June 5, 2011


Hubris and humility: Sarah Palin and Robert Gates on tour (Dana Milbank, June 3, 2011, Washington Post)

Actually, there is a tour underway that highlights the great things about America, but it isn’t Palin’s. It’s the farewell tour of Robert Gates, defense secretary to presidents George W. Bush and Obama, whose work over the past 41 / 2 years has dramatically improved the state of the U.S. military. While Palin played cat-and-mouse with the press corps on Interstate 95, Gates set off on a tour of Asia and Europe, where he is receiving the gratitude of soldiers and the acclaim of allies.

Gates, who remained on the job at Obama’s request, took on sacred weapons programs at the Pentagon, fired ineffective generals, won the surge in Iraq, revived a crumbling war effort in Afghanistan and got Osama bin Laden.

During that same time, Palin quit midway through her term as Alaska governor, then went on to a life of $100,000 speaking fees, reality TV shows and incendiary political speech.

The week’s dueling tours of Gates and Palin show the best and worst in American public life. Both call themselves Republicans, but he comes from the best tradition of service while she is a study in selfishness. He’s self-effacing; she’s self-aggrandizing. He harmonized American foreign policy; she put bull’s-eyes on Democratic congressional districts and then howled about “blood libel.”

It says something about the infirmity of our politics that Gates can’t wait to go home while Palin is again being taken seriously as a prospective presidential candidate.

...just as he did after the last time he left the public service. And he, of course, sells access, whereas she has none.

But her decision to quit when governing got hard does mean she can't be taken seriously as a candidate. Nor is she except by Mr. Milbank's press peers.

Posted by at June 5, 2011 7:58 AM

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