William Dixon: What Exactly is Wrong with Sarah Palin as a Candidate?

The following piece by William Dixon appears in today’s Gainesville Sun:

Rush Limbaugh is fond of saying the left will always tell you whom they fear by making that person the focus of their most virulent attacks. The left despises Sarah Palin. They say she is stupid and incapable of ever assuming the role of president. They mock her education, (B.S. University of Idaho), her small town background and her political accomplishments ( 2006 – 2009 Governor of Alaska ). When she resigned the governorship, they said she was a quitter. Just recently, the left indicted her as being responsible for the shooting of Congresswoman [Giffords] in Arizona.

But what of pundits on the right, the Peggy Noonan-Karl Rove types? They hold Palin in equally low esteem. And what of conservative women? Many just viscerally dislike her. Ask them about Palin. You’ll get a response which begins with a shaking of the head and some comment about being inexperienced. Press them for facts. You will find most of these women ignorant of Palin’s background and remarkable accomplishments.


All but three of our presidents in the last hundred years graduated from elite universities, often with law degrees. Truman did not attend college. Ike graduated from West Point, and Reagan graduated from Eureka College in Illinois. Those three are considered among the best of presidents by most. Reagan and Truman were thought stupid by some. Is it that Palin did not graduate from an elite university that causes some conservative pundits to reject her as unintelligent?


It seems unlikely that her performance as mayor of Wasilla, cutting taxes while expanding the town’s facilities so that it could grow, would be anything but a plus. Just so her role as a member of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. She outed two corrupt officials, one of whom was chairman of the state Republican Party.

Was she wrong in running for governor to oust a corrupt and wasteful officer of her own political party? Was it lack of wisdom which led her to sell the state plane, cut expenses of her office by 75 percent and pass a bipartisan ethics bill? Was she impolite in chasing away the oil company lobbyists so that she could start work on a stalled pipeline for natural gas? Not likely.

President Obama was elected because he appeared to be extraordinary. His academic pedigree and soaring rhetoric shielded from voters his appalling lack of real-world experience and complete lack of substantial accomplishments.

Read Dixon’s entire editorial here.  Although I can’t say I agree with every one of Dixon’s conclusions, it’s a good read.

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