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Flashback: John O’Sullivan: Conservative Snobs Are Wrong About Sarah Palin

Posted by Gary P Jackson on March 9, 2011

Jolly, rib-tickling stuff. But, as it happens, I know Margaret Thatcher. Margaret Thatcher is a friend of mine. And as a matter of fact, Margaret Thatcher and Sarah Palin have a great deal in common.

~ John O’Sullivan, former special advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

By Gary P Jackson

As the Republican elites continue to trash talk, I thought now was a great time to look back at a piece written by John O’Sullivan for the Wall Street Journal in December of 2008:

Being listed in fourth place for Time magazine’s “Person of the Year,” as Sarah Palin was for 2008, sounds a little like being awarded the Order of Purity (Fourth Class). But it testifies to something important.

Though regularly pronounced sick, dying, dead, cremated and scattered at sea, Mrs. Palin is still amazingly around. She has survived more media assassination attempts than Fidel Castro has survived real ones (Cuban official figure: 638). In her case, one particular method of assassination is especially popular — namely, the desperate assertion that, in addition to her other handicaps, she is “no Margaret Thatcher.

Very few express this view in a calm or considered manner. Some employ profanity. Most claim to be conservative admirers of Mrs. Thatcher. Others admit they had always disliked the former British prime minister until someone compared her to “Sarracuda” — at which point they suddenly realized Mrs. Thatcher must have been absolutely brilliant (at least by comparison).

Inevitably, Lloyd Bentsen’s famous put-down of Dan Quayle in the 1988 vice-presidential debate is resurrected, such as by Paul Waugh (in the London Evening Standard) and Marie Cocco (in the Washington Post): “Newsflash! Governor, You’re No Maggie Thatcher,” sneered Mr. Waugh. Added Ms. Coco, “now we know Sarah Palin is no Margaret Thatcher — and no Dan Quayle either!

Jolly, rib-tickling stuff. But, as it happens, I know Margaret Thatcher. Margaret Thatcher is a friend of mine. And as a matter of fact, Margaret Thatcher and Sarah Palin have a great deal in common.

[ …. ]

Mrs. Palin had four big occasions in the late, doomed Republican campaign: her introduction by John McCain in Ohio, her speech at the GOP convention, her vice-presidential debate with Sen. Joe Biden, and her appearance on Saturday Night Live. With minimal preparation, she rose to all four of them. That’s the mark of a star.

If conservative intellectuals, Republican operatives and McCain “handlers” can’t see it, then so much the worse for them.

John O’Sullivan is executive editor of Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty in Prague, and a former special adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. His book, “The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister” (Regnery) is available in hardcover and paperback.

You can read the rest of the article here.

It seems the Brits have a better nose for what makes America great than do the GOP elites, as British Historian Paul Johnson recently told the Wall Street Journal:

I like that lady—Sarah Palin. She’s great. I like the cut of her jib.

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