If there’s any silver lining to the miserable beating that Republicans endured nationwide in the 2008 elections, it’s that we were given an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and prepare for the next era of conservative leadership. Among other things, this requires developing a new crop of leaders for crafting a credible, conservative agenda around which a new Republican electoral coalition might coalesce.
Conservative journalists and pundits can play an important role in this process. Yet a number of commentators have prematurely bet the mortgage money on Sarah Palin stock. On Sunday, Commentary’s Jennifer Rubin unleashed an angry string of accusations against Palin’s critics – that they’re “unhinged”; repeat “familiar plotlines”; and greedily seek “the approving nods of cable-news-show bookers and magazine editors.” Then Rubin offered this:
It matters not that [Palin] seized the floor in the health-care debate and has a million followers on Facebook who can read her views on energy policy and other issues without the media filter.
Since when does telling an outrageous lie – namely, that the Obama administration’s health care proposal would create “death panels” – constitute “seizing the floor”?” Since when do we measure the governing potential of a prospective presidential candidate by how many Facebook fans she has? If I remember correctly, one of the best arguments against then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was that he was just a celebrity without “any accomplishment which would entitle him to such regard” (h/t, er, Jennifer Rubin on 7/31/08).
At this moment, Republicans should be in the sorting phase, examining the qualities and deficiencies of potential nominees. And if a candidate’s best quality is her popularity on Facebook, then perhaps her critics are onto something.