What a load of crap

Ross Douthat has been, up until now, one of the few conservatives that could be counted on to put intellectual honesty squarely in front of partisan advantage. But he has also been a Palin backer since before her nomination, and has written that, "I'm probably rooting harder for Sarah Palin to succeed than I have for any politician in recent memory."

I had high hopes that Douthat might take on the job of defending Palin on the merits, but he's chosen another course. In a series of posts over the last two days, Douthat has joined the McCain team in pretending that all negative reactions to Palin are part of some sort of hysterical overreaction, rather than being based in any sort of principled worry about her candidacy.

The reason Palin hasn't been accepted as a "moderate" and a "centrist" isn't, as Douthat has it, because "The chattering classes are already inclined to treat the Republican Party as a gathering of gun-toting yahoos with too many damn kids." It's because Sarah Palin is not a moderate or a centrist. Palin has a governing style that is reminiscent of the worst of the Bush Administration's executive overreach, she holds religious and social views that are far outside of the mainstream, and she has displayed an easy ability to lie for partisan advantage.

And yet, Douthat feels free to sit back and complain about "colleagues I used to respect and publications I normally admire" rather than to defend Palin on the merits. Douthat is probably right that muddying the water is the best hope at this point, but I expected better of him.

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