Sunday, September 14, 2008

Angles of Attack

One of the few things that I retained as a result of the dismal hours spent attempting to understand college physics was the notion of a law of reflection. In short, the law posits that the angle of created by a beam of light hitting a mirror is equal to that created as the beam leaves the mirror's surface.

Among other things, this occurred to me as a result of an equally brief and frustrating conversation with one of my many progressive friends. As we were driving to visit some mutual acquaintances, my friend asked me for my candid thoughts about Sarah Palin. She wondered if Gov. Palin would have garnered my vote if she ran in the Republican primaries.

As she wanted candor, I supplied as much, and stated that I would have more than likely supported Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson. Her predictable follow-up was to the effect of "If she's not good enough to be president, aren't you worried about her if something happens to [John] McCain?" Interestingly, this and similar queries - always undergirded by the assumption that a robustly healthy McCain is somehow at death's door - never take into account the dotterage of Rep. John Dingell, Sen. Robert Byrd, or (until recently) Sen. Ted Kennedy.

To the list of things about which liberals are ignorant we can add something else: physics. Now that they have stopped photoshopping Gov. Palin, ceased their slander against her infant son and teenage daughter, ended their efforts to negate her executive experience and impugn her integrity, and slacked up on trying to misconstrue what she says (oh wait, they're still doing all of that), they continue to lambaste her for being "inexperienced."

As folks of my Mother's age cohort might have said, "That's rich."

And indeed it was the New York Times' Frank Rich who was the opening act in Sunday's concert of liberal outrage. But Rich hit his high note as he went beyond the media meme of Palin's lack of presidential know-how, and made reference to a "racial component" supposedly inherent to this year's GOP campaign.

Americans saw a virtually all-white audience yuk it up when Giuliani ridiculed Barack Obama's "only in America" success as an affirmative-action fairy tale — and when he and Palin mocked Obama’s history as a community organizer in Chicago. Neither party has had so few black delegates (1.5 percent) in the 40 years since the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies started keeping a record.

But race is just one manifestation of the emotion that defined the Palin rollout. That dominant emotion is fear — an abject fear of change. Fear of a demographical revolution that will put whites in the American minority by 2042. Fear of the technological revolution and globalization that have gutted those small towns and factories Palin apotheosized.

Hot on Rich's heels were the Democrat blatherers deployed to the various Sunday morning gabfests. In example, as noted at Politico, Debbie Wasserman Schultz - arguably the dimmest bulb in the House - opined on CBS' "Face The Nation" that "[Palin] doesn't know anything, and she is not ready to be vice president," adding that Palin has "Cliff-noted her performance so far."

In the (thankfully) waining days of this campaign season, the root of my frustration with the Left generally - and my friend in particular - is that they are more than content to have a conversation about experience as long as the argument does not spill over to a discussion of the qualifications of the man atop their ticket. I observe that the angle from which liberals launch their attacks on Ms. Palin is exactly equal to that made by the line of questioning occasioned by Barack Obama's relative naivete.

To be unable to observe that a hypothetically incompetent Sarah Palin laying wreaths at the gravesites of deceased heads of state is better than a similarly inexpert Barack Obama making life or death decisions in the Oval Office speaks to the funhouse mirror optics that blind progressives to their current situation. At the very worst, should McCain become incapacitated or otherwise unable to fulfill his responsibilities, Palin would merely have to implement the policies established by her predecessor(s). With change as his mantra, Obama has no such luxury. Whatever it is that Obama seeks to get done, he has to get decisions right, and do so right from the beginning.

And maybe that's the point. The point being that, after nearly 20 months of campaigning, a fairly informed political observer can still have questions about what an Obama administration try to get done in the first place. We think we know that Obama would raise taxes - unless the economy is in recession. We believe that he would work in concert with our allies to enhance America's security - except in the event that we can pinpoint the location of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, at which point he would act unilaterally to take bin Laden out.

We've been led to understand that Obama was against the military surge in Iraq and FISA wiretapping, and for public financing of political campaigns as well as a unified Jerusalem - all of which were the case until Obama changed his mind. Up to now, Obama has been able to get away with a certain fuzziness of thought and comment. This was at least in part because people weren't paying attention to anything other than what one Wall Street Journal op-ed contributor described as "the amazing Obamaness of Obama."

And as long as Democrats can keep people distracted by Sarah Palin's domestic life, her alleged misstatements about the Bush Doctrine or her fervent prayers that American servicemen are serving in pursuit of the inscrutable will of the Almighty, we will never concern ourselves with whatever Himself has up his sleeve - presuming he doesn't change his mind before he gets implement his plan.

Presuming of course he has a plan.

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