If, as is being reported, President Barack Obama is prepared to pull the plug on his previously vigorous support for a government-run public healthcare option, the president’s stinging policy defeat will have come as the result of his Administration’s mendacious policy rhetoric marked by its snobbish dismissal of critiques from concerned townhall participants and, most notably, former Governor Sarah Palin.
Take, for example, the unrelenting personal attacks from Democrats on Gov. Palin’s intellectual and political heft. In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, former Clinton strategist Paul Begala called Sarah Palin a “half a whack job” who is “flaky” and an “intellectual lightweight.” Joining Mr. Begala in the verbal tirade is the always interminable Maureen Dowd of the New York Times who, continuing with her increasingly eerie fixation with all-things Sarah Palin, dubbed the Governor “dizzy” and, previously, “batty” and “one nutty puppy.”
And yet. Saturday, lamenting the unraveling of Mr. Obama’s healthcare message, Maureen Dowd made a startling if unintended concession about the influence and power of a conservative “dim-wit” like Sarah Palin. “She [Palin] took a forum, Facebook, more commonly used by kids hooking up and cyberstalking, and with one catchy phrase, several footnotes and a zesty disregard for facts, managed to hijack the health care debate from Mr. Obama.”
Now ask yourself this question: If conservatives like Gov. Sarah Palin are such vaporous fools, then how can they “hijack” a national debate from the most powerful man on the planet…and all with a simple Facebook posting no less?
Indeed, if Sarah Palin is the “whack job” and “intellectual lightweight” Mr. Begala claims her to be, then what does that make Mr. Obama who, according to Ms. Dowd, just got his clock cleaned by a Facebook message written by the unserious likes of a “nutty puppy” like Ms. Palin?
Wynton Hall is a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and author of "The Right Words: Great Republican Speeches That Shaped History".