Two new biographies of Palin—along with the self-proclaimed hockey mom’s own memoir, Going Rogue, which set a record for advance orders—are helping to make sure that she won’t fade away any time soon. Together, this trio of books offers more information and context about Palin than all but her most ardent detractors and fans could possibly stand. Yet the volumes, alone or together, still don’t give a clear picture of either the woman herself or what it is about her that drives her fans and critics alike to the edge of insanity.
More important, the books strongly, if unintentionally, suggest that Palin does not have what it takes to redefine a Republican Party whose future looks about as bright as that of General Motors. Despite her impressive fan base and her ability to turn out huge crowds, Palin’s own program for “The Way Forward” (as she names a chapter in Going Rogue) makes plain that she is last year’s political model, a vehicle for a backward-looking GOP bent on blending generic social conservatism, small-government encomiums, big government spending, unconvincing outsider outrage, and status quo foreign adventurism. With a Saint Reagan statue firmly glued to the dashboard, of course.
Whatever mojo such rhetorical posturing once had, Americans have heard it all before, most recently during the administration of George W. Bush, who with the able assistance of a Republican majority managed to double overall federal spending in real dollars over the course of eight years. If the Republicans are to regroup and advance in another direction, they will need something other than warmed-over Karl Rove speeches.
HT Arnold Kling