September 02, 2008

That Bill Kristol, neocon bellwether and house intellectual of the McCain-led GOP, would have nice things to say about Sarah Palin, would even have floated her selection as VP two months ago (!), should furrow the collective brow of all of us in the alternative Right who can barely contain our excitement over the Alaskan governor.

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[Hat tip to Aaron Biterman for video]

In 2004, Kristol said that he”€™d vote for John Kerry over Pat Buchanan, and that the Weekyl Standard “€œhas as much or more in common with the liberal hawks than with traditional conservatives.’’ But then Palin’s support for Pitchfork Pat in “€™96 and “€™00 doesn”€™t seem to have damaged her much in Kristol’s estimation.

Your typical paleo curmudgeon might speculate that one of two things is at play:

1) Kristol knows something we don”€™t and that behind that “€œhockey mom”€ persona, there’s an inner Joe Lieberman just waiting to get out. Highly unlikely

2) Or else Kristol simply views Palin as someone uninterested in foreign affairs who wouldn”€™t much challenge McCain & Friends on these issues. (And Kristol would be willing to have a weakened VP office in the post-Cheney years.) Much more plausible.

This aside, it’s still important to note that Kristol praises Palin in much the same way as do her paleo admirers, if a bit more tepidly:

Palin will be a compelling and mold-breaking example for lots of Americans who are told every day that to be even a bit conservative or Christian or old-fashioned is bad form. In this respect, Palin can become an inspirational figure and powerful symbol.


Without question, Kristol probably views the Palin ascension as a way of rallying the base, and nipping off a few Hillary voters along the way. But then it’s significant that Kristol doesn’t even pretend that Palin was selected to emphasize the GOP’s “€œwar on terror”€ identity or any continuity with its foreign and domestic policies over the past eight years.

Sure, any of us in the alternative Right who vote Republican this year might end up looking like suckers: We would support a ticket because its figure-head VP looks and talks traditionalist—and be rewarded with Randy Scheuneman and Joe Lieberman cabinet appointments.

But then wouldn’t we be remiss if we didn’t seize the opportunity the Palin selection affords us and begin pushing for more moose-burger eating Alaskans, and others of this ilk, as Republican Party leaders? The neocons used Reagan as a trojan horse to gain entrance to the GOP, and that worked out pretty well for them. As opposed to drearily talking about how powerless we are, or how Palin wouldn’t be legit unless she quotes Wendell Berry in her convention speech, maybe we should try to learn something from our enemies. 


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