I’ve just finished Dinesh D’Souza’s 1997 book Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader, and found many comparisons between Reagan in his day and Palin in ours.
Here are just a few. But check out the book yourself for more striking similarities of circumstances, Democrat opinion, and elite dismissals. (emphases mine)
1. The Lay of the Land
President Carter and the Democratic leadership were not impressed with any of this. From the outset they made a familiar mistake; they regarded Reagan as the weakest of the Republican candidates. … Carter and his advisers knew they had a difficult record to defend, but they did not believe they needed a defense. They reasoned that if the best and the brightest could not solve the problems of stagnation and the energy crisis, they must be insoluble. Instead they decided to make Reagan himself the issue. They were confident that Americans would never elect a man who they regarded as [someone] … whose political views were clearly outside the political mainstream.
2. Krauthammer’s Opinion
Reagan’s reasons for changing his mind about Gorbachev were “ignorant and pathetic” columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote. He added that no one should be surprised that Reagan had lost his head because “it was never weighted down with too many ideas to begin with.”
3. Reagan Can Write!
The specialists went into a huddle to produce a draft press release. All this time, Reagan sat in a corner, scribbling away on a yellow legal pad. He didn’t want State Department legalese; he was writing a draft of what he intended to say to the American people. A copy of Reagan’s original exists, and we can see that he wrote his remarks virtually without correction. When speechwriter Josh Gilder saw Reagan’s written text, he distributed it to his colleagues. … “This man had made the case for his actions better than any of us could have done it. He converted all the complexity of the negotiations into clear language that people could understand. Yet he didn’t distort or misrepresent anything. All this time we had been writing for him, and it turned out he was the best writer in the house.”
In this video, WSJ editorial page editor Paul Gigot says Palin has the ability to explain complex issues like QE2 in a way people can understand.
Palin backstage at the 8/28/10 Restoring Honor rally: