Saturday, January 31, 2009

In Search Of The Urban Outfitter Republican

Trying to direct the GOP uptown, Michael Barone comes uncomfortably close to suggesting that Gov. Palin is a trailer-park Republican:

The debate among Republicans is whether to go after downscale or upscale voters. Those who argue for going downscale usually have a 2012 candidate in mind: Sarah Palin. She has an undoubted appeal to such voters and revved up part of the Republican base -- cultural conservatives, and rural and small-town voters -- throughout the campaign. Despite the scorn the media heaped on her, she has excellent political instincts and seems capable of developing the knowledge base that would make her a credible presidential candidate in the future.

But my examination of the exit poll results and county-by-county election returns has led me to conclude tentatively that going upscale is the right move. As David Frum has pointed out, we're going to have more well-educated and millennial-generation voters in the future and fewer less-educated and Baby Boomers (among whom McCain ran even).

1 comment:

John Whittaker said...

Fr. John,

I believe that Barone's basic presumption is mistaken, Sarah Palin is not popular with the "less-educated and Baby Boomers" because she is "downscale". The point isn't that she is from the right or wrong side of the tracks. Or hails from an urban or rural home. Or whether she went to the right schools. Or even if she has the right experience.

She is popular because she is a conservative candidate. Currently, the party seems to be lacking potential runners, at least in any large numbers, that are nationally visible and fall into this camp. Without a better offering, many of those with strong conservative convictions are getting behind what they perceive as one of the few bonafide choices. This is particularly true for single issue voters such as pro-lifers or those with strong feelings regarding the 2nd Amendment.

As for me, I am personally, not a Palin fan. In my mind it seemed a disastrous pick from day one. Not that she doesn't show some political potential, but her total lack of experience made her a dangerously irresponsible choice. Especially vexing in this situation was that her inexperience negated McCain's strongest advantage and greatest weapon, his ample experience and his opponents relative inexperience. The choice annoys me to this day. This of course is not her fault, my ire is directed toward McCain for allowing it to happen and his advisors for their lack of sound judgement.

As much as I feel that Mrs. Palin is not a great leader for the party today, I can understand the desire to back someone who holds the same convictions, particularly given a lack of high-profile alternatives. Without someone else arising with a solid conservative bent who is more qualified, she will continue to be the sweetheart of the show.

I am hopeful that the time in the wilderness for the Republicans will be educational and short lived. The party has become much too centrist on issues that should not be negotiable. Additionally, as the Democrat's push for an aggressive liberal agenda materializes lines begin will be drawn in the sand. The Republicans will be better able to define themselves against the backdrop of an advancing socialist movement. I don't think we could have had a Ronald Reagan, had we not had a Jimmy Carter. Granted Barak Obama is a breath of fresh air and I am hopeful that the vitriolic criticism from the campaign will prove out to be misplaced, but his party is no shorter on bad ideas today than it was thirty years ago.

Time will tell, but too many are counting the Party of Lincoln out. This renewal will be good for all, as having either party in significant dominance seems to lead toward poor choices. It is the competition of ideas, the tug-of-war between those motivated primarily by their heart and those whose view is dominated by their head, that leads to the best rule.