“American Thinker” J.R. Dunn’s brainless apologia for Palin

J.R. Dunn, contributing editor at American Thinker, says the reason Sarah Palin resigned from the governorship is obvious, but no one can see it (except for J.R. Dunn): she has lots of pressing family responsibilities right now and needs to take care of them.

Excuse me, but was J.R. Dunn saying this last September? Of course not. He and the rest of the Palin supporters were trying to SHUT UP people who made that argument. The Palin people were saying, “HOW DARE they say that a woman can’t run for vice president and be a mother of small children as well? HOW DARE they? Would they say the same thing about a man?” And now, without missing a beat, Dunn adopts the very position that the Palin brigades furiously denounced last September (only now he says that it’s a mere governorship that a woman with a young family can’t handle). And not only does he adopt that position, but he derides everyone else for being too obsessed with political gamesmanship to see the simple, obvious, human truth that Sarah needs to attend to her kids. Yet, as he catalogues her kids’ many pressing problems that she needs to be there for, he is oblivious to the fact that her kids had exactly the same problems last year when she accepted the vice presidential nomination.

Dunn also continues his ignorant attack on his select demons, the “Northeast Corridor conservatives,” for undermining Palin. But the wicked “conservatives” he names are: David Frum, Kathleen Parker, and David Brooks. Frum has rather publicly distanced himself from mainstream conservatism with his departure from National Review, his support for a version of nationalized health, and his cover article for Newsweek smearing Rush Limbaugh and mainstream conservatism; Parker is a centrist who has never been associated with the conservative movement, and Brooks, of course, is considered by most conservatives to be a liberal. So Dunn blames conservatism for the positions of non-conservatives and liberals. If couldn’t have been “dunn” better by the liberal media itself.

Finally, Dunn has the fantasy that his saviour Sarah will, in the presidential year 2016, re-emerge from the family nest to save America from all its ills. He really believes this.

And the website he writes at is called American “Thinker.”

Here are parts of Dunn’s article that I’ve discussed above, with my further comments interpolated.

Obsessive figures confronted with a simple human contingency and, unable to comprehend what’s right in front of their eyes, retreating instead into irrelevant speculation about whatever they know best. Simply put, in resigning her governorship and stepping away from active politics, Sarah Palin is not pulling any tricks, carrying out any maneuvers, or putting in motion any long-range plans. She is doing exactly what any normal, rational, un-driven human being would do under the same circumstances.

What are those circumstances? Consider her situation at the moment. By which we mean, her situation. Not the country’s situation, not the GOP’s situation, not the political situation in any sense at all.

Her eldest son is serving in the military, in the war zone, at a particularly dangerous and violent moment, when the U.S. is transferring responsibility to the new and still untried Iraqi army. [LA replies: excuse me, but her elder (not eldest) son was entering the military and being sent to the war zone last year at the very moment that McCain picked Palin for the ticket.]

Her eldest daughter is dealing with the twin burdens of a failed marriage and single motherhood, while also serving as a national joke for the same type of people who insisted that Chelsea Clinton and the Obama girls are off limits. [LA replies: a failed marriage? How did a failed engagement turn into a failed marriage? Why does Dunn speak such an obvious lie? The answer is that he is so passionately pro-Sarah that he’ll say anything.] This is a state of affairs that undoubtedly requires much in the way of TLC from Palin. [LA replies: But didn’t Bristol require tender loving care from her mother last September, as many critics were saying at the time, and the Palin supporters dismissed their concerns?]

Her youngest daughter has recently come under the gun thanks to that epitome of class, David Letterman. All excuses aside, the A-Rod joke was a transparent attempt at seeing if it was now safe to go after Willow, the rest of the Palin family having been run through the mill one after the other. It occurred at an awkward age for a girl, when events such as this can leave a serious mark. Another instance where mom must be available. [LA replies: this is a paranoid indulgence. I’ve strongly condemned Letterman’s “joke,” but it’s obvious he thought he was talking about Bristol, not about the 14 year old Willow.]

