Jonah Goldberg

Dear Governor Palin,

You're blowing it.

We haven't met, but you might remember I was one of the first columnists to tout you for John McCain's running mate. I cheered you mightily when Senator McCain selected you, and I still believe that you were the smartest choice he could have made given the obstacles before him. I'm also assuming you want to run for president some day.

There's a reason why the left and much of the media establishment hated you from day one. Some hated you out of the fear that you might stop Barack Obama's unfolding coronation. Others because you seemed to expose the snobbery, arrogance and ideological pieties of elite feminism. Your beauty, your status as a working mom, your blue-collar husband, your bravery in taking on the political establishment in Alaska, your proud status a pro-lifer and mother of a special-needs child: all of these things were -- and are -- deeply threatening to a secular left-wing cultural elite.

All of this was an incredible compliment. Powerful people don't fear the powerless. Remember how Mike Huckabee borrowed that Air Force maxim when he got grief during the primaries? "If you're not taking flak, you're not over the target." Well, you were over the target.

But not anymore. Oh, you're still taking flak, but not because you strike fear in the hearts of Democrats. You're taking flak because you're striking fear in the hearts of Republicans. For Democrats, fairly or not, you've become a laughingstock. And for some of McCain's campaign managers, you've become a convenient excuse for their failures.

But while McCain's strategists do not cover themselves in glory for scapegoating you, you are not without blame either. You do seem to think the best advice is for you to stay just the way you are. Leaders listen to the advice they don't necessarily want to hear.

For starters, every time I see you on TV, you're whining about unfair press coverage. Don't get me wrong: Much of it is unfair, and some of it deserves a response. But it's not presidential. It's not even gubernatorial. You are constantly taking the bait, taking up the fights your biggest fans want you to take up.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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