Cognitive dissonance at

Never one to let an open wound go unsalted I decided to see how the die hard conservatives at were reacting to all the coverage of Palin’s shaky performance with Katy Couric. This article was posted this weekend and offered some fairly biting criticism of Palin. The article is okay but what really is worth your attention is the feedback below it. On some level these people must realize that Palin is a performing poorly. Most of them I’m sure could name a half dozen people they would prefer in the VP slot for their party right now. But, the mental gymnastics they display to convince themselves and others that she’s just the one for them is stupendous.

These first quotes are from people who say they didn’t think Palin performed poorly in the Couric interview:


[li]I have found Sarah Palin to be highly intelligent, incisive, and articulate. One who can answer succinctly while realizing she’s being interviewed by a biased, “gotcha” person/question. And all the while radiating authenticism, trust and honesty. [/li][li]Yes, some of the replies of Palin as cited by Kathleen Parker are circular with no firm answer obtained. Yet I believe it is done with intent, just as every other politician does when they don’t want to be nailed by a loaded question. [/li][li]I watched the interview too. Palin was NOT incoherent. She was direct, spontaneous, and HONEST . . . within the context of her own beliefs. [/li][li]In the recent sit-down interviews, many of her comments seem restrained and bridled, but I beleive that 's because she’s been coached to stay as neutral as possible. I don’t agree with this strategy, but I don’t think it’s becuase she has no idea about topics of economy and foreign policy.[/ul][/li][/quote]

This next group appears to have taken the attitude, “So she’s dumb, who like a know-it-all anyway?”:

[li]It’s all about her character, perspective and abilities.I don’t really care if she has every detail correct. What I do care about is that she has the major goals correct and is steadfast in achieving them. [/li][li]I’m not saying Sarah’s perfect. But as my successful employer husband says, Give me someone with heart, and the rest will take care of itself. He has worked with those who have too much by way of “brains”, and sees where the real value lies in people. [/li][li]You are so used to hearing BS that when a genuine response of ‘i need to get back to you’ is given, you find it to be inadequate. Which begs the question - does a president need to know all the answers to be effective? NO.[/li][li]To dismiss the best candidate of the four because she isn’t as smooth or slick as the talking heads isn’t a liability, it’s a huge plus. She sounds like us.[/ul][/li][/quote]

This last one is my personal favorite:

With they way they pick candidates the GOP might just put his devotion to the test someday.

Well, obviously. They’re so much easier to manipulate.

The reason these folks love Palin so much is because they know they can wrap her around their collective little finger. She’s their toy.

Of all the groups, I think this one has my respect, especially the attitude of your first bullet: “It’s all about her character, perspective and abilities. I don’t really care if she has every detail correct. What I do care about is that she has the major goals correct and is steadfast in achieving them.”

It’s sort of "I don’t care how well she articulates introspection or spends time memorizing trivial pursuit answers – I care about how she will make decisions.

That’s an honest, and rationally defensible attitude from a political theory background. It supports the notion that her time as mayor and governor is highly relevant and helpful, and accepts her lack of insight and consideration of non-Alaskan issues because if she got the major/other things right, it’s likely she’ll come to the right decision on other matters new to her.

The best thing about it is that it acknowledges and accepts Palin’s ostensible shortcomings without disingenuousness. No handwaving. No asserting that she was tricked into a question. No pretending that she really did have a coherent answer at the ready, or that she rose above Ms. South Carolina in certain areas. No distractions by pointing out random comparisons to Obama. No pretending she has substantial experience and knowledge, and no pretending that her newfound, coached knowledge has been there all along.

No, just admiration for the person’s character, life choices, and intuitive political bent, and the belief that that is sufficient to make her a successful leader.

If more posters took that honest tack (it’s not the only one, but sorely underrepresented), I think the level of debate and discussion here would be much higher.

the problem is that a person who spews such inane answers as Palin’s on the Foreign policy question (Alaska borders russia and Canada therefore…"), is not someone a reasonable person can expect to take “the right decisions”.
I mean, at some point intelligence HAS to play a part doesnt it? A morally aceptable 10 year old could be trusted with the Presidency under that “he may not know nothing about nothing but his heart is in the right place” philosophy

I could understand that if what she had done as a mayor and governor somehow seemed conservative. But I don’t look at what I’ve seen of her record as showing “conservatism” at all. That’s why I’m baffled.

That answer doesn’t suggest she’s stupid - it suggests that she made a bad choice in strategy. She didn’t want to say, “I have no foreign policy experience”, so she tried to make a lame rationale. Politicians do this all the time. Some get called on it, some don’t. The rationalizations for Obama’s experience are pretty lame, too, such as “He’s qualified to be president because he’s done such a good job running for president!” Or, “He has executive experience because he was a community organizer!”

