Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Palin’s ascension shows GOP’s lack of interest in governing

Palin’s ascension shows GOP’s lack of interest in governing
Jay Bookman - Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Republican Party has held the White House for the last eight years and has controlled both chambers of Congress for 12 of the last 14 years. But if trends continue as they have, that run is about to come to an end.

With less than four weeks to Election Day, polls today suggest that Democrat Barack Obama will sit in the White House come January, enjoying enhanced majorities in both the House and Senate. And if that’s how things play out, John McCain is doomed to be cast as the scapegoat by his fellow Republicans, in part because they never really liked him much in the first place.

Sarah Palin, by contrast, will reign as the party’s crown princess.

You can already see the mythology beginning to take shape. Palin is being positioned by conservative media outlets as the stalwart defender of the faith, the true believer who is fighting the infidel with all her power but lacks a committed partner in McCain.

Palin’s the one making the arguments that conservatives most want to hear, such as accusing Obama of “palling around with terrorists.” When the McCain campaign decided to pull out of Michigan, it was Palin who repeatedly and publicly disagreed, insisting that the cause was not yet lost and that she could turn things around.

Palin’s star will shine even brighter in defeat than in victory, and that would not bode well for her party.

The GOP’s political problems have many causes, but distilled to its essence, it can be stated in one sentence: The Republican Party hasn’t taken seriously the responsibilities of governing.

In fact, if the Republicans could govern as expertly and as diligently as they campaign — if they simply cared as much about governing as campaigning — the country might today be reaping the benefits of great prosperity and global respect, and the Democrats would have gone the way of the Whigs.

But look around: That’s not exactly how things are.

The foundations of Republican success on the campaign trail have been appeals to tribal politics — “they” aren’t like “us” — and the easy answers of ideology. But once in power, tribal politics, fixed ideology and a disdain for the hard work of governance have proved disastrous.

Unfortunately, Palin epitomizes that mindset. Tribal politics, easy ideology and disdain for governance define her as a candidate...

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Palin’s ascension shows GOP’s lack of interest in governing

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