And lastly, Palin has a disabled infant child, one who has already been victimized by the left-wing blogosphere and the mass media. Downs children are very high-functioning. It’s easily possible for Trig to have a golden life as long as close attention is paid to his upbringing and education. His mother will be the crucial figure here. [LA replies: Why wasn’t it necessary last year for Palin to be with her disabled baby? Did Dunn say last year that she was the crucial figure in her baby’s life, and that caring for her infant baby was more important than running for VP or being governor? No. But now, with total shamelessness, he says it.]

So what does a woman do under such circumstances? A real woman, not a pol in a skirt. A wife and a mother, someone with a clear hierarchy of values. [LA replies: where was her real womanhood and her clear hierarchy of values last September? The people who said that she ought to adhere to such values and not run for VP were attacked as anti-woman bigots by J.R. Dunn & Company.] Why, she steps out. She removes herself from the firing line. Returns to what matters. She retreats from the public world for the verities of family and community.

There’s nothing difficult to understand here. All the comments we’ve heard from the mass media, from the political experts, and from the operatives, merely reveal the limitations of the commentators. [But he’s completely missing the point that many of the most complex and unlikely theories of Palin’s reasons for her resignation have been put forward by Palin’s own supporters, who see the move as a brilliant way for her to take the presidency in 2012, not as a way of returning to her family. And among the Palin supporters proposing such theories is William Kristol, who sure sounds like a Northeast Corridor type to me.]

But what about her greater obligations? To that of conservatism as a movement, for instance? It happens to have been the movement conservatives—at least those of the Northeast Corridor, who on the basis of tradition consider themselves to be the core of the movement—who led the charge against Palin on her selection as vice-presidential candidate. Not the left. Not the mass media. But conservatives (I won’t add quotes—not yet, anyway) such as Frum, Parker, and Brooks, who found her to be just the slightest touch declasse. She did not understand the Modern Dance. Her taste in claret was undependable. Her reading of the Federalist No. 63 was, shall we say, idiosyncratic? These people have no call on her whatsoever.

And the GOP? Doesn’t she owe her party anything? Just a few short days after her youngest daughter was humiliated on one of the most widely-watched late-night shows in the country, an obvious hit piece appeared in that balanced journal of the higher intellect, Vanity Fair, in which certain unnamed GOP officials revealed the true Sarah Palin: Sarah as Michael Jackson, Sarah the narcissist, who lived in a dream world and was overwhelmed by “demons”. The fact that GOP figures would cooperate with a rag like Vanity Fair in the first place puts a period to any talk of a party connection. The GOP obviously has an agenda. It is not Sarah Palin’s agenda. Nor, more than likely, ours either. “

* * *

That moment [after Obama’s two terms have driven the country into the ground] will mark the start of a new phase for Sarah Palin. The exquisite branch of conservatism will drift away, assuring each other that “It’s still possible to live well in a dying civilization.” The GOP operatives will, as always, be blaming the “legacy of Reagan” and looking for a RINO who can somehow fool the backwoods rubes. Obama will spend his entire second term racing back and forth trying to put out forest fires using buckets with holes in them. Palin’s enemies will have destroyed themselves, and her moment will come at last.

Democracies never stop halfway, no matter what it is: good or bad, intelligent or stupid, harmful or beneficial, they have to go the whole route before at last changing course. The U.S. could not abandon Great Society liberalism in 1976, it had to wait until 1980. The UK could not put aside postwar Labour policies until they were ground down to the last (the Brits went so far as to elect Harold Wilson to two nonconsecutive terms—something similar to re-electing Jimmy Carter in 1984. Talk about desperation moves!)

While that process unfolded, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan served long apprenticeships, learning all they had to know. Sarah Palin is embarking on the same course now.

Sarah Palin is not ready, they insist. It’s just as apt to say that we—the GOP, the conservative establishment, the country—are not ready for her. An electorate will always fall for the professional pol, slick, convincing, and empty, before turning in desperation to the truly human candidate. But the time will come.

In a few years her children will be settled, she will no longer have hostages to fortune, and the laughter will have long died away. That is when the lady will start shuffling the cards. We will all have further opportunity to wonder what Sarah Palin is up to.

[end of Dunn article]

- end of initial entry -

Laura W. writes:

I am stunned. Dunn says of a traditional woman: “She retreats from the public world for the verities of family and community.” Conservatives who made the exact same point were derided at American Thinker last fall as elitists.

Dunn says, “In a few years her children will be settled, she will no longer have hostages to fortune, and the laughter will have long died away. That is when the lady will start shuffling the cards. We will all have further opportunity to wonder what Sarah Palin is up to.”

If she is really going to retreat to family and community, what relevant experience will she gain? Motherhood gives you many skills, but they’re hardly presidential.

LA replies:

She doesn’t NEED experiences and skills. She’s REAL, a REAL human being. It’s her REALITY that will save us.

S.T. (Sam) Karnick writes:

Good stuff.

It seems to me that Palin has astonishing levels of both her strengths and her weaknesses. For all her shortcomings, however, it’s true that both the establishment left and self-styled conservative elitists (including much of the GOP power structure) have attacked her in an extraordinarily intense way because of a serious fear of her biggest strength, her ability to go around the elites and connect with ordinary people. But those shortcomings give her enemies a good deal of ammunition.

Dunn is right on one thing: the culture of “The exquisite branch of conservatism” is indeed a matter of “assuring each other that ‘It’s still possible to live well in a dying civilization’.” So true, and well said.

LA replies:

And what, other than Sarah’s “real-ness,” does Dunn propose to save our civilization?

David Levin writes:

Well said! I fully agree. Have you considered that you may be one of the “Northeast Corridor conservatives”? After all, you are in NYC, am I right?

I’ve never considered Frum et al to be conservatives—Neocons, perhaps. I hold a special contempt for Kristol. He’s one of the reasons I turned off my cable service after the election (He as a pundit and anchor Shep Smith at FOX).

This guy Dunn is an idiot. Thanks for exposing his idiocy.

LA replies:

To get an idea of what Dunn means by Northeast Corridor Conservative see my article from September 2008.

Clark Coleman writes:

Did J.R. Dunn (whom I have never heard of) actually attack the conservative critics of Palin last September, or are you just lumping him in with those who did?

LA replies:

All along he has denounced critics of Palin as the elitist “Northeast Corridor” conservatives.” Now there ere two main anti-Palin arguments here. Some conservatives criticized her for not up to the job. Those were the ones Dunn mainly denounced as I remember. Others said her candidacy downgraded motherhood, family responsibilities, conservative values, and of course they were attacked by Giuliani, by other Convention speakers, by Michelle Malkin and her gang of conservative feminists and so on. The Palin phalanx shut up all conservative criticisms of Palin.

I’ve only read a small number of his articles.

LA writes: Dunn’s article is the first item among Lucianne.com’s “Must Reads” today. Here is the discussion page.

Here are two contrasting comments:

Reply 64—Posted by: Hermoine, 7/6/2009 9:42:42 AM

After hearing Palin’s announcement, it immediately struck me that her decision all came down to family…. So, Palin has five children and a grandchild and a wonderful husband. This is a family that requires attention. You can’t be an absentee mother and wife and expect your family to flourish. [LA replies: Did that occur to the commenter last August and September?]

Reply 67—Posted by: oneanddone, 7/6/2009 9:45:30 AM

I was one of Sarah’s biggest fans even before she was picked to be VP, but I think this latest move makes her look flakey. I continue to think she is an honest, solid individual, but I don’t know if she is presidential material. I don’t think she is electable and she probably entered the national scene too soon. We need to win in ‘12 or things will get much uglier. I don’t think Mrs. Palin would be our best candidate.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 06, 2009 09:36 AM | Send

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