Do you remember Obama’s answer when he was asked about his foreign policy experience? He cited having lived in Kenya as a boy, and that Hawaii was pretty exotic, too. Not that far from Palin’s answer, but it didn’t quite get the hysterical guffaws it deserved. And no one assumed the answer meant Obama was stupid - just that he tried to get away with a rather lame justification. But he certainly wasn’t pressed on that the way Palin has been on her Alaska answer.

Anyway, Palin isn’t stupid. In another Palin thread, I linked to a half-hour long interview on CSPAN she did before being picked, where she answers questions from the media interviewer, as well as questions from phone-in callers, both friendly and hostile. Watch that, and tell me if you think she’s stupid.

I actually think this is a pretty reasonable argument. William F. Buckley, himself no intellectual lightweight, once famously said that he’d rather be ruled by the first 100 names in the Boston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard. It was his way of saying that the wrong ideology in the hands of brilliant people is more dangerous than ignorance in the hands of people who have some common sense and the right values.

I think Democrats put more stock in intelligence in their candidates because they have a different vision of government than do Republicans. Democrats want really smart people because they want a technocratic government. They want super-geniuses who will manage the economy, build huge new programs very intelligently, and fix society’s problems. In their view, failures of past attempts as social ‘progress’ through government are because the wrong people attempted them - they’re constantly searching for the brilliant geniuses who will do it ‘right’.

Republicans want government out of their faces. They don’t care if their president is a genius, because they don’t want him overruling the markets with his bright ideas in the first place. They’d rather have a president whose instincts are to just say no to new regulations and trust that the people know what they’re doing and can regulate themselves better than the government can.

Democrats want a technocrat. Republicans want a father figure who is willing to tell you to get a damned job if you want something and stop asking him for money.

You wouldn’t call vetoing half a billion dollars in spending conservative?

But you’re sort of right - Palin isn’t the hard-right conservative the left has tried to paint her as. She has avoided social issues completely, she raised taxes on the oil companies, and she went after corrupt people in her own party. That’s why she has a 70% approval rating among Democrats in Alaska.

Aside from her “scary” personal views on social issues (which she’s never pushed as a governor), she’s the kind of Republican I’d think people here would admire. Fiscally conservative, while willing to increase taxes in areas where it makes sense, a strong follower of the constitution, and with a very light touch on social issues.

I would say that this is true of Conservatives and may have been true of Republicans in the past, but as the last few years prove, it is no longer the case.

The new breed of Republicans, it seems to me, want a large increase in government, especially in areas of social policy. The government did not “get out of people’s faces” in the past 8 years, and very few Republicans complained.

There’s actually a large, and growing, split in Republican circles. For about a decade and a half, Republicans have been led by ‘compassionate conservatives’ like George Bush and big-government Republicans like the Neocons. The small government conservative movement took a blow when the Gingrich congress got wiped out. They were told that the way back to power, and to build a new coalition that would last, was to embrace compassionate conservatism. So they stayed quiet and let the Bush wing of the party run things.

But the small-government Republicans are still around in force, and after the various big-government debacles and historic low ratings of both the President and Republicans, it’s now clear that compassionate conservatism did the opposite of what Bush promised - it fractured the base, it pissed the country off with a combination of big spending and big deficits, and destroyed the ideological basis of the party - the only way you could tell a Republican from a Democrat was on taxes, and that’s just not enough.

So now the small government Republicans are resurging. After Bush is gone, I think you’re going to see a major party re-alignment again.

I would love to see that. As a left-leaning Democrat voter, the best thing for the Democratic party and the country as a whole would be for the Republicans to reshape themselves into small government fiscal conservatives. I think the trend in the last decade of the Republicans to be driven by social issues and the Neocon foreign policy agenda has been bad for the country. In contrast, counter balancing a fiscally conservative, small government party with one which is interested in looking out for the welfare of the lower/middle class would lead to far more effective government.

While clever, its foundation is a cheap shot at Harvard intellectuals, suggesting that they have neither “common sense” nor the “right values.” Whether higher education destroys either is the topic for another thread, so for the moment I’ll state my not-so-outlandish belief that a liberal arts education increases one’s common sense and values through the introspective nature of the arts classes and the rigor of analytical requirements (i.e., studying both Shakespeare and calculus improves general cognitive abilities).

In other words, her lack of education and political awareness, though not a negative, is not a plus. Imagine, for the moment, what kind of a powerhouse Palin would be if—all else remaining the same—she also had some semblance of intellectual prowess and engagement with global issues.

But again, there is a refreshing frankness and honesty to the position. While I can accept that some people honestly believe the other approaches, e.g., that she really did know what the Bush Doctrine, I also think that some people honestly believe Ms. South Carolina’s answer was good. But I think (IMHO), that between the cloistering, the botched interviews on non-Alaskan subjects, the comparison of Alaskan and Hannity interviews compared to on-the-fly, and other bits background, she really is an intellectual lightweight and significantly clueless vis-à-vis national and global issues.

While I don’t share the “it’s ok, as long as she agrees with my party” justification, I respect it both for its honesty and its underlying cohesion. That’s why the Buckley quote works — because it’s better to have someone average who has your definition of common sense and right values than an intellectual whose approach and values you disagree with.

That would all be well and fine IF the Reps were provably better when they have ruled the country. As it happens they factually are not. The country prospers more under Democratic presidents than it has under Republican presidents. I’ve cited this to you in other threads yet you keep ignoring it seeming to hope if you just say Republicans have a better solution for the country it will make it so.

They provably do not.

Well i have see few if any evidence pointing to Palin’s intelligence, while i have seen lots concerning Obama’s (writes his own books/speeches for one).

But i see your point, we do not have proof positive that Palin is as idiot as she sounds, god knows that i’ve made an ass of myself many times when trying to talk under pressure.

The mental gymnastics are even worse on Free Republic.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! When did Katy-freakin’-Couric and Charlie-freakin’-Gibson become the vicious attack dogs of the MSM? Oh yeah, NEVER! Those two have the highest ERAs in the majors and they lobbed slow ones right over the plate. Mr Rogers would be a harder-throwing interviewer.

Cognitive dissonance is at a pathological level in ANYBODY who can convince themselves that Palin is NOT a pointy-headed moron.

I said all along the Palin pick was risky - I still like her, but I’m not blind to her flaws.

I wonder about the Democrats, though - their vision of technocratic government doesn’t give much room to people who graduate from cow colleges like the University of Idaho. The sneering at this credential could be heard all across the country, even though, really, there’s nothing wrong with it.

We tend to elect Ivy Leaguers into the White House in this country in the last century - and that’s true of the Democrats as well, that party of supposed inclusion. I don’t think that’s particularly healthy for us.

I totally agree. This may be looked at as silly, but I’ll say it anyway.

The very first time I was offered a chance at promotion in the army I turned it down. My NCOIC asked me point blank, are you ready for this? I could have said yes, and given the fact that I had a college degree and I could parrot answers that I’d study to a promotion board I had a really good chance…I’ll say 95%…of being promoted. (it doesn’t show through my posts here, but I am pretty sharp when I need to be.) :slight_smile: Even with my limited (at the time) understanding of the military. i’d only been on active duty for a year or so at the time.

But I said *“No, Sergeant, I’m not ready…”. *Why? I would have made more money. I’d have more authority. I would have been promoted faster than I ultimately was. It would be more prestige for me. But I knew I wasn’t ready for it. and that my lack of that confidence and knowledge could get people killed. I knew I did not have the experience for the position. I wanted it, but not until I knew I could do it well…and that my coworker knew I could do it well.

I did rise in the ranks, but I did it because I knew things, and learned my job. Not because someone offered me a chance and I took it regardless of if I were qualified. I’m a nobody in the big scheme of things but I put the welfare of others before my own because I wasn’t ready at the time for the position.

Now if I, a self acknowledged nobody can look into the mirror and say “I cannot do this because my inability may put lives in danger” Why can’t Palin? McCain aside she inspires zero confidence in me. Her supporters seem to be making excuses for her rather than actually supporting her. With her a heartbeat away from the presidency*…a 72 year old old man with medical problems heartbeat…that chose her over more qualified people…***I’m not sure I want to do this anymore. It has an effect. I can put in my retirement paper in 6 months if I choose to retire…but I’ve just been given orders to a unique psyops unit. Its not like they want me to retire and . I’m not sure I want to. But a McCain/ Palin administration might force me to. I don’t know if I can be capable of of working for stupid unqualified people anymore. I have done that for 8 years now. How many people have had to suffer because we elected a talking chimp?

I’m sorry for the long bitching rant. But Palin scares me…and it scares me that anyone that can see her as commander in chief if McCain dies.

Here’s a great run down of the absurdity…just included a few paragraphs. Lots more at the link:


Anyone hear NPR today? Kathleen Parkersaid: