Sarah Palin in Savannah, Georgia, Dec 1, 2008 ...

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I confess to having mixed feelings about Sarah Palin. On the one hand she holds many conservative values with which I agree, including her strong pro-life stance on abortion. One reason the mainstream media hates her so much is the fact that she did not murder her Down’s Syndrome child. They have done their best to try to destroy Mrs. Palin, but overall she holds up well against constant attacks, many of them irrational.

On the other hand, Palin comes across as an intellectual lightweight. I do not care how nervous she was or how many excuses her defenders make regarding her interview with Katie Couric, Palin should have been able to name one magazine or newspaper she read. Now I do not believe that being intellectual is necessary for being a good president; intellectuals have done untold damage to society with Utopian ideologies such as Marxism. Politics is the art of practical reasoning, of understanding how to behave in particular situations. Whether Mrs. Palin has that virtue is yet to be seen, but I do not rule out the possibility. It takes a great deal of skill to recover from the blows she has taken from the press.

What bothers me more is Palin’s resignation as Governor of Alaska. There is something to be said for commitment to a calling, and being elected to office is a calling. It is a mark of character to stand up to attacks and continue to do one’s job instead of using such attacks as an excuse to resign.

I agree with Palin on most issues, but she, like many conservatives, tends to support the involvement of the United States in foreign wars that are none of her business. It would be a plus for her if she can find traditional conservative or libertarian advisers rather than neoconservatives. The neocons succeeded in destroying the Bush II presidency and have done untold harm to the Republican party–the more any Republican candidate distances herself from them the better.

Given a choice between Mrs. Palin and Mr. Obama, I would gladly vote for Mrs. Palin because she reflects my own moral and political values better than the liberal Democrat Obama. However, unless she can overcome her image as a beauty queen who knows very little about the world around her, she is unlikely to win the general election even if she were to win the Republican nomination. She seems to be working on gaining more knowledge and creating an image of herself as a more substantive candidate. If she succeeds, she will do very well, since she has the enthusiastic support of many conservatives in her party. I wish her well.