July 31, 2009
Sarah Palin: A Leader Without A PartyBy Stuart Williamson
The Democrats -- and the Republicans too -- may find the next stage of Sarah Palin's public career uncomfortable.
True to form, Sarah Palin, her Governorship behind her, clearly and forthrightly declared her intent: to take up arms against the forces dedicated to tearing down our Constitution, destroying our principles of government, disparaging our history of defense of democracy and free enterprise, weakening our military, and saddling generations to come with oppressive debt and entitlement programs. She did so in the same inspirational, forceful manner that won her immediate and enthusiastic acclaim when she joined John McCain on the Republican ticket in ‘08.
Her words, her dynamic style, her good humor and high spirits, as well as her clear dedication to the traditional values of Middle America, have created a great wave of euphoria among conservatives across the country, in the Tea Party movement as well as those who embraced her last fall.
Those in the Obama camp who have savaged her, and the commentators who have criticized her for being a quitter, a political weakling, doomed forever as a loser, are about to get their first lesson in Palin 101: The word "quit" is not in her vocabulary. She is not a reactive defender. She is a fierce and fearless attack machine. She earned her nickname Sarah Barracuda, on the basketball court. She polished those skills in the rough and tumble of the frontier politics of Alaska.
She is unswervingly honest. She hates liars and cheats. She spent many years exposing powerful entrenched opponents in a state whose politics had become sleazy, and has a keen nose for corruption What she says, she means. She makes no idle promises. This honesty is what brought her into politics in the first place. She ran for mayor of Wasilla because she questioned the motives of the favored candidate. She cleaned up local government. Her integrity is what propelled her to high approval ratings as she rose to the governorship. Her honesty is transparent, it shines through. It resonates with voters, differentiating her from run-of-the mill opportunistic professional politicians.
For Palin, integrity in government transcends all other considerations. Many politicians and pundits find this hard to believe, or even understand.
The truth is: Sarah Palin is not really a "politician". She did not get into politics to seek power or wealth. She bears no resemblance to the typical politician, who graduated in Law specifically to enter politics; or to the successful businessman who runs for office to gain profit advantage or status; or to the mediocrities who rises through nepotism or dynastic ambition like a Kennedy or a Gore. Or to any party hack out of the Chicago machine.
She has not brought herself into this fight at this point because she wants to be President...or Vice-President...or Senator....or Cabinet member. She is in this solely because she feels, deeply, that our traditional principles and values, already betrayed by both parties, are in serious jeopardy through the aggressive efforts of committed socialists. She is prepared to make a personal sacrifice in the cause of defeating them. If she succeeds, she'll be happy to just go back to Wasilla and the Alaskan way of middle class life she loves.
Remember, she made it clear in her resignation that she was going to remain "outside" the political fences. For she is going to turn her guns on the GOP -- big time. She wants nothing to do with the Republican National Committee, and not just because she has been reading Mark Levin's Liberty and Tyranny. She has fought the GOP top dogs since her first days in Wasilla. When she was appointed by the Governor to chair the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission and found out the Republicans were dealing under the counter with the private companies, she resigned and blew the whistle. When her party wouldn't support her for Governor she ran on her own -- against their open opposition -- and won. And promptly attacked waste and corruption within the Republican state government.
Then she was drafted by McCain, sparking some indignation in the RNC. She promptly charged the flailing campaign with her energy and her personality, attracting huge numbers of people to GOP rallies, and most likely some new voters. But she got no support from the sclerotic RNC managers -- and the great fighter pilot couldn't shoot straight. Then he bailed out on her after the election, and she received no thanks for her valiant effort; not only was she simply dumped, but reviled and mocked by the insiders and elitists she had worked with.
Post-election, repulsively hammered by the Democrats, abetted by her enemies in the Alaskan GOP ranks, and their Eastern Beltway buddies, she has pressed on, in ways that none of them ever would have anticipated.
Should anybody be surprised that she would have nothing but contempt for the party whose key figures continue to question her competence and ability to govern? That she has publicly disowned them, pledged to work outside them? She owes the Republican organization nothing. She not only knows that she does not need them to gain a strong voter segment, but that they would hang her high if she remained in the fold.
I'm sure she relishes the prospect of not just holding on to her faithful within the party, but to swelling their numbers by many millions of other Republicans, independents and disenchanted Democrats over the next year.
Palin means exactly what she said. She will make no deal with the RNC, and will operate entirely outside its control. She will go after individuals and policies and the rudderless, dim-witted, ossified RNC with the same vigor and eloquence she goes after the socialist administration.
Sarah Palin has the intelligence, the political skills, the downhome eloquence, the vision and the dedication to influence the swing vote come fall of 2010. She will have attracted the support of power brokers unhappy with the floundering RNC and attracted those "comers" within the party who share her views. As the election nears, incumbents as well as new challengers for Congressional positions, will want to be identified with her.
Palin has the upper hand. She will call her own shots next year, whether the GOP likes it or not.
Her conservative critics should stop twittering and blathering about her "fitness for the Presidency". And her fans should lay off it. Who says she wants it? Or any other high national office? It is very doubtful that she will personally run for the presidency, even if pressured. She spent enough time during the McCain campaign to see, close up and clearly, the dirty underside of national politics, and the shallowness of life in DC and the big cities. I suspect it repels her. Four years in the White House? When she could be back in Wasilla with her family, friends, her fishing and hunting, plus an assured income from speaking, writing, commentating... all at her own discretion and timing? Get real!
But boy, are the Democrats and the Republicans in for a rough ride!