This is some of the saddest political news I’ve delivered in a while: the Washington Post is now reporting that conservatives are apparently “over” Sarah Palin.
Following her frenetic, incoherent, and . . . shall we call it unorthodox . . . speech last week in Des Moines, a number of influential conservative voices have finally decided that she’s dead weight they don’t want on their team anymore.
Liberals haven’t been so critical of her as we have been laughing at her — or, that’s true of me, anyway, watching her is like watching Jackass: Politics — but the critiques from her own team have been among the sharpest barbs thrown her way. The bizarre 34 1/2-minute long speech was a long haul of “cliches, non sequiturs and warmed-over grievances,” with the Post citing one line in particular: “GOP leaders, by the way, you know, ‘The Man,’ can only ride ya when your back is bent. So strengthen it. Then The Man can’t ride ya.”
The Post quoted some of the responses from the conservative Noise-o-Sphere:
“Quite petty,” wrote Byron York in the Washington Examiner. “A long and incoherent speech,” in the view of Craig Robinson of the Iowa Republican blog. “The foreordained culmination of a slow and unseemly descent into farce,” added Charles C.W. Cooke of the National Review.
Cooke’s assessment was a far cry from what National Review editor Rich Lowry had to say about Palin’s performance in the vice presidential debate, shortly after her dazzling national debut on the stage of the Republican National Convention in 2008: “It was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America.”
Weekly Standard editor William Kristol was an early booster of Palin, all the way back to 2007, when she was a new governor little known outside of Alaska. Less than a year ago, he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Palin “might be kind of formidable in a Republican primary.”
“Did I say it that recently?” Kristol said Wednesday when reminded of that comment in an interview. “The name Sarah Palin hasn’t come up in the past three to six months. . . . Maybe the speech Saturday was just a confirmation of her no longer being a major player, at least in these circles.”
Others expressed regret for their original support of Palin; Matt Lewis of the Daily Beast wrote that ““In hindsight I regret contributing to the premature deification of Sarah Palin,” and added “maybe her early critics saw some fundamental character flaw — some harbinger of things to come — that escaped me.”
Post op-ed columnist Kathleen Parker is another conservative who weighed in on Palin’s fall from grace, noting that the Republicans only had themselves to blame for it:
In the end, the story of Palin’s rise and fall is a tragedy. And the author wasn’t the media as accused but the Grand Old Party itself. Like worshipers of false gods throughout human history, Republicans handpicked the fair maiden Sarah and placed her on the altar of political expedience.
Sean Hannity questioned Sarah Palin when she appeared on his program Tuesday, asking whether or not the “teleprompter” went down, or if she had “trouble with the copy” or “was there any moment in the speech where you had any difficulty because people had been so critical?” Palin herself brushed it off, noting that she’s “used to teleprompters not working” and blamed the criticism on the media’s “herd mentality.”
Writing in the national review, Cooke hammered Palin:
Having been mercilessly and unjustly pilloried by the media throughout the 2008 campaign, Sarah Palin had a clear choice in its aftermath: She could sober up and prove the buggers wrong, or she could collapse into ignominious pasquinade. Sadly, she chose the latter. The rest of us should choose to move on
There’s a reason why they’re so eager to shoo Palin off the stage, and why I’ve enjoyed her existence so much. Palin is an unfiltered look into the mind of the right-wing, in all it’s incoherent, schizophasic, and bizarre glory. While educated writers can attempt to pretty it up with twenty dollar words like “ignominious pasquinade” — there’s no way she could’ve avoided her fate as a “pasquil”, and this most recent train-wreck proves it — there’s a reason Palin appealed to the right, and continues to appeal to the right: she’s an obdurate, uneducated dolt, just like the majority of their base.