Why does the right like Sarah Palin? That's the question I get most. The answer is that she knows she's not smart enough to fix every problem. Let's face it, people who run government are really really smart. Obama's smart; Cheney is smart. As much as you hate to admit it, George W. Bush is really smart. (Al Gore, not so much.) And the minions around them who actually run Government? VERY smart. Janet Napolitano, Robert McNamara, Karl Rove...very smart people indeed. Of course, none of them are as smart as Jimmy Carter.
The problem with smart people is that Government seduces them. After all, if you are smart and have a lot of power, you can use your power to make life better for people.
Unfortunately, beyond a certain basic level, that doesn't work. The world is simply too complex, and no matter how hard you try, how smart you are and how much power you exert, you can only change the laws of economics for so long. Then everything falls apart.
So if you think that poor people should buy homes but they can't afford them, then maybe you can create the Community Reinvestment Act...and if banks still won't lend you can create Freddie and Fannie to back up all those loans.
Here's an article in today's Wall St. Journal about farm programs in India that, in addition to costing billions of dollars, have actually REDUCED crop yields.
Of course, Government doesn't have a monopoly on bad ideas. Government can simply do them on such a large scale that it really screws up people's lives.
Oh, and what happens to bad ideas in the market place? They go away. That's why you don't drive an Edsel or a Pinto.
Actualy, in the market place, even good ideas run their course and go away...that's why you don't go to the drive in movies, rent from Hollywood Video, or have a newspaper on your drive way. Ok, I guess there's still one drive in theater in Tempe, and I think there's a Hollywood Video in Avondale and I'm sure someone in Sun City get his news exclusively from the Republic.
Government programs never go away...that's why we still have farm subsidies and Head Start. Those programs don't work, but at least they are expensive.
You may think that smart people using government to really screw things up is a Democratic phenomenon--and you can be excused for thinking that. After all, Lyndon Johnson wanted Guns and Butter and botched them both. The war on poverty did as much damage as the war in Vietnam. But really smart Republicans botch things too; it was Richard Nixon who established wage and price controls and George W. Bush who imposed steel tariffs.
Both parties botch things up in the name of "economic development." When I served in the Legislature, the hot economic development idea was call centers--seriously. Then it was stadiums. Golly, Detroit has three major sports teams and seems to have invested a lot of time, money and intellect into improving the local economy. I wonder how that's going.
Meanwhile, back in Arizona the new Civic Center can't make its debt payments; The Tourism Sports Authority is hanging on my its finger nails; Glendale is headed towards bankruptcy; TGEN brings in some grant money, but no real jobs and now legislators are talking about "targeted" tax breaks and something called the "Discovery Triangle." Whatever.
Of course, in a democracy, really smart people who want to make the world a better place can't do much more than wreck the economy. Combine brains, utopian vision and REAL power and you can manage to wreck the economy and exterminate 100 million people.
So why does the right like Palin? Palin isn't as smart as Obama, Cheney, Carter or either Bush. She's like Reagan but better looking. That means she's unlikely to nationalize health care, fix wages and prices, or impose tariffs on the steel industry. The right is looking for someone who knows she's not smart enough to change the laws of economics. Maybe that's Palin, maybe it's not.
It was William F. Buckley who famosly remarked that he would rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people in the Boston phone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University. I couldn't agree more.
Palin is a corollary to the Buckley rule--better to have a leader with good instincts who doesn't think she can fix all your problems than a guy with an IQ of 150 surrounded by Ph.Ds who will mess up your life--and if she knows how to shoot a moose, all the better.
The second most common question that I get about Palin, is "Why does the left hate her so much?" I'll let the other bloggers answer that one.