Sarah Palin goes full Colin Powell on the Tea Party

The great irony of Colin Powell's 2008 endorsement of then-Senator Barack Obama was how closely GOP nominee John McCain fit Powell's ideal Republican.  Pro-immgrant?  McCain was Mr. Amnesty.  Inclusive of minorities?  The Arizona senator's own daughter was adopted from Bangladesh. 

Concurrently, the notion that Obama was the transformative, uniting force Powell claimed was always a farce.  Any mature, mildly interested adult should have recognized that Obama would be a poor representative on the world stage and a divisive, even dictatorial figure domestically. 

This year, it appears we have Colin Powell II, the Palining.  In a country of overabundant sequels, this is one we could do without.  In this edition, instead of a pillar of the Republican Party endorsing perhaps the most radical-left major party nominee ever, we have a major figure of the Tea Party throwing support behind the candidate perhaps least concerned with the Constitution or limited government of any major GOP contender.

To add to the insult, the race includes constitutionally committed Tea Party senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and, to a lesser extent, Marco Rubio.  It is perhaps understandable in the case of Paul (whose campaign hasn't gotten significant traction) and Rubio (who has made it a point to straddle the establishment-conservative fence throughout the campaign), but it is difficult to look past Cruz as the one viable candidate who proudly waves the banner Palin helped raise.

But no, in 2016 a new rhetorically powerful, celebrity-driven, free media-gobbling candidate has taken the political world by storm, and Sarah Palin has been pulled into a powerful Powellish vortex.

Admittedly, it's easy to get sucked in.  Donald Trump has his strengths.  He stands up to the media well.  He defends his ideas effectively.  He makes many of the right people nervous.  His stand on border issues during the campaign has had a large net positive effect on the Republican race.

Additionally, many have unsuccessfully tried to do to Donald what they successfully did to Palin.  Trump's resilience is appealing.  But what of the more weighty matters of the race and of the presidency for the next four or eight years?

Much of the back-and-forth between Cruz and Trump over the past week has centered on the non-substantive.  "What is the meaning of 'New York values'?"  "Is Cruz likable?"  But in a microcosm of everything that's wrong with the Palin endorsement, the single legitimate policy issue that has come to the fore is Trump's support for expanding ethanol subsidies versus Ted Cruz's desire to end them.

The movement champion who rightfully and righteously railed against the feds forcing us to buy only health insurance that meets government's arbitrary requirements has gotten behind the candidate who is hanging his hat on a policy that forces us to buy only gasoline that meets government's arbitrary requirements.

That is to say nothing of The Donald's affection for international tariffs.  Tariffs in practice are little more than the government telling you that you can't buy a product from an unapproved person without a massive tax.  Is that the policy we stood for in 2009-2010 as we read from the Declaration of Independence and promised to restore America to a country of individual rights and sovereignty? 

Palin seeks to bestow the Tea Party imprimatur upon these decidedly big-government ideas (among others), just as Powell tried to give Obama the air of bipartisanship.  In neither case was the credibility deserved. 

Criticism of this endorsement isn't meant to demonize Palin.  One endorsement doesn't make someone evil or unconservative.  (Heck, even Mark Levin misfired on Orrin Hatch – for which Levin later expressed regret.)  Palin has been a large force for good in American politics, just as Powell's military service remains laudable despite his poor presidential choice in 2008.  Palin is just wrong on this one.  It's not very different from when she backed Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire (who has turned out to be Lindsey Graham in a skirt).

What this criticism does say is that conservatives (as with any endorsement) should think for ourselves.  In this case, we have a responsibility not to magnify Palin's error by following her advice.

Joseph Ashby is a talk radio host in Wichita, Kan. and the creator of some of the world's most popular home videos.  Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

The great irony of Colin Powell's 2008 endorsement of then-Senator Barack Obama was how closely GOP nominee John McCain fit Powell's ideal Republican.  Pro-immgrant?  McCain was Mr. Amnesty.  Inclusive of minorities?  The Arizona senator's own daughter was adopted from Bangladesh. 

Concurrently, the notion that Obama was the transformative, uniting force Powell claimed was always a farce.  Any mature, mildly interested adult should have recognized that Obama would be a poor representative on the world stage and a divisive, even dictatorial figure domestically. 

This year, it appears we have Colin Powell II, the Palining.  In a country of overabundant sequels, this is one we could do without.  In this edition, instead of a pillar of the Republican Party endorsing perhaps the most radical-left major party nominee ever, we have a major figure of the Tea Party throwing support behind the candidate perhaps least concerned with the Constitution or limited government of any major GOP contender.

To add to the insult, the race includes constitutionally committed Tea Party senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and, to a lesser extent, Marco Rubio.  It is perhaps understandable in the case of Paul (whose campaign hasn't gotten significant traction) and Rubio (who has made it a point to straddle the establishment-conservative fence throughout the campaign), but it is difficult to look past Cruz as the one viable candidate who proudly waves the banner Palin helped raise.

But no, in 2016 a new rhetorically powerful, celebrity-driven, free media-gobbling candidate has taken the political world by storm, and Sarah Palin has been pulled into a powerful Powellish vortex.

Admittedly, it's easy to get sucked in.  Donald Trump has his strengths.  He stands up to the media well.  He defends his ideas effectively.  He makes many of the right people nervous.  His stand on border issues during the campaign has had a large net positive effect on the Republican race.

Additionally, many have unsuccessfully tried to do to Donald what they successfully did to Palin.  Trump's resilience is appealing.  But what of the more weighty matters of the race and of the presidency for the next four or eight years?

Much of the back-and-forth between Cruz and Trump over the past week has centered on the non-substantive.  "What is the meaning of 'New York values'?"  "Is Cruz likable?"  But in a microcosm of everything that's wrong with the Palin endorsement, the single legitimate policy issue that has come to the fore is Trump's support for expanding ethanol subsidies versus Ted Cruz's desire to end them.

The movement champion who rightfully and righteously railed against the feds forcing us to buy only health insurance that meets government's arbitrary requirements has gotten behind the candidate who is hanging his hat on a policy that forces us to buy only gasoline that meets government's arbitrary requirements.

That is to say nothing of The Donald's affection for international tariffs.  Tariffs in practice are little more than the government telling you that you can't buy a product from an unapproved person without a massive tax.  Is that the policy we stood for in 2009-2010 as we read from the Declaration of Independence and promised to restore America to a country of individual rights and sovereignty? 

Palin seeks to bestow the Tea Party imprimatur upon these decidedly big-government ideas (among others), just as Powell tried to give Obama the air of bipartisanship.  In neither case was the credibility deserved. 

Criticism of this endorsement isn't meant to demonize Palin.  One endorsement doesn't make someone evil or unconservative.  (Heck, even Mark Levin misfired on Orrin Hatch – for which Levin later expressed regret.)  Palin has been a large force for good in American politics, just as Powell's military service remains laudable despite his poor presidential choice in 2008.  Palin is just wrong on this one.  It's not very different from when she backed Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire (who has turned out to be Lindsey Graham in a skirt).

What this criticism does say is that conservatives (as with any endorsement) should think for ourselves.  In this case, we have a responsibility not to magnify Palin's error by following her advice.

Joseph Ashby is a talk radio host in Wichita, Kan. and the creator of some of the world's most popular home videos.  Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.