Thursday, January 12, 2012
Sarah Palin: Conservative "Elder" Statesman
Sarah Palin is acting like a conservative elder statesman at a time when other conservative leaders are throwing brickbats at top conservative candidates. She stands up for and highlights the conservative reasonableness of the candidates when other conservatives are criticizing them.
In contrast, National Review (which managed to take out four conservatives with one swipe), Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and lesser conservative lights have bashed one or more of the conservative candidates for one reason or other.
Compare Palin's response to the supposed anti-capitalist statements of Gingrich and Perry against Romney. First, she put them in the context of the harsh attack ads unleashed by Romney supporters against Gingrich in Iowa. Second, she pointed out the reasonableness of asking for proof when past business experience is used to claim ability to spur job creation as president. Third, she pointed out the importance of Republicans vetting the candidates hard enough to prevent an October surprise by the Democrats to swing the election at the last minute (as almost happened to George W. Bush).
Palin also points out strengths of the conservatives. For Perry it's his job creation success in Texas when the rest of the nation is crying for jobs. For Ron Paul it's his fiscal conservatism and realizing that a bankrupt nation cannot be a militarily strong nation nor can the U.S. afford to intervene in other nation's affairs when it can't even fund its own affairs. (This reminds of Senator Rand Paul's statement: “If you ask the American people if we should borrow money from China to give it to another foreign country, they look at you like you have three eyes”.) Palin also has warned against marginalizing Ron Paul and his supporters.
As to Speaker Gingrich's new strategy of attacking Romney, she didn't call it "angry" or "vindictive" as other commentators did. Governor Palin noted that the only way to win an election is to go on offense--especially after having "faced millions and millions of dollars in negative ads being run against them. You know, they kind of bucked up, and they said, 'Well we’re going to take some shots at the front runner who had just taken shots at us', via his superpac."
Governor Palin is showing herself as a defender of conservative values and conservative candidates in a way no other major conservative voice is doing. Having received incoming hