Daily Kos had a post yesterday that, using Nixon as a model, suggested that Sarah Palin might not be headed into political oblivion, and laid out a program of education and rehabilitation that could make her a figure to be taken seriously. If she were to undertake such a program of intensive reading, she could indeed remake herself into a serious figure, but that is a big if.
I don’t know how much of the Palin-bashing coming out of the McCain staff I believe, but I tend to credit the stories that she was unwilling to do the necessary homework for interviews. I credit it chiefly because it seems to me to be the only reasonable explanation for her abysmal performance. If she wouldn’t do the homework necessary to not look like an idiot on national television, why would she make the long term investment of serious study and effort required to actually become a serious candidate in the distant future? Especially when she has a fawning fan base telling her she’s wonderful just as she is?
If she stays on the national scene, or comes back onto the national scene in two or four years, I doubt she will be much changed. She apparently has the ability to learn, though the number of colleges she went through in getting her degree raises questions about that, but I don’t think she has any interest in learning, and that is a part of her appeal, to many of those who find her appealing. She is anti-itellectualism personified.
Her constituency scorns expertise on the part of politicians. They would not hire an unlicensed Joe the plumber, but a professional politician is anathema. This is the attitude that makes the current Nextel ads possible – you know the ‘if roadies ran the airlines everything would be on time’ and even more insulting the ad with the firefighters running the legislature. All the have to do to make everything wonderful is use push to talk to say, yes, we want clean water, and it’s done.
These people are not stupid. They are just utterly uninterested in doing the work necessary to master any topic. And all too often, along with this disinterest in learning, comes an arrogance of ignorance that says ‘My opinion, no matter how uninformed, is as good as anyone else’s.’ This is the attitude that feeds the anti-vaccine nonsense, and all manner of conspiracy theories.
This is the attitude I see in Sarah Palin. So while she could do the work necessary to become a real expert on energy, or the economy, or foreign policy, I doubt she has the will to do so.