that we cannot rely on the Republican elite at NRO as any sort of source of support for Palin and I would also include the conservative movement in general. I see National Review as what it is - an elite subculture, a smaller group within a larger group. The larger group is us, the everyday Americans who are fed up with the way our government is going. The smaller group are people who more or less agree with some of the ideals of the larger group, but not reflective of the group as a whole due to their prejudices. They are a minority. If Palin has some good advisors she won't be listening to NRO's "advice."


Josh Painter said...

Adrienne, NR's editors and contributors are mostly Romney supporters, although a few of them will occasionally stick up for Gov. Palin.

_ JP

Brad Schwartze said...

Have pity on them, Adrienne. These NRO folks are people who, in keeping with their founder's admonition to "stand athwart history yelling STOP," have to uphold ideas at the price of killing people's emotions. The rest of us (and that includes most in the GOP, despite what is being said) are getting a crash course in getting super-excited for a telegenic, dynamic woman like Sarah.

Adrienne said...

Thanks for the comments. I completely agree with you both. :)