Well, maybe I can.... Mick Jagger not withstanding.
I've resisted writing about Sarah Palin up to this point because I was a little afraid of gushing.
You see, despite the fact that I have repeatedly said I would have a hard time voting for the man, John McCain's choice of the Alaska governor as his running mate, changed all that in a moment.
And the Washington pundits think those of us in the conservative base are kind of silly for feeling the way we do about Sarah Palin. After all, she has no experience.
Pardon me? Even George Will, whose columns, I have placed on the start page of my browser after William F. Buckley died, criticizes McCain's selection of a relative political newcomer for the #2 spot in the administration.
Okay, let's look at "experience" as a factor. My top two favorite presidents of all time were rank amateurs in politics. One was a revolutionary war general named Washington who hadn't spent a lot of time in the Continental Congress - just managed to be there when it was important to be there. The rest of the time he was out leading men in the nasty business of killing enemy armies. I think one of the things that made him great was that he was NOT a serious politician. John Adams, who was a politician, mostly succeeded in making a mess of things as president. Jefferson, who contributed much to our constitution nearly got us in real trouble with his stripping of the army and navy down to bare bones. James Buchanan was the most "experienced" politician ever to serve as president as Will points out in his column and yet he was the most paralyzed president ever. He's the one who handed Abraham Lincoln a Civil War as a Whitehouse-warming present.
Which brings us to Lincoln...
Arguably one of the most important figures of the 19th century, this upstart politician had a term in the House and some time in the Illinois statehouse under his belt before his inauguration. His primary qualification? More people thought they could trust him than any other candidate.
Turns out they were right. Harry Truman was a hat salesman ten years before becoming president. Eisenhower was a general, but no politician. Ronald Reagan went from acting to the governorship of California and then straight on to the Whitehouse. He was never a senator or ambassador or Congressman.
A lot of our best presidents have been relative amateurs at politics. So why do so many Washington insiders think you need to be an insider to be an effective leader. When Reagan was president, the hatred for him in Washington was palpable. At the same time, the love for him in the heartland was deep and abiding.
Sarah Palin appeals to all us small town folks because we are sick of how the Washington insiders have turned our government into something sleezy and elitist and snobby. We're looking for someone with character and political pundits kind of forget that after they get on the talk show circuit awhile.
I was disappointed with Peggy Noonan, author of "When Character Was King", who criticised Palin's inexperience with a haughty nose in the air tone when she thought the microphone was off. Peggy admitted in her book that she didn't understand Reagan at first till she had worked for him a while. Sounds like she's been back in the news media too long and has backslidden from her faith in character as a primary leadership strength.
I will tell you this. I'm not worried about Sarah. She's shown that she has the guts to wade in and take over with a take-no-prisoners, style that warms the cockles of this crusty old conservative's heart.
God bless her. One of the pundits worried that she'd be only "a heartbeat away from the presidency".
I'm thinking that's not such a bad thing at all! She should appoint Fred Thompson her vice president when it happens!
That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoe-making and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse. -Mark Twain