Recently, a Facebook friend (someone I’ve known in real life from the time he was in high school), posted a status update warning the Republican Party not to even attempt to rid the country of Obama by putting up a “right wing extremist” like Palin as a presidential contender. There were so many inaccuracies contained in his one simple status update – which, sorry to say, received a “thumbs-up” from someone else with whom I share an actual history — it’s hard to know where to start my rebuttal.
But let’s begin with the “right wing extremist” label, shall we?
Perhaps I should cut my friend a little slack; after all, he’s been living in the leftist paradise of California for over 10 years if my memory serves correctly. And though he’s not a big government loving statist, it’s quite possible he’s been hoodwinked by his contemporaries into believing that so-called moderation (what we on the right prefer to call “Democrat-Lite” or “RINO”) is somehow the way to victory in 2012. It’s also quite possible he’s bought into the false media caricature of Palin as a book-burning, Bible-thumpin’ zealot, whose appeal could never expand beyond the grassroots base of the GOP.
Never mind Palin’s proven record as a reformer who rid the state of Alaska of the Corrupt Bastards Club, sold the previous governor’s taxpayer-funded plane, squelched the bridge to nowhere, sealed the deal on the Trans Alaska Pipeline, vetoed Obama’s stimulus (a decision which was unfortunately overruled by the state legislature) and bequeathed a fiscally solvent state to her successor Sean Parnell and her fellow Alaskans.
Set aside the fact that with one thoughtful Facebook note or even a 140-character tweet, she not only shapes the debate on a critically important issue such as energy, socialized medicine or the proposed Ground Zero mosque, she consistently beats every other alleged Republican 2012 contender to the punch. Not being a creature of Washington D.C., Palin is not constrained by considerations of political expediency, but driven by moral clarity and conviction.
Yet no matter how stellar her fiscal record, she’s somehow a “right wing radical” because she also believes in the sanctity of human life (demonstrated by her decision to give birth to her Down syndrome baby), devoutly practices her Christianity and believes in American Exceptionalism.
Gee, if I’m not mistaken, her views are in alignment with some pretty formidable figures in American history, including Ronald Reagan and the Founding Fathers. Guess they were “right wing extremists”, too.
But back to the whole concept of squishy moderation as the path the victory. The irony here of course, is that my friend is actually echoing the sentiments of the very GOP establishment he’s excoriating — you know, the “establishmentarians” and members of the “ruling class”, as Angelo M. Codevillaso aptly described them. Like Goldwater and Reagan before her, they would like nothing better than to destroy Palin politically, so it seems my friend’s concern is misplaced.
He and the Republican Party elites are on the same page where she’s concerned, still stubbornly adhering to the misguided notion (in spite of the failed campaigns of George H.W. Bush in 1992, Bob Dole in 1996 and the ultimate RINO John McCain in 2008) that the road to electoral victory is paved with insipid pandering, “feel good” platitudes and watered down rhetoric, so as not to offend the tender sensibilities of the elusive “moderate” swing voters.
You know, those folks who don’t bother to do their homework or pay much attention to politics until two weeks before a presidential election, and then vote for the “cool” guy? Yeah, those people.
What my friend fails to comprehend is that these voters took one look at old D.C. relic and mushy moderate John McCain — who in essence was no different from Obama on many key issues, including the TARP bailout – and figured heck, if they’re both offering the same thing, I’m voting for the young, hip, sophisticated, super-cool black guy. My friend also conveniently forgets that if not for Palin turning out the grassroots base of the Republican Party, McCain would’ve lost in a landslide.
Last but not least, my friend is either ignoring or is completely ignorant of Palin’s accomplishments, none of which bear the hallmark of an “extremist” but rather as a public official and servant of the people who governed in accordance with her state constitution as well as that wonderful document we call the United States Constitution, conceived by such “right wing radicals” as James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.
I am not saying he has to support Sarah Palin for president, if in fact she chooses to run for the office. But I am urging him to get his facts straight before condemning her as a radical right winger and dismissing her impressive achievements in his rush to inaccurate judgment. As I’ve said before, her detractors on the left and right are incapable of constructive criticism.
Whatever her ambitions, she’s the de facto leader of the conservative movement and the voice of everyday Americans who are frustrated and alarmed by an overreaching, ever-expanding, evermore corrupt federal government. And that’s a result not only of her political track record but also because — unlike milquetoast RINOs like Romney — Palin speaks with bold clarity in layman’s terms, guided by integrity and principle. She’s also an exceptional retail politician who connects with middle class voters in a way Mitt Romney never could. Believe me, after attending a rally for him in Boca Raton in January of 2008, I know this to be true. While he’s a nice-looking man with a beautiful family, he came across as stiff, plastic and even a little uncomfortable — all the while displaying his trademark grin and repeating the mantra, “Washington is broken! So we’re gonna go to Washington and fix it!”
And yes, I still voted for him, but only because Fred Thompson dropped out of the race.
Whatever happens in the race for 2012, here’s my demand for the GOP: This is not a monarchy, so get rid of the “next in line” mentality. Or you may soon find yourself a footnote in the annals of American history when the Tea Party/Silent Majority funnels its energy and resources into a new party that will actually represent them.
As for my Facebook friend, stick to arguing on the facts, please. Character-assassination is so unbecoming of a good guy like you.