The Corner

She Was So-So

I love her style, doggone it, and I sure was cheering her on–but I must say, with respect to all of the positive reviews, I think Sarah Palin really benefited from low expectations. No, she didn’t fall off the stage, as some had hoped or feared. Yet her nods to economic populism made me wince. She also missed some great opportunities. Early on, she strangely walked away from a chance to discuss health care–though she arguably recovered later with a decent summary of McCain’s plan and a good line about government-run alternatives (“…unless you’re pleased with the way the federal government has been running anything lately”). During the discussion of nuclear proliferation, she had a clear opening to bring up missile defense. Heck, there are interceptors based in Alaska! Why, oh why, won’t McCain or Palin make this an issue? At the end, she brought passion to her comments about education, but not much in the way of substance. When there was substance, it was a bit unsettling: “Our schools have got to be really ramped up in terms of the funding that they are deserving.” Huh? If conservatives believe anything about education, it’s that higher spending doesn’t equal better schools.

I’m heartened that others are giving her a big thumbs up. I’m certainly not giving her a thumbs down. It might be said that she was good enough. But I want her to do better, for her sake and ours.

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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