It's not betrayal if we do it!

There are two things I love about Sarah Palin. One is that she's the overall best chance that small government libertarians and constitutionalists have of getting someone of a libertarianish bent into the nation's highest office, and the second is that I love the way she drives the left wild, and causes them to seriously miscalculate.

That the left will target her at every opportunity is something I have come to expect -- the attempt to blame her for the deranged acts of Jared Loughner being a perfect example. 

This is not to say that criticism of or opposition to Palin has been limited to the left. Far from it. While I am not a kneejerk Palin supporter, I have tried to address Republican criticism of her before. I well remember the idea that those on the right who criticised Palin were guilty of "betrayal," and I spent some time in this post attempting to address the concerns John Hawkins expressed in a PJM piece titled "Why Sarah Palin Fans Feel Betrayed -- It's bad enough when she is mercilessly bashed from the left. But it really stings when Republicans lay into her."

Even though I like Palin I didn't feel personally stung or betrayed, so I had some trouble understanding why some people on the right felt more stung than I would as a libertarian. 

Right now I find myself wondering whether all of the conservatives who complained about feeling stung by conservative criticism of Palin then are feeling stung by it now. 

Professor Jacobson has a couple of posts discussing a prominent conservative call for a sea change in thinking about Palin -- the idea being to ditch her candidacy now before the presidential race has even begun. Jacobson asks, simply, why now?

Why now?

Of all the moments to let loose on Palin, why on the cusp of the media assault over the Tucson shooting, which was not only a media attack on Palin but also on the entire conservative movement?

Remember, while Palin was the focus of media attention because of the phony supposed connection of her electoral map to the shooting, there was a broader media attack on "right-wing vitriol," conservative talk show hosts, and other Republican politicians such as Michele Bachmann.

Why at such a critical moment in time would one of the most widely read conservative blogs run a headline declaring the candidacy of Palin over?

I can't be certain that I know why. But I do have this blog, so I feel like speculating, OK? 

I doubt that it is a coincidence that this is happening as Newt Gingrich is positioning himself as the best choice to be the presidential nominee. In the spirit of the same clever Machiavellian opportunism that has always characterized him, he and his supporters are trying to take political advantage of the latest bout of (IMO) shamefully manufactured media outrage.

Don't think people on the left aren't noticing; Cythnia Tucker was almost clucking with glee yesterday:

On Tuesday, a remarkable thing happened among the possible contenders for the Republican presidential nomination: Newt Gingrich warned Sarah Palin to be more careful about her incendiary rhetoric.
Yep, you read that right. Newt Gingrich, the king of incendiary rhetoric, champion of rhetorical fireballs, the emperor of verbal excess, cautioned Palin about watching her words. Watch him, interviewed by ABC's George Stephanopoulos...


That's just one more sign of how worried Republican leaders are about the prospect of a Palin presidential run. Her negatives are climbing; a recent poll gives her an unfavorable rating of 53 percent, the highest disapproval she has scored since John McCain chose her as his running mate. A long line of establishment Republicans, including Barbara Bush and Karl Rove, have suggested that she should not run. Ross Douthat, conservative columnist for The New York Times, insists that the news media should stop talking about her ...

Many people on the right think that this is a great time to get her out of the way, and they are perfectly happy to use the manufactured outrage which resulted from the media attempt to pin the Loughner shooting on her for their poliotical gain. Timing is of course leverage, and I think it answers the "Why now? question.

I think it's shameful.

But for similar reasons to the ones I gave last year, I am not feeling particularly "betrayed." I'm just smelling that same old stench that has long made me have to hold my nose and vote for the bastards.

Once again, I truly hope I am never asked to pull the Gingrich lever.

posted by Eric on 01.21.11 at 11:16 AM


Newt would lose soooooo bad. BO would pick up all 57 states.

lynndh   ·  January 21, 2011 11:22 AM

Palin is no libertarian.

Don   ·  January 21, 2011 11:45 AM

I just received an invitation from a left-leaning friend to join a facebook group called "Let's Ignore Sarah Palin" (or something similar). Why didn't he do that two weeks ago? And why doesn't he just ignore her? Why does he have to join a group to ignore her? Herd mentality? Nahh, never.

And I'm still confused why liberals want to help the conservatives so much by telling us who hurts US and who helps us and letting us know who WE need to follow.


PomeroyPalouse   ·  January 21, 2011 11:52 AM

I have never, ever said she was a libertarian. However, I think it's fair to say that if Palin is measured by the yardstick of Gingrich, Huckabee, or Romney, she come out way ahead on issues of concern to most libertarians.

Eric Scheie   ·  January 21, 2011 11:56 AM

Can't say I support a Gingrich presidential run, but it would be quite an occasion to watch him verbally, rhetorically and logically slice-and-dice Obama during several presidential debates.

T   ·  January 21, 2011 11:57 AM


She sleeps with one. Which is about as good as I can hope for these days.

M. Simon   ·  January 21, 2011 1:42 PM

Eric -

You're conceding too much to Don. (Though of course you're right that you didn't claim Palin was a libertarian, nor does she claim to be.) But did you click through the links?

1. Ground Zero Mosque opposition. A classical liberal, even a libertarian, can be opposed to the GZM. In the first place, an opponent need not claim that the owner of the building isn't within his rights to build a mega-mosque there. There are other forms of opposition besides coercion.

In fact, that very article quotes Palin as saying: We all know that they have the right to do it, but should they? I assume Don didn't read back through this piece, but just googled it. If you did....well, that's sloppy at best, intellectually disreputable at worst.

Indeed, if anyone really takes their expressed intentions seriously -- of trying to promote tolerance -- than he will oppose it as foolish and counterproductive. Of course taking it seriously is foolish itself, but that's another point. Besides, if your litmus test is that strict about property rights, then everything NYC does would violate it.

2. Libertarians and classical liberals need not support abortion. It begs the question to claim that sovereignty over one's own mind and body extends to a fetus in the womb. Although I don't share Palin's view on this, it's a bad test of libertarian creds. Besides, as president she could hardly repeal Roe v Wade, could she?

3. The 2008 claim about pressuring a library to ban books has no foundation. Palin didn't ban any books from the library, there's no evidence that anyone was fired for unwillingness to do so, and she has come out against censorship many times since.

DJ   ·  January 21, 2011 1:46 PM

I edited one sentence and left a vague pronoun: by "you" in point one, I meant Don, not Eric. Don't want to accuse my host of sloppiness.

Btw, @ M Simon. Loved this quotation you made in entirely another context:

The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because philosophy is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water. -- John W. Gardner, Saturday Evening Post, December 1, 1962

Thanks for pointing me to that one. I'll remember it.

DJ   ·  January 21, 2011 1:51 PM

DJ, Palin an other opponents of the community center claim not to question the right of the property owners to build it, but that seems a pretty baroque position, particularly for Palin, who eschews nuance. A more simple and likely explanation is that they hate Muslims and want to trim their free-exercise rights by any means necessary.

I grant that a President Palin wouldn't be in a position to repeal Roe v Wade by herself. She would, however, be in a position to appoint justices who would. If she thinks the state should have the right to veto a medical procedure that an invidual and her doctor think is necessary, that DOES disqualify her as a libertarian. The opposite position is not "support" for abortion, it's support for individual reproductive rights.

Palin fired a librarian who, asked a hypothetical question about banning books at the library, rightly said she would not cooperate in banning books. I leave it to you to come up with another explanation for the firing, but the obvious one. Palin opposes only the imaginary censorship of herself.

Don   ·  January 21, 2011 2:11 PM

@Don: If you really think that the best explanation of the position of opponents of the "community center very close to Ground Zero" -- of which I am one -- is that we simply hate Muslims and want to deny them the right to practice their religion, then I have nothing more to say to you.

DJ   ·  January 21, 2011 2:28 PM


Nice bits.

1. Something may be legal and yet unwise. I don't support the GZM. I wouldn't lift a finger to stop it if they do it on their own dime. Speaking against something and using government guns to stop it are two different things.

2. I oppose abortion too. I'm against using government to stop it. Did Palin say "There ought to be a law"? Show me.

3. Asking the librarian about policy (Palin was an elected official at the time) is pressuring? Then Mr. Zero had better stop asking the JCS questions. Lest they feel pressured.

I do not think you are arguing in good faith Don.

M. Simon   ·  January 21, 2011 2:42 PM


Thanks for noticing. Honored to be of service.

M. Simon   ·  January 21, 2011 2:44 PM

She did not demand that books be banned from the Wasilla library. Some of the books on a widely circulated list were not even in print at the time. The librarian has said Palin asked a "What if?" question, but the librarian continued in her job through most of Palin's first term.

