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Diminishing Palin

How the left will try.

12:00 AM, Aug 31, 2008 • By DEAN BARNETT
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Of course, Sarah Palin will get no such luck. Because it's difficult to argue that Barack Obama has more experience or has achieved greater accomplishments than Palin, the Democrats are left to fall back on their old Obama standby--Judgment. As Judgment is applied in the Obama context, it means Obama can serve as president because he's extremely intelligent. After all, here's Howell Raines's dream candidate--a guy who really did get good grades in school.

So in order to bring down Palin, her malefactors on the left will have to argue a lack of "readiness," which with the thinly credentialed Obama on the other ticket can only serve as a shorthand for lack of intelligence. Chances are, ink-stained wretches are plumbing Palin's every past public utterance desperately seeking the evidence that proves she too is an amiable dunce. Of course, any misstatement on the campaign trail will serve as prima facie proof of her dim intellect. True, political observers have formed gambling pools wagering on when Joe Biden will make his first hilarious gaffe as Barack Obama's running mate. While that gaffe, inevitable as it is, may do damage to the ticket, no one on the New York Times editorial board will conclude from it that Joe Biden isn't that bright. Sarah Palin will not receive the same benefit of the doubt.

In some ways, being Sarah Palin for the next two months and change doesn't sound like a lot of fun. In spite of her many and notable self-made successes, an entire intellectual industry has already sprouted up with the sole intention of proving that she's a moron. The left wants to Quayle-ize her, and their efforts to do so won't be half-hearted.

But there is good news for Sarah Palin as the latter-day Howell Raineses and Clark Cliffords line up to smear her: She controls how the American people will come to view her much more than they do. There's a reason her excellent speech on Friday set off such a firestorm of rage and irrational hissy-fits on the left. Speaking directly to the American people, Palin cut an attractive and intelligent figure. Regardless of the left's anger, the American people will believe their own eyes rather than a frustrated blogger's or haughty anchorman's blustery "analysis."

When Clark Clifford toured the D.C. cocktail party circuit with his "amiable dunce" assessment of Ronald Reagan, most of the assembled sippers agreed. History proved them wrong. But that's not what really has the left rattled as they set off in pursuit of Sarah Palin. The American people knew Ronald Reagan was no dunce long before the Clark Cliffords of Washington admitted as much.

Dean Barnett is a staff writer at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.