Antidote for Palin Conspiracy Theories: The Primaries?

Father John Corapi is a powerful and dynamic conservative Priest. A staple of Catholic TV, Radio, publishing, and speaking tours; he has amassed a very loyal following.  He has likely saved many lives with his “freebasing cocaine with Rockstars to Catholic Priest” story.  He has long been a favorite of mine, because of the depth of analysis he brings to the issues of the faith and culture. Unfortunately he seems to have relapsed sometime in the not-too-distant past and has been leading a double life for a little while. That’s what the evidence suggests anyway. But like any addict worth their salt, Father Corapi has vigorously denied any wrongdoing.  Without boring you with the details, he has denied it in such a way that indicates his guilt instead of his innocence to anyone with an understanding of the Priesthood and an objective review of the facts. But those who have come to identify their faith with Father Corapi in an unhealthy way are not capable of objective analysis. They defend Corapi and assault those who point out the objective facts. They cannot see that what Corapi said about the faith and culture (at least pre-relapse) is still valid and accurate, but that Corapi is simply not fit to deliver that message anymore.

We have witnessed a similar phenomenon here at Redstate over the last few weeks as the voices against Sarah Palin’s candidacy have reached critical mass. Suddenly everyone who changed their mind about Palin was part of a vast right wing conspiracy set up sometime in 2009 to tear her down at the last minute in favor of RINO’s. Perhaps the conspiracy theorists have identified their conservatism with Sarah Palin in an unhealthily way, such that they have a difficulty objectively assessing both Palin and the candidates who are actually running.  Don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge  that allegiances during the primaries are very difficult to assess, certainly many more factors are at play than defending fallen clergy. It is the allegations of conspiracy that lack objectivity, not necessarily the continued support Palin.

But once objectivity is lost, the argument ceases to be productive. It isn’t an objective vetting of candidates, it is the defense of a cult of personality. Like trying to explain to Roberta McCain that her son just isn’t conservative enough. But sometimes the conspiracy theory disintegrates on its own accord.   For instance, what if Palin does get in the race and she does get the support of at least some of those who were critical of her?

We have the same three way race on 9/14/2011, as we have had since Perry announced.  Perry, Romney, and Bachmann. Going back to 2009, my first choice for the 2012 nominee has included Palin, Mark Sanford, Mike Pence, Tim Pawlenty, Bachmann, and Perry, and probably others that I can’t bring to mind at the moment. Palin didn’t lose me because she has waited too long; she lost me with her mediocre performances on FOX long before that became an issue. Sanford was off the list for obvious reasons, Pence didn’t run, Pawlenty was convincing me until Bachmann got in, who I saw as more consistently conservative and Perry became my first choice due to his credentials, his very strong initial showing, and after two things occurred to sour Bachmann in my eyes. First – she has taken the position that the debt ceiling should not have been raised under any circumstances, and I don’t see that as a realistic option on a whim, it seemed to be either pandering or just delusional. I could come around to that position, but I didn’t see any serious path out of an immediate and extended period of default during the recent debt ceiling debate. Secondly, I felt her answer two debates ago about her faith and her husband as leader of the family – was inconsistent with the statement that she was explaining and inconsistent with her actual faith. I have been told I am wrong about that, but nonetheless it gave me the feeling she wore her religion on her sleeve when it was politically convenient and hid it under a bushel when it wasn’t.

Now an interesting thing happened as I tried to stay awake watching the midnight replay of the tea party debate. Perry’s social security answers were strong, but I experienced some disappointment with Perry as he seemed to jump on the bandwagon of “modernizing government” as a cure to our spending woes, then threw tort reform in as an apparent centerpiece strategy  for revitalizing our economy. I don’t disagree that modernizing our government and getting rid of waste and fraud can save us some dollars, but I view the savings along the lines of earmarks. Everybody says they’re going to do it, no-body can ever pull it off, and the impact wouldn’t be that great even if they did. Similar situation with Tort Reform. I can see the need for some tweaking of civil justice system, but Tort Reform has largely already occurred as I see it, because the insurance lobby has already convinced a majority of Americans that the Plaintiff’s Lawyers are usually at fault when a lawsuit is filed. Thus modern Jury’s love to find for the Defendant or award them minimal damages. And the last time I checked, insurance rates didn’t go down in any of those states with Tort Reform. Bottom, line is that I am not at all convinced that federal interference with the rights of Plaintiff’s to recover for injuries caused by negligence is necessary or prudent, and it certainly isn’t going to create a boon in the economy.

But Michelle Bachmann impressed me when she refused to jump on Newt’s minimalist bandwagon of “modernization” and instead spoke frankly about taking out entire Departments of the Federal government, and also didn’t jump on the “we have to keep the prescription drug program” bandwagon.

But almost as quickly as she gained credibility in my opinion, she doubled down on guardasil and accused Governor Perry of causing a child’s mental retardation!!! Ruinous slander is what I call strike two on the “using my religion when it benefits me” question, and touting a widely discredited medical theory in favor of the fringe position is strike two on the “I really am the Kook they make me out to be” question. I don’t have a problem if she believes that theory – but playing “I am smarter than all the  medical experts, and confident enough in my being smarter than them to blame Perry for a child’s retardation” is beyond the pale to me. It’s just makes it hard to trust her on anything. If she’s going to spin that statement she needs to do it quickly and in such a way that makes clear she wasn’t adopting the accusation of this mother, she was simply empathizing that somebody having that opinion shouldn’t be forced to have their children vaccinated.

All that is to say that I am not that thrilled with any of them right now and I wonder if Romney’s “electability” quotient and polish doesn’t increase in value as the notion of a “true conservative” being nominated diminishes, for want of a true conservative? I can also say that I am not nearly as opposed to a late Palin entrance as I was a week ago. She is still a true conservative in my book, and she is still trustworthy in my book.

I’m still a Perry fan on 9/14/2011, but Palin fans need to know that many Perry fans or Bachmann fans or Romney fans – are more open to a Palin run than you think depending on the day to day events of the primaries. Be objective in your support for her, your judgment of the competition, and especially – be objective before assuming any conservative critical of Palin is suffering from either sexism or rinoism.

If nothing else, try to see how damaging it is to your cause for your actions to cement Palin’s negatives in the eyes of someone who may yet change their mind.