I love PDS. I will work all the harder to see that she wins the nomination and then the Presidency. Thanks for improving my motivation and morale Don.

M. Simon   ·  January 21, 2011 2:52 PM

The censorship flap was over nothing, and I posted about it before:

A commenter not arguing in good faith?

At this blog?

Heaven forefend!

Eric Scheie   ·  January 21, 2011 2:54 PM

M Simon, the "GSM" is not a mosque, is not located at the site of the World Trade Center, and the only people who have a problem with it are those who think that all Muslims should be suspect because of a few terrorists. Many of the opponents have gone beyond making anti-Muslim comments, to openly calling for government intervention against it. The fact that Palin stopped just short of that line, doesn't rescue her bigoted position.

Palin believes states should have the right to decide on abortion rights. While that's not an explicit promise to bad abortion at the federal level, it's clearly OK with her if there are some states, perhaps 50 or so, where there is no right to abortion. If someone said states should decide whether you have freedom of association, you'd characterize that as an anti-freedom-of-association position, and you'd be correct in doing so.

It's true there is a bogus list of books circulating that supposedly Palin tried to ban, which she never did. The librarian who was questioned about banning books was fired because the mayor didn't feel she had the librarian's "full support." Palin reinstated the librarian the next day after public outcry, which seems an odd response if the firing weren't fishy in the first place.

Don   ·  January 21, 2011 3:36 PM

oops, "ban" abortion, not "bad" abortion

Don   ·  January 21, 2011 3:40 PM

I will never argue for reflexive defense of Palin simply because she is criticized, however I will also never support any effort from the right to muzzle or sideline her. If any of us cooperate with the left in smearing her out of existence we will be guilty of selling the enemy the ammunition to destroy any one of us, and further we will have become complicit in the leftist modus operandi of lie, smear, slander, and destroy.

Is anyone seriously stupid enough to think that if Pain disappeared the media and the left would say "Mission accomplished! We can return to civility and polite debate now?" Palin is not the first figure on the right to have faced this kind of orchestrated slander (remember the lies about Goldwater and nukes?). "By any means necessary" ought to be the official motto of the left, and the only reason they will eschew a particular tactic is if it will not work, or if it is counterproductive. They will not back off from some sense of decency.

Let them destroy Palin, and all of us are fair game. All of us will be racist murderers. All of us might as well start choosing our gulag wardrobes. Anyone on the right advising Palin to just shut up and silently bear the slings and arrows or a corrupt and evil ideology is simply hoping that by feeding the crocodile it will eat him last.

Steve Skubinna   ·  January 21, 2011 6:05 PM


Palin and abortion. Well you know. The Federal government has no business regulating the practice of medicine. It is the job of the states. Palin is a Constitutionalist.

BTW Don you don't sound like any Libertarian or libertarian I have ever met. Are you using the HuffPo Libertarian crib sheet? If so it needs to be revised.

M. Simon   ·  January 21, 2011 6:20 PM

I have found that much of the attacks from the right are from "elitist" types.
They call her "not intellectually curious" and other attacks on her intelligence.
She didn't go to the right schools and she doesn't mouth the right pieties.

They did the same to Ronnie Raygun.

Veeshir   ·  January 21, 2011 6:27 PM

Steve, I'm not for muzzling Palin either. I think she should be part of a national debate that, hopefully, ends in her ideas being fully discredited. Silencing her would not be good for her friends, or her enemies.

That said, she's in no way being silenced. She gets to paid say whatever she wants on a major TV network, she has her own "reality" TV show with total editorial control, she gets paid six figures for one speech, she's a multimillionaire, and millions of people pay attention as she tweets whatever pops into her head. Her victim narrative is complete bullshit.

Veeshir, I think you're right that the same kind of criticism was leveled at Reagan, and then at GW Bush. All three build political support from anti-intellectualism. It's a dangerous stance to take. Me, I think government policies, and our own actions, should be based on facts. I think the people who run the government SHOULD be elite, that is, they should know more than other people. Certainly I expect that from my surgeon.

M Simon, Palin and her allies on the right say they love the Constitution, but their actions tell a different story. They like states' rights when they DON'T want the federal government to do something like protect voting rights, then they forget all about states' rights when one of the states does something they don't approve of: e.g. Oregon's assisted suicide law, California's medical marijuana law. Obviously she thinks states are going to be less friendly to abortion rights (probably correct) so she thinks states should decide it.

