January 23, 2010
John McCain: Palin's Political Bridge to NowhereBy Steve Flesher
Sarah Palin's decision to campaign for John McCain's reelection bid is dismaying some of her staunchest allies and defenders on the web.
This serves as a much-uninvited buzz-kill to conservatives, who finally had the beam of hope shone on them Tuesday night. Grassroots conservatism made a historic comeback with Scott Brown, who defeated Martha Coakley for Edward Kennedy's Senate seat in the very liberal state of Massachusetts.
Aside from her personal allegiance to John McCain, it is incomprehensible what Palin thinks this will do for the country or her political career, which has made her one of the main inspirations of grassroots enthusiasm.
Of course, there is no doubt that John McCain is an honorable man who proudly served his country. There is also no doubt that the Arizona senator has delivered on selective issues, like the current health care debacle that the majority of Americans disapprove of.
I personally am so humbled by McCain's strongest characteristics that I might even be willing to overlook his daughter Meghan's passive-aggressive dissent from the conservative wing of the Republican Party.
Like many conservatives, I am certain that Sarah Palin is grateful to McCain for plucking her out of Alaska and placing her in the spotlight, where her endless well of conservative energy has been able to flourish.
Truthfully, every grassroots conservative responsible for the surge of vocal dissent to Obama's policies knows that as the frontrunner in the 2008 election, John McCain gave real Americans and independent voters very little to believe in -- that is, until he gave us Sarah Palin, who became the first V.P. candidate in history to carry the entirety of a ticket's momentum.
Looking at McCain's political history, it doesn't take long to determine why he was unable to inspire the grassroots. While one person can make the case for McCain's patriotism, the next can make an equally convincing argument to question his conservatism.
McCain reached across the political aisle in 2007 to develop a soft-amnesty piece of proposed legislation with the late Senator Edward Kennedy. Condemned by critics like Michelle Malkin as a "crap sandwich," the bill proposed small fines to illegal immigrants. Not only did the fines lack the value of the infrastructure these immigrants had taken advantage of for years, but they also allowed them to stay. Americans were outraged, and the bill was never put to a vote.
Previously, McCain had again reached to the far left and crafted McCain-Feingold in 2002, which placed campaign-contribution limits and regulations on selective entities such as businesses and corporations. Coincidentally, that bill was overturned by the Supreme Court this week. This was such a success for freedom and democracy that it immediately won the scathing dissent of President Obama and Senator Chuck Schumer.
Next, John McCain used his power as a United States senator to hysterically denounce enhanced interrogation methods at Guantánamo, and he also became a strong proponent of the campaign to close altogether the prison where detainees are given three full meals a day, hours of free time for activities and religious reading, and the right not to be awakened for interrogations. The average detainee has gained forty pounds during his stay at Gitmo. How's that for "torture?"
Aside from health care, conservative victor Scott Brown campaigned explicitly on the Obama administration's soft treatment of terrorism (providing them with lawyers, having their trials on American soil, and proposing to relocate them to American prisons).
The independent spirits of Americans have responded. Obama's approval ratings have tanked, the life of the current Senate health care disaster has been doubted by Nancy Pelosi, and Americans have overwhelmingly denounced treating terrorists who seek to destroy our democracy and its accompanying constitutional fabric as common criminals with constitutional rights. They did it on Tuesday by giving a half-century-old liberal seat to a conservative.
Sarah Palin had a major effect on this by awakening the once-silent majority. We are now witnessing the loudest dissent against big government ever via average American independents.
Similarly, the Tea Party movement's effectiveness immediately earned it an unflattering nickname from the viewer-lacking hosts on MS-NBC and Air America radio. The movement has adopted all of the same commonsense approaches that Sarah Palin advocated from the moment she sat on the city council of Wasilla to the moment she was elected governor.
Naturally, Palin has earned the title of keynote speaker at the first-ever Tea Party convention, and her political action committee is bringing in massive amounts of money donated by real Americans inspired to continue to challenge the status quo.
Knowing that Palin has already repaid McCain by preventing his campaign from suffering one of the most embarrassing landslide losses in history, one wonders exactly why she would use her momentum stumping for him, especially when he is undeniably perceived by many members of the grassroots community as the same type of status-quo politician she's fought in the past. This sadly leads some to believe that this is mere political payback.
Sarah Palin is no longer a V.P. candidate being told what to say and do by a campaign. She is among the frontrunners of a movement far greater than simply running for president. This kind of a quick decision not only gives the media an open forum to further attack her, but it also purposely creates doubts among her biggest supporters.
While conservatives and independents band together to materialize such a movement in an attempt to undo many years of damage created by liberals and RINOs, Sarah Palin has the responsibility of using her newfound power wisely.
If she doesn't, the people can respond to her just as loudly as they responded in Massachusetts, thus making John McCain one political bridge to nowhere she'll never shake loose.