Wednesday, October 1, 2008

George Will on Palin

John McCain's opponent is by far the least experienced person to receive a presidential nomination in the 75 years since the federal government became a comprehensively intrusive regulatory state and modern weaponry annihilated the protection the nation derived from time and distance. Which is why McCain's case for his candidacy could, until last Friday, be distilled into two words: Experience matters. [And yet] The man who would be the oldest to embark on a first presidential term has chosen as his possible successor a person of negligible experience.

Then again, he says, President James Buchanan had the best resume and possibly the worst record. You also need, Will says, character and "a braided mental rope of constitutional sense and political common sense."

And then, Palin seems to be the only one who gives the Madisonian answer to what limits government power ("the federal government's powers are limited because they are enumerated").

In 1912, McCain's Arizona became the 48th state. In 1959, Palin's Alaska became the 49th. Western conservatism has the libertarian cast of a region still steeped in an individualism natural to frontier spaciousness. But American conservatism depends on what it calls "fusion," the collaboration of libertarians and social conservatives concerned that liberty unleavened by restraints creates a licentious culture. Palin supposedly is fusion in one person.

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