If there's infringement of personal liberty going on, I don't see how it could be inadmissible if done by the feds, and admissible if done by the state of Iowa.

Since you ask, I'm not a libertarian, I'm a socialist. We disagree on lots of things. But we agree on civil liberties, and that should lead us to agree that Palin is not on our side.

Don   ·  January 21, 2011 7:37 PM

It's not anti-intellectualism, it's anti "intellectual".

Today's "intellectuals" are not real intellectuals.
You have to go to the right schools and believe the right things.
Me, I think government policies, and our own actions, should be based on facts.

I agree, unfortunately today's "intellectuals" don't accept facts that go against their beliefs.

I think the people who run the government SHOULD be elite, that is, they should know more than other people.

Interesting idea, I don't think it's ever been tried.

Veeshir   ·  January 21, 2011 7:53 PM

They like states' rights when they DON'T want the federal government to do something like protect voting rights, then they forget all about states' rights when one of the states does something they don't approve of: e.g. Oregon's assisted suicide law, California's medical marijuana law

Seriously Don, do you read this blog much?

I mean, aside from the circular logic, the moving goal posts on rocket sleds, and the stratospheric levels of cherry-picking, you can't even represent our hosts' positions on various topics that he has repeatedly (and in some cases, repeatedly and RECENTLY) blogged about.

Darius   ·  January 21, 2011 8:46 PM

"But I do have this blog, so I feel like speculating, OK?"


You will post about useless crap like "Can I go into bad neighborhoods to take photographs" or possibly "here is a picture of my dog" but not about the 2012 Presidential election.

On a more serious note, I don't much like Palin for President, but compared to the rest of the field she really shines.

Newt, Romney, McCain, etc, sounds a lot like "sit your butt on the couch come next election cycle".

Huckabee sound a lot like "go to the polls and write in 'Zombie Reagan'".

guy   ·  January 21, 2011 9:02 PM

Her victim narrative is complete bullshit.

Right. And blood libel goes with the territory. I mean, who among us hasn't been accused of responsibility for mass murder by the national media, which then excoriates us for "injecting" ourselves into the debate when we respond. Hell, happens to me, three, four times a week.

Oh, and the death threats. Yeah, I get those all the time. Just part of the healthy give and take.

And I regret having no daughters, I would welcome the many hilarious rape jokes at their expense as proof of the essential decency of the American left.

Does it ever get lonely in your own private universe? Or are you practicing a finely honed sarcasm indistinguishable from gross and vicious stupidity? Let's all wish for Palin's assassination so we may enjoy the many merry quips and jests, the choicest of which I am sure you have already prepared for the joyous occasion! Uppity bitch has it coming, being a national figure and all.

Steve Skubinna   ·  January 21, 2011 11:13 PM

Sarah Palin and the Tea Party endorsed Sharon Angle as the Republican candidate to run against Harry Reid in Nevada. In a libertarian leaning state that has one of the highest home foreclosure rates, with unemployment like Michigan, she lost to Reid. Like Palin, she had a few negatives but won the nomination in a three way race against established Republican candidates. She followed Palin's advice and restricted access to the media. But most important, on the eve of the election she debated Reid and by all accounts won the debate. My brother who was there, and is VERY liberal, admitted that "Harry blew it" and came across as a bumbling old man.

What this says is that Palin will NOT be a unifying candidate and will loose. The old establishment Republicans will not support her, as they are already proving. No matter how much you want her to be the candidate you dream of, she will never be elected. She'll end up the Goldwater of 2012.

Frank   ·  January 22, 2011 1:14 AM

Republicans are suicidal as a party.

They win, then they trot out yesterday's failure as the solution to today's problems, and they can't seem to understand why, after winning so big, they are wiping the Simonize off their posteriors the very next election.

Then again, Dems are equally as dumb.

