Jonah, I for one am grateful to Sarah Palin for the exuberance with which she effused over Trump yesterday. In deciding whom to support for president, we look for clues to the values and character of the various candidates. To the millions of people in America who look at Donald Trump and say, “Wow, what an impressive guy, I really look up to him and wish I could be more like him,” Palin sent a message about herself that will make them more likely to support her. And to those like you and me — who have (ahem) a rather different opinion of Trump — she is also providing some potentially helpful information.
This sort of character issue is especially important when trying to understand someone like Palin, whose appeal is based largely on personal charisma, on a projection to voters of a larger-than-life-but-also-folksy personality to whom they can connect emotionally. This indeed is why she has not only survived so many political attacks, but turned them to her immense political advantage: Whenever she receives some scorching criticism, she can turn to the camera and say, Look, you out there know who I am.
So with the Palin-Trump summit meeting, we got an indication of who she is — and, I hasten to add, it’s not only a negative indication, even for those of us who are unimpressed with Trump. Sure, on the negative side, she’s saying, I’m impressed with Donald Trump. Not a good sign in a potential president. But, on the positive side, she’s saying, Yeah, I’m impressed with Donald Trump — you got a problem with that, Mr. East Coast MSM Intellectual? And that, I think, shows a level of comfort with herself that we would like a president to have.
On balance, the fact that she likes Trump makes me less likely to support her. But she’s being true to herself, and helpful to the electorate, by being straightforward about who she is and where she’s coming from. And in politics, that’s no small thing.