I've argued that Sara Palin is a cultural rather than a political phenomenon, although none the less powerful for that. But if she really wants to run for President—and I think she could win—at some point she will have to start talking about politics.
Of course, she didn't really get much chance to say anything in her Fox interview with Bill O'Reilly last night—nobody does on O'Reilly's show—but there was this deeply disappointing exchange:
O'REILLY: ...All right. Now, Harry Reid gets in trouble with the Negro dialect remark and the light skin color.
O'REILLY: I — what would you — say, I'm Harry Reid, OK?
O'REILLY: And say — no, I'm not going to say that. Say I'm — what would you say to me?
PALIN: Well, obviously those were — you can't defend those comments.
O'REILLY: But he's sorry. He's sorry. Is that enough?
PALIN: Well, he says he's sorry. That — that way of thinking is quite foreign to, I think, most Americans today. I — I come from a...
O'REILLY: Do you think it was a racist statement?
PALIN: I come from a very diverse state. My family is diverse. I'm married to an Alaska native. A lot of us don't think along those lines that somebody's skin tone would be criteria for a qualification for the presidency. So his — his thinking and his articulating of that — that thought was — is quite perplexing. It's quite unfortunate. And I think it's unacceptable.
O'REILLY: Do you think it was racist?
PALIN: I don't believe that he's a racist. But I don't believe that Trent Lott was a racist, either. And that double standard...
O'REILLY: No, we did that last night. Right.
PALIN: I know. And that double standard is — and that hypocrisy is another reason why so many Americans are quite disgusted with the political games that are played, not only on both sides of the aisle, but in this case, on the left wing, what they are playing with this game of racism and kind of letting Harry Reid's comments slide, but having crucified Trent Lott for essentially along the same lines (inaudible).
. [VDARE.COM links added].
Palin is right that the 2002 Lott Lynching reflected a double standard, but to say that Reid's comments were "unacceptable" just strengthens the Political Correctness that is the great curse of American public discourse. As Paul Gottfried argues here, Reid was manifestly correct and anyway the Sensitivity Stalinists are opposed to everything Palin stands for. Why is she trying to appease them?
The sad reason: she is falling into the hands of the same type of conventional campaign consultants who have persuaded Scott Brown to eschew the immigration issue—and, for that matter, Lou Dobbs and O'Reilly himself.
Sarah Palin can go only so far as the purely symbolic leader of the American implicit community. Eventually, she will actually have to lead.
My suggestion: next time O'Reilly announces "I'm saying to myself, 'If Sarah Palin and John McCain were in, could they bring unemployment down under 10 percent?' And I'm not sure you could", don't change the subject to Obamacare. Say "Immigration Moratorium!"