Makes me glad I vote for "none of the above."

jb   ·  January 22, 2011 1:52 AM


David Letterman's hate is as old as some ancient Hebrew prophets.
Speaking of anti-Semitism, it's Jerry Falwell and other fundy leaders who've gleefully predicted that in the future EVERY nation will be against Israel (an international first?) and that TWO-THIRDS of all Jews will be killed, right?
Wrong! It's the ancient Hebrew prophet Zechariah who predicted all this in the 13th and 14th chapters of his book! The last prophet, Malachi, explains why this future Holocaust will outdo even Hitler's by stating that "Judah hath dealt treacherously" and "the Lord will cut off the man that doeth this" and asks "Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother?"
Haven't evangelicals generally been the best friends of Israel and persons perceived to be Jewish? Then please explain the recent filthy, hate-filled, back-stabbing tirades by David Letterman (and Sandra Bernhard, Larry David, Kathy Griffin, Bill Maher, Joan Rivers and Sarah Silverman) against leading evangelicals like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, and explain why most Jewish leaders have seemingly condoned Palin's continuing "crucifixion"!
While the above anti-evangelical haters are tragically turning comedy into tragedy, they are helping to speed up and fulfill the Final Holocaust a la Zechariah and Malachi, thus helping to make the Bible even more believable!
For other unusual goodies on Google, type in "Obama Fulfilling the Bible," "Michelle Obama's Allah-day," "Un-Americans Fight Franklin Graham," "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty," and "Stamping Out Harold Camping."

Alice   ·  January 22, 2011 2:19 AM


I follow the pot issue closely. I believe she has changed her position (somewhat) recently:

Pat Robertson holds her position as well.

How libertarian is Palin? I looked at that:

M. Simon   ·  January 22, 2011 6:06 AM


Since you ask, I'm not a libertarian, I'm a socialist. We disagree on lots of things. But we agree on civil liberties, and that should lead us to agree that Palin is not on our side.

I used to be a socialist until I figured out that rob the rich to give to the poor inevitably leads to regulatory capture. It always winds up with the rich robbing from the poor. Eventually.

In any case I don't think we agree on civil liberties. Robbing anyone (taxation is theft - try not paying them) is not my idea of civil liberty.

Now I'm not one of those anarchist crazies. Nor am I against some social safety net. But it needs to be kept at an absolute minimum. Barely enough to keep you alive. Maybe a little less than enough - except in cases of disability. Call it an incentive plan.

My dream ticket? Sarah Palin/Gary Johnson

BTW utopia is unavailable. What I always ask is: what gets me to 51%? And if I can't get 51% what do I have to do to change some minds?

M. Simon   ·  January 22, 2011 6:32 AM
M. Simon   ·  January 22, 2011 7:35 AM

Frank, my first choice is Gary Johnson, but I greatly prefer Palin to Gingrich.

In terms of pure political pragmatism, I think Obama would easily defeat Gingrich or Huckabee, and I think Palin would ultimately be harder.

I have predicted that Obama would triangulate, and I don't mean to be a doomsayer but it is my opinion that he could very well win reelection. If that happens, whoever the GOP runs will get the blame.

Eric Scheie   ·  January 22, 2011 11:25 AM

Darius: I don't claim to represent our host in any fashion.

Steve: Unlike lots of pundits, I can't read Jared Loughner's mind. But Palin is rightly criticized for violent rhetoric, and she knows it or she wouldn't have deleted her own posts after the shooting. Whether it caused the shooting or not it was beyond the pale.

JB: No way. Democrats are WAY dumber.

M. Simon: We probably agree that there should be no secret prisons, no imprisonment without trial, no torture, no executive assassinations without due process, no warrantless wiretapping, no censorship. Bush was wrong on all those issues, Obama is wrong today, and I think it's reasonable to predict Palin would be wrong on them if she were in the White House.

Cool that she thinks pot is less of a problem.

Eric: I think the Republican's chances are good in 2012. After four years of hippie-punching, much of his liberal base is going to stay home.

Don   ·  January 22, 2011 1:55 PM

Eric, I agree with you, and Johnson would be my pick also. It's too early to reasonably predict who will get the nomination, but my guess is that they will pull out everything to stop Palin. If that happens and someone like Romney gets the inside track early, there will be pressure to have Palin go the 3rd party route. If she does that, she could actually win, with the right strategy and VP candidate. The enthusiasm is there as well as Tea Party support.

Frank   ·  January 22, 2011 2:16 PM


I believe there is a war on. I'm having trouble forgetting 9/11, Arafat, Iran, etc.

And for purposes of fighting the war I'm willing to relax the rules some.

Is it a danger - well sure. But so is a war. So you have to make a judgment on the right balance. I'm with Bush's actions on the subject and not to dissatisfied with Obama's ACTIONS.

M. Simon   ·  January 22, 2011 9:00 PM

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