The media have learned their lesson. They generally tolerated the rise of Ronald Reagan. They didn't take him that seriously. And when he astounded them by trouncing Jimmy Carter, it wasn't that big of deal.Exactly.
[...]But Reagan fooled them. His campaign wasn't only about him. He ushered in a new generation of conservatives who won local and federal elections. They eventually captured both sides of Congress in 1994, stopping Bill Clinton in his tracks. The Reagan conservatives led to right-leaning judges who started to rule in favor of gun owners and parents and the military.
Reagan was not, as the media thought, a slow-witted actor who gave a good speech. He orchestrated an unprecedented move to the Right that changed America and the world.
[...]Bush was never a movement conservative. He is not creating a new generation of young conservatives. But Palin can be. That's what makes her so dangerous. Her convention speech which so dazzled the Republican base was all the evidence the big media needed.
If Palin were a liberal Democrat touting the same achievements she would have achieved sainthood by now in the pages of the New York Times.
She went from mom, to mayor, to governor -- an astounding rise to power that should be applauded by feminists. But because she is a conservative, none of that matters.
Actually, Gov. Palin is a bit populist to call her a Reagan-grade conservative (windfall profits tax on oil companies in AK, for one), but she's a proudly conservative-leaning Republican, and one who makes it look sexy and cool, which is no mean feat compared, for example, to Tom Ridge. (Amy and I watched his speech during the convention, and while he was obviously earnest, he struck us as frightfully, well, Rotarian. Domesticated, you know? The opposite of dangerous.)
Most importantly, Palin's a fighter for those Republican values, which is something the party's been sadly lacking at the executive level, well, since Reagan. Watching Bush (either Bush!) just roll over while Democrats lie and impugn him at every turn has been demoralizing, certainly, but watching Maverick McCain brag about "reaching across the aisle" while dropping "my good friend" names like Ted Kennedy, and failing to attack the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac/Community Reinvestment Act/ACORN/Obama connection is infuriating.
Sarah Palin is a welcome counter to all this bloody collegiality (well, she is now that McCain figured out that keeping her under wraps and obsessively on message was...unhelpful). We Bitter Clingers out in the hinterlands are tired of our values and priorities being spat on and worse by the likes of Olbermann, Matthews, Couric, Pelosi, Reid and Obama: having a pit bull in lipstick breathe a little fire in their direction is a tonic we've been craving for some time.
Republican strategists, please learn the Lesson of Palin: we're going to get called racists, sexists, bigots, hicks, hatemongers, idiots and worse by our opponents, no matter what we say. How many points has Bush or McCain won for politeness? To make matters worse, we've taught Democrats in the past that profligate namecalling works, and shuts us Republicans up. The delightful temerity of Palin, to actually hit back! That's the reason she's been speaking to venue-overflowing crowds.
But back to the point about bringing new, young people into the party, and lastingly bumping American politics over to the right a bit: could happen. First, though, Palin will need a few victories under her belt, and right now this election is looking like an outside chance, despite all the revelations about ACORN, Ayers and other nontrivial embarrassments coming to light of late. The economy is just a little bit in the tank, of course, which never bodes well for the party in the White House.
I'll see whether I can put together a coherent post about that in the coming days.