Sarah Palin’s Gravitas Deficit

Let me start this post by saying that he media’s treatment of Sarah Palin has been despicable, disgusting, arrogant, undeserved, and insanely biased.  It was particularly bad during the 2010 election cycle given the lionization that Obama received, and the fact that he had, if anything, significantly less experience and accomplishment than Palin when they dismissed her as an unqualified joke while elevating Obama to “greatest since Lincoln” status.

I also admire Palin’s poise, sense of humor, and instincts.  She is a happy warrior, which is a quality I greatly admire, and I generally agree with her on substantive issues (setting aside social issues).

All that said, I really, really hope she does not run for President.  As a practical matter, I don’t think she could win the general election.  The media would do anything they could to destroy her, and would likely succeed just enough to ensure she does not get elected. 

But more importantly, for almost two years we have enjoyed the spectacle of Obama and his very un-Presidential manner.  He lectures the public as if we were children; he engages in personal attacks against critics; he dismisses the opposition as enemies, bomb-throwers, and akin to terrorists; he is obsessed with being on Oprah, late night TV, ESPN, and even Mythbusters.  He diminishes the presidency, not just himself. on a regular basis.

I want the President to display a certain gravity, seriousness, and elevation above the fray.  Not cool and aloof, yet thin-skinned, petty, and personal like Obama.  But self-confident, secure, and impervious to petty attacks. 

In a very different way from Obama, Sarah Palin’s public persona also lacks the presidentialness that I want in a President.  Her new television show reveals her to be an interesting and fairly authentic child of the West.  I like that.  But the fact that she has a reality TV show revealing a big slice (admittedly somewhat staged) of her life diminishes her stature in presidential terms.  I don’t need the President to wear a suit 24/7, but I would rather not see the President wearing a hoodie (Palin’s version of Obama’s mom jeans).

Similarly, Palin’s use of social media is effective on a certain level but un-Presidential.  For example, Jennifer Rubin notes Palin’s twitter post regarding the tax deal between Obama and Republican leaders in Congress:

“Obviously Obama is so very, very wrong on the economy & spins GOP tax cut goals;so fiscal conservatives: we expect you to fight for us &……America’s solvency”

What is she talking about? . . . If she has a specific policy argument — e.g. the payroll tax “costs” too much for too little job growth — then you’d think she, who has been accused of being light on policy knowledge, would want to spell . . er . . . tweet that out.

For some time, liberal pundits have been taunting conservatives that they need “adult” or “mature” leadership. Right now, Obama is short on both qualities. His shoddy performance yesterday highlights the opportunity for Republicans to field a candidate in 2012 who appears more presidential than the incumbent. But Palin certainly doesn’t give the impression she would be able to step into that role.

Exactly.  Instead of running for President, Palin should stick to her strengths — raising money, generating turnout, and cheerfully skewering the opposition that continues to misunderestimate her.

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Published in: on December 8, 2010 at 9:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

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