So argues Joan Williams:

“Here’s my take on why(Palin made notes on her hand): she knew that they would be visible when she gave the speech. And she knew that she would be made fun of — as so stupid that she needs to write notes on her hand. And that’s one of her most effective tactics — to be made fun of. It’s an integral part of her strategy of standing in for hardworking, Middle Americans, derided by the condescending, know-it-all liberal elites.”

It’s possible, but I doubt it. I think she just wanted to remember the correct order for the Q&A session. And frankly, nobody needs to be convinced of Palin’s folksy charm anymore–it’s her policy credentials that are perceived as her weakness. This is a needless move if indeed it is a calculated strategy.

Michael Wolff says:

“But capturing it all—the clichés, vapidness, illogic, inversions of reality, Cheneyisms, and her (Sarah Palin’s) constant whacking at Obama’s legitimacy—he (Andrew Sullivan) yet misses something.

He misses how really compelling she is. Unaccountably amazing. It could be the meaninglessness itself, and her confidence in it, that is so riveting. But I think it’s something else.”

In the immortal words of Paul Graham: “It’s charisma, stupid.Charisma is just that powerful. It is a hard to define thing, and yet when someone has it, they have it, and it makes them seem inexplicably compelling.  

P.S. The title of this post is a reference to the musical Fiddler on the Roof. It occurred to me when I read the above quote. FYI, it’s actually not true in the lager context of the song, though; because charisma is a destabilizing element in politics. This guy named Max Weber will explain it to you. 

Sarah Palin endorses Rand Paul, saying: “It’s time to shake up the status quo in Washington and stand up for common sense ideas.” Paul himself vows “I will strive to capitalize on the support of Governor Palin… and fight for liberty and limited government.” 

First of all, Palin isn’t a Governor. The proper term of address is “Mrs. Palin”, or, for very formal circumstances “The honorable Mrs. Palin.

The other point, of infinitely greater importance, is to note how quintessentially American it is for “common sense” and “limited government” to go together. This distrust of the government is by no means universal, but it is the dominant characteristic of the American voter.

Most politicians cast themselves as rebels against the government, crusading to fight the misdeeds of the current government. I wonder to what extent this behavior is rooted in the history of the country and the revolution.

Those who claim the Tea Party movement is at heart a revolt against Obama because he is black are wrong. There may be the occasional racist in the Party, but in truth it is much deeper than that. The Tea Party crowd is a manifestation of the distrust of government power, but so too were many of the protests against George W. Bush; accusing him of various plots to destroy the country. His most vocal opponents were those who feared he was attempting to gain dictatorial power. 

Anti-government sentiment is part of what this country is. The only force more powerful than this essential American trait is, of course, charisma. And charisma is a trait that applies to an individual, never a group. So it behooves a charismatic individual to be–or to pose–as a rebellious, independent opponent of governmental power.

Kathleen Parker asks: “Who is likely to be the first female president of the United States?”

Well, at the moment, the most likely is Sarah Palin. But, as Parker observes, even this is not likely. And the answer to this question, naturally, goes back to the Great Male-Female Charisma Gap. Palin has some charisma, but I doubt if it’ll be enough to win a general election. And there are, it seems, precious few women who possess the charisma that is needed to win. Poor Mrs. Clinton had Nixon-esque anti-charisma. 

I’ll say this, though. I think charisma is-at least partially-a genetic trait. So, I figure the most likely candidate for first female President is probably Malia Obama.