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    Sunburst and Snowblind

    Not unpredictably, Palin’s performance in discussing her governing philosophy isn’t as strong as it should be. I thought Ann Althouse summed up the Hannity interview well:

    Personally, I found the interview tiresome. I think we are well beyond the yes-I-can-speak phase. And the fact is that she doesn’t really speak very well when you start looking for structure and content. There’s a superficial gloss to it that may be enough if you want to like her or think you need to give her a chance to settle into this new role. But now it’s time to calm down and really communicate.

    Palin isn’t stumbling in the sense of looking visibly baffled or forgetting the capital of Sweden, and I don’t think her grammar/usage/mechanics are much worse than those of most other politicians speaking on the fly. But we’ve been told that she can bring meaningful reform rather than Obama’s meaningless change, and she isn’t persuading me, at least, that her concrete approach in going to be a good one. Of course she thinks the government should play an appropriate role in the economy, that cronyism is very bad, that general taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for screw-ups by specific corporations, and that we all need to put aside our differences and work together to do things the way her side wants solve problems. I’m not questioning whether she means what she says–she does seem to–only whether she knows what she’s getting into in trying to make it reality when she gets to Washington. It’s possible to mean well and still suck at what you do.

    *******

    A few people have asked me, “Sean, you grew up in one of them Jesus-freak cult things, right? So what do you think of Sarah Palin and her Pentecostalism?”

    In a way, I’m completely the wrong person to ask. I’m an atheist. I respect religion, but to me the percent difference in cockamaminess between the Pope and J.Z. Knight is probably rather lower than it would be to most other people. Yes, all other things being equal, it’s most comforting to have in office the sober, grounded, sort of boring types that, say, Episcopalianism excels at turning out. That being said, what I think matters most is a candidate’s view of human agency: as long as she believes it’s her responsibility as an elected official to think of both short- and long-term goods on behalf of the people, to deepen and broaden her knowledge base and choose good staff so she can make the best judgments, and to be as honest and transparent as she’s been talking about, fine. She may believe that we’re living in the End Times. I don’t know, though the question might liven up an interview or debate. As long as she doesn’t see herself as the one chosen to hasten us through them, I’m not sure I care.

    I’ve heard things about the link between her and the Kenyan witch-hunter (or maybe Kenyan-witch hunter–that first paragraph leaves things ambiguous. The guy may have flipped out over a Kenyan fortune-teller years ago, but what he did with Palin seems benign:

    In video footage of the speech, she is seen saying: “As I was mayor and Pastor Muthee was here and he was praying over me, and you know how he speaks and he’s so bold. And he was praying “Lord make a way, Lord make a way.”

    “And I’m thinking, this guy’s really bold, he doesn’t even know what I’m going to do, he doesn’t know what my plans are. And he’s praying not “oh Lord if it be your will may she become governor,” no, he just prayed for it. He said “Lord make a way and let her do this next step. And that’s exactly what happened.”

    Gee, imagine that. A minister made a generalized prayer for a blessing on a member of a congregation, and said member attributed her subsequent good fortune to it. That sounds pretty much like what Christians believe happens.

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