Why It Matters

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David Frum, conservative author and former Bush speechwriter, weighs in over at NRO on the question of why we should care whether or not Sarah Palin should be subjected to taking questions from the press. His answer: it was the same contempt for elites, both in the media and more broadly, that caused the Bush communications effort to fail after the president’s post-9/11 popularity began to erode. Political operatives love to talk about circumventing the media and other co-called “elites” — i.e., independent specialists, observers and thinkers. The operatives convince themselves they can take their candidate’s message directly to the people — on their terms, without all that poking and prodding and skepticism. That’s propaganda. In a democratic society, it rarely works for long.