Friday, May 27, 2011

Rules? What Rules?

Karl Rove thinks Sarah Palin is running for president, but not in the usual way:
Look, I don't think she thinks the rules apply to her. She doesn't need to have the traditional trappings of a presidential campaign. . . . She gets to decide what the rules are that govern her campaign and go accordingly and politics is changing. Some people have done things that have been outside the norm of custom and have won.
In most circumstances I am all for people getting away from expectations and going their own way. Sarah Palin creeps me out, though, because she represents the complete triumph of narcissism in politics.

I think almost all prominent politicians are narcissistic, and I suspect a fair number are outright sociopaths. Considering what we put political candidates through, who else would run for office? So I think power-hungry narcissism is already the main failing of our political class. The important thing about the traditional campaign is that it forces politicians to step our of their personal bubbles and interact with the outside world -- to meet with and impress thousands of contributors, to answer hostile questions from journalists, to state halfway coherent positions on major issues. This process verifies that the narcissist in question can at least function at a high level.

Palin's campaign strategy of only taking questions from carefully vetted journalists, speaking only to carefully screened audiences of her supporters, presenting herself via carefully edited videos and books written by skilled ghost writers, and so on keeps her inside the bubble where she is queen. Rather than confronting her weaknesses and strategizing around them, she avoids any evidence that she has any weaknesses. I think her success so far is a bad sign for our Democracy, and should she win the nomination that would open the floodgates for reality-deniers of every stripe.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Actually, it seems to me she has confronted her weaknesses, and is carefully strategizing around them. She's ignorant of many things outside her narrow range of experience; she has no genuine interest in government, foreign policy, or hard work; and she has little in the way of aplomb, polish, or the sense of humor that would allow her to speak to anyone outside her base. Her problem is that these qualities are precisely those that give her such a devoted base; she's going to have to figure out a way to display them to her supporters, without the rest of us thinking she is simply a fool or a dangerous fanatic.