Today on ABC’s "This Week", George Will, as is common for him, chose to provide unsubstantiated and disparaging remarks on Governor Palin’s potential presidential run. When asked if she is going to run for President, Will first replied:
Two things are infinite. One is the expanding universe, and the other is media attention to Sarah Palin, who’s a genius at manipulating it. She has several political problems, the first of which is there’s no undecided vote in this country anymore about Sarah Palin, surely.
Governor Palin manipulates the media attention? Really? To be sure, the media is fixated on every move Governor Palin makes, but to assert that Governor Palin manipulates media coverage is a false. Unlike with other potential candidates, the media has become fixed on the minutiae of Governor Palin’s life and their own created "nontroversies", not the substance of her policies stances or her record. When Governor Palin made a humanitarian trip to Haiti, the media made the trip about the fact that she had a "hair stylist" (aka Bristol Palin)when she was there.
When Governor Palin chose to attend today’s Rolling Thunder rally in Washington D.C. at the request of a retired Rolling Thunder board member, the media asserted that she had not been invited. When she laid out a serious 5 point "Palin Doctrine" about the proper use of military force, the media focused on her reference to President Obama as "our president", rather than calling using his last name in her reference. Governor Palin does not manipulate the media; the media misrepresents her.
Will also asserts that Governor Palin has "several political problems", but he only chooses to list one–a rather weak one at that. Will asserts that too many people have already made their mind up about Governor Palin, and there is no changing it. Well, that settles that! Governor Palin and all other candidates and potential candidates can fly home.There’s no need to waste time over the next year to visit states, meet voters, and give speeches! George Will has spoken. No debates are needed for candidates juxtapose their positions and records against one another. People will not change their mind about Tina Fey Governor Palin. That’s just it. That is what campaigns are for to help the undecideds make up their minds and to hopefully change the minds of those in disagreement.
With Governor Palin, so many people have made their decision based upon a media caricature of her. So few know that she cut spending in Alaska by more than 9% and that Alaska has a $12 billiion surplus now due in large part to her policies, but people think that she can see Russia from her house. Correcting the misconceptions, setting the record straight, and controlling the message on one’s own terms is what a political campaign is all about. In Iowa next month and throughout the country in the coming months, a film depicting the truth about Governor Palin’s record and resignation will premiere, providing her with a opportunity to address the caricature, lies, and misrepresentations.
Should she chose to make an official campaign, she will control her own message, something she could not do as part of the McCain campaign, and will be able to juxtapose her record and stances against that of the other candidates. Will conveniently leaves out the fact that Governor Palin is within the margin of error as the front runner for the GOP nomination for President, and more than one in five GOP voters do not have an opinion yet on who should be the nominee for President. That kind of blows a hole in Will’s assertion, does it not?
Will’s most egregious claim comes in his next statement:
Second, the threshold question. It’s not usually asked, but it’s in everyone’s mind in a presidential election. Should we give this person nuclear weapons? And the answer is — answers itself there. That doesn’t mean she can’t be without political consequence.
George Will’s hollow argument becomes that Governor Palin–that capricious, empty headed woman– is simply incapable of handling military power responsibly. By his assertion, that question is so obvious that it answers itself. As usual, there is nothing to back it up. Why does Will think Governor Palin is incapable? Because her highest office was at the state level as governor? Surely not, as that would render Governors Romney, Pawlenty, Johnson, and Roemer incapable too. It must be noted that in addition to serving as the commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard, Governor Palin also served as the official commander of the Alaska State Defense Force (also known as the 49th Readiness Brigade).
This is a group of volunteers, often retired military personnel, who supplement the National Guard’s work, which sometimes involves assisting in homeland security and FBI activities. Only 24 states have such defense forces, and Minnesota, New Mexico and Mississippi are among those who do not, meaning someone like Governor Pawlenty has less "experience" than Governor Palin. It also means that someone like Bill Clinton also had less "experience" along those lines than Governor Palin had.
Will’s assertion likely lies in something more along the lines of Governor Palin’s genetic makeup, rather than her political experience. That’s right. People who have a pair of X chromosomes, instead of a X and a Y chromosome can simply not be trusted with such information, in his mind. That extra X chromosome, or estrogen, must give female politicians some uncontrollable urge to press the proverbial red button without consultation or hesitation, according to professor of political genetics and endocrinology, George Will. This has been a common assertion American politics.
When Geraldine Ferraro ran for Vice President in 1984, it was asserted that there might be a time when she may have to push the proverbial button to fire missiles, but she might not be able to if she’s just done her nails. Of course, in 2008 as well, sexism was used as a political weapon against both then candidate Hillary Clinton and Governor Palin especially when it came to foreign policy. George Will gives no reasoning as to why he feels that Governor Palin is not to be trusted with the responsibility of the America’s nuclear arsenal. There is no reason whatsoever to think that Governor Palin would make a flippant decision about America’s nuclear arms–whether in deploying them, converting them, or destroying them.
Meanwhile, we have a president who signed a treaty with Russia that allows them to move nuclear weapons closer to America’s NATO allies and does not allow America to convert nuclear systems to conventional systems and who seems to not be serious about addressing Iran’s nuclear program. Those are both issues of great concern that Governor Palin has addressed. Governor Palin would not handle America’s nuclear weaponry with carelessness, but she would address the potential of enemies’ nuclear arsenal with seriousness, unlike President Obama.
George Will was, however, magnanimous enough to say that Governor Palin still is of political consequence. How generous! Perhaps she can become a Republican cheerleader when it comes to nuclear and national defense. It would give whole new meaning to the "D-E-F-E-N-S-E" cheer often shouted at sporting events, would it not? However, as Nicole and myself have written, Governor Palin is a point guard, and you do not ask a point guard to become a cheerleader. Governor Palin has often noted that such criticisms and underestimations only give fuel to the fire in her belly. Governor Palin will choose her political path; it will not be chosen for her by the ostrich-like pundocracy. Needless to say, it is the "We the People’s" Will not George Will that will ultimately determine the results of the upcoming primary and general elections.
H/T to multiple C4P contributors
Update: Josh Painter has a good post up on George Will, "the Republagogue", here.