What I like best, so far, about Sarah Palin, is that she is a woman of action. She ran for City Council. She ran for mayor. She used her power to clean up corruption and enact small government legislation. She ran for Lt. Governor — and lost. Losing and coming back is good. She ran for governor and won. At each stage she has just continued fighting for truth and justice – ethics and tax cuts- against corruption and inside GOP political machinations. She didn’t hoard her political capital, because it would hinder her climb to do so. That’s brave.
Somewhere — maybe an old Fred Barnes piece — I read someone’s assessment that she is very smart, but she has “no guile.” Wow. Joe Biden is moderately smart and he has lots of guile. Barack Obama is very smart, and has even more guile. She’ll learn how to play political hardball. They all do. But for now she seems a lot like Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. (And Joe Biden is more than a little like Claude Rains…) Only someone who is that straight (“clean” as Biden might say) can afford to take on the powers that be.
The flip side of being a woman of action, is that she is not a solipsistic intellectual, convinced that her intelligence (“judgment”) requires no experience to temper or teach it. I know two leading Democrats who think that about themselves. In fact both seem to think that only racism or sexism could keep a brain like theirs from assuming its rightful place in control of the rest of us.
I have been a little shocked at how much credit Palin is getting for not aborting her last child. It’s wonderful that she didn’t, of course. And the fact is that 90% of women carrying Down syndrome children do abort. Perhaps if you have 5 children, instead of one or two, you don’t need to worry about each one being a well-designed work of art; an investment that must pay off the money and labor poured into it; a reflection of you; or a perfect conduit for transmitting your values into the future. Maybe you can just love them as they are, and let them be who they are. She deserves praise. But it is disturbing how rare her choice was.