In the left-wing's hysterical reaction to the nomination of Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska to be Vice President, we are seeing a side that they usually take pains to conceal. The official line of the left is that they are objective ("All the news that's fit to print"), while those of us on the right are hopelessly and permanently biased. But conservatives have always been open about their bias---it shows in nearly every paragraph we write, after all. No, the chief factor that distinguishes liberals from conservatives is not their bias, which is simply the product of one's upbringing and one's culture. (What would be unusual would be for a person not to have a bias.) It is instead in the degree to which logic can govern their thinking.
For a conservative, if logic dictates the outcome of an argument, there is no getting around it, even if the conclusion is not what a conservative likes. But for a liberal, the outcome is everything, and logic simply cannot be allowed to interfere. (An example is global warming. The sheer logic of the overwhelming size of the sun's effect on atmospheric temperatures, compared to the miniscule percentage that represents man-made contributions, tells the conservative that measures to reduce carbon emissions will never have any meaningful effect, no matter how much the conservative would like to do something to reduce global warming. The liberals, meanwhile, do not let the logic of the numbers deter them in the slightest from proposing all kinds of economically detrimental legislation and regulations to force a reduction in man-made emissions. Like it or not, your view on such legislation will inevitably mark you as either a conservative or a liberal.)
Some subjects, like mathematics, are impervious to bias (unless you start talking about the philosophy of numbers, such as where the concept of "number" comes from). But others thrive on it, indeed, are inconceivable without it. And one such subject, of course, is politics.
It is, alas, only logical that when it comes to politics, people on whom logic has no effect will from time to time engage in rank hypocrisy. After all, if they can't see the contradictions in the first place, what's the problem?
For the conservative, however, logic plays as important a role in politics as it does elsewhere. In addition to championing the role of logic in public discourse, conservatives believe in taking consistent positions in public---not over time, mind you, but at any given point in time. The former kind of consistency---consistency over years and years, without any kind of evolution or change---can degenerate into being "the hobgoblin of little minds," even if for the most part the principle of stare decisis is a valuable underpinning of commerce and civilization. But the latter kind of consistency, which means having a coherent and logical position on matters, is merely a sign that you have taken the time and effort to think things through. And believe me, those of us who dread the onslaught of the four-year presidential election cycle appreciate those politicians (and their supporters and followers) who have actually done that.
An inconsistent position on current matters, however, is the hallmark of hypocrisy. And so it should not be surprising to find, in the left's maniacal obsession with finding fault with the Hon. Sarah Palin, one inconsistency after another, to a degree (thanks to the Internet) never before so concentrated at one time in the election cycle. Consider the following hypocrisy that is currently on display for all to see:
1. Those who never bothered to learn anything about Sarah Palin before she was selected by John McCain are now incensed and disturbed by what they have learned since she was picked, and so they now project onto McCain their own discomfort with their surprise. They simply assume that he was as ignorant of her record as they were when he made the selection. (And here is the real reason for their vehemence.)
2. The sexist commentators who scold Sarah Palin for holding and running for public office instead of being a full-time mother to her children, while saying nothing about Obama's ability to be a full-time father to his (or, if they were around back then, those who said nothing to Joe Biden about resigning his post as Senator to raise his two young sons after he tragically lost his first wife and infant daughter in a car crash).
3. The political pundits who, simply because Joseph Biden has been a known quantity among them for thirty-five years, take it as a given that his "experience" in foreign policy absorbed as a Senator must qualify him to be Vice President, while Governor Palin's experience in negotiating an oil pipeline with foreign countries and firms does not.
4. Anti-war demonstrators who plan a demonstration outside a political convention, as though what happens at the convention (compared to what happens in the actual election) could make any difference to the conduct of the war; and some of whom then drop lethal sandbags on a bus carrying conventioneers and attack another bus carrying Cub Scouts to take part in the color guard.
5. Anti-war journalists who rush into the crowd of violent anti-war protesters and then profess astonishment, after demanding to be shown a way out of the melee (instead of obeying police orders to stay put), at being arrested---after the violent ones in their midst have sent police to the hospital, thrown Molotov cocktails, smashed windows and slashed tires.
6. Those who conclude that running a dictatorially structured political campaign counts as greater experience than running a democratically elected government (who compare one year's campaign experience with a staff of 2,500 to the mayorship of a town, instead of to two years' experience as Governor of a State with over 24,000 employees; and who compare legislating about natural disasters to actually dealing with them).
7. The left-wingers who claim, once the bait thrown onto the Internet by a few dyslogical speculators attracted a feeding frenzy, that the McCain campaign thereby has made everything in the Palins' private and family life "fair game."
8. Those who trumpet a stance taken at any time in the past as undercutting the sincerity of a position held today---as though learning from experience only counts when you come to a view that they agree with, and does not count when you might show their experience to be wrong.
9. The sanctimonious media who refused to touch the story of John Edwards and his mistress, but who jumped all over the story of Bristol Palin and her pregnancy.
10. And to cap off the hypercritical hypocrisy, look at what the New York Times had to say about the nomination of Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro to be Vice President in 1984 (h/t: George Marlin):
Where is it written that only senators are qualified to become President?. . . Or where is it written that mere representatives aren’t qualified, like Geraldine Ferraro of Queens?. . . Where is it written that governors and mayors, like Dianne Feinstein of San Francisco, are too local, too provincial?. . . Presidential candidates have always chosen their running mates for reasons of practical demography, not idealized democracy. . . . What a splendid system, we say to ourselves, that takes little-known men, tests them in high office and permits them to grow into statesmen. . . . Why shouldn’t a little-known woman have the same opportunity to grow?. . . .the indispensable credential for a Woman Who is the same as for a Man Who – one who helps the ticket.
I could make the list twice as long (for instance, check out this favorable review of Gov. Palin in Newsweek a year ago, and contrast it to what they are saying today), but it would not make for better reading, and would be too much like shooting fish in a barrel. Just as there is no point in expecting a dog to walk on its hind legs ("it is not done well," said Dr. Johnson, "but the amazing thing is to see it done at all"), there is no point in expecting liberals to be consistent in their current campaign to destroy Gov. Palin. There is neither reason nor logic behind it, but only visceral hatred born out of fear that she might actually succeed, and so stand as living proof of their hypocrisy. (Well, she actually already does that, but she will stand even taller if she is elected as Vice President.)
And why the fear among the left? No one over there will admit it, but I have no trouble saying it: It is because, if Sarah Palin is elected Vice President of the United States in 2008, and if John McCain decides to serve only a single term, then there will be a strong prospect that it will be Sarah Palin vs. Hillary Clinton for President in 2012. Thus the question to ask is: If Sarah Palin is not a worthy candidate in 2008, why would she be so fearsome an opponent in 2012? Is the left really so afraid of what she might learn on the job?
Answering my own question, I am more convinced than ever (but of course, I was biased to begin with) that McCain made the right choice. After all, the logic adds up.
Now be sure to enjoy her acceptance speech tonight, and watch the left-wing media fall all over themselves trying to tear it (and her) apart tomorrow, and heaping up hypocrisies in the attempt.
[UPDATE 09/04/2008: She turned in a magnificent performance, despite the malfunctioning of her teleprompter midway through. Here is one of my favorite reviews of her speech, from across the seas (h/t: PowerLine---and it's not my favorite just because it happens to echo some of the points I made above, really. . .):
Today she is the most talked-about woman in the world. And with good reason.
Sarah Palin's sensational performance at the Republican Party Convention may turn out to be the tipping point of this rollercoaster American election.
Obama fans hoping she would fluff her big night were in for a nasty shock.
This speech has turned the election upside down. It was simply stunning.
Democrats and their Lefty media backers had been sneering that she was a small town nobody, a hick from the Alaskan sticks put into a job way beyond an inexperienced woman.
Believe me, you will not be hearing that again.
Palin turned out to be an electrifying mix of intelligence, passion, energy, optimism and plain speaking.
Full of self-assurance and aggression, she popped Barack's balloon big-time.
From the moment she walked on stage in this cavernous bear pit, bandbox smart in cream jacket, trim black skirt and black heels, she proved that John McCain knew exactly what he was doing when he picked her as running mate.
Hair piled into a slight beehive – more Sarah White House than Amy Winehouse – she blinked and smiled behind her geeky spectacles as the vast crowd went ballistic.
For an unpopular party divided over Iraq and struggling to compete with Obama's Messianic glamour, the choice of Palin looks absolutely inspired.
Main Street America will have loved her performance.
And it was seen by 30million voters – the greatest number ever to watch a candidate for the much-derided VP post.
She is popular with voters for the very reason America's snooty political establishment despises her: She isn't one of the Washington gang.
She's a moose-hunting mum of five with a sledge-load of problems behind her own front door that workaday Americans can relate to.
A child with special needs. A daughter of 17 pregnant. A constant juggle between family and career.
As she said, her family has had its ups and downs like any other.
Last night her first task was to introduce herself and her family to an American public incredulous that the unknown Alaska governor could within weeks be a heartbeat away from being their commander in chief.
Compared to the journeyman career politicians dominating both parties here she seemed fresh, natural, one of us and not one of them.
She spoke to America as one mum to another. She cracked good jokes.
What's the difference between a hockey mum and a pit bull?, she asked.
Answer: One wears lipstick.
What will have scared the enemy camp most is the devastating series of prime-time punches she landed on the jutting Obama jaw.
Showing steel beneath her magnolia jacket, she slaughtered his lack of experience, his vanity, his emptiness beneath the windy waffle.
It was the most powerful demolition of the Democrat hero I have heard in two weeks on the US election trail.
The St Paul audience adored her.
When she duffed up the Lefty media commentators for their sexist sneers, the vast crowd roared approval and pointed in anger at the titans of the American press aloof in their special enclosure.
And quite right too: who ever asked whether Obama could still be a good dad if he became president?
. . .
The McCain-Palin ticket now looks in exciting shape.
A war hero and a heroic mum. Experience and optimism. A man and a woman.
And when McCain joined the Palin gang – babies and boyfriends and all – on stage after her speech there was a sense of cheeky fun absent from last week's solemn Obama coronation.
How the Democrats must be regretting Hillary isn't running with Obama. Barack's sidekick Joe Biden looks a dull old dog compared with the ball of fire that is Palin.
But most fascinating of all, consider this: If Obama loses, Hillary Clinton will run in 2012. Opposing her is sure to be Sarah Palin.
That would guarantee America its first woman president.
And my fistful of dollars, having seen both in action here, would be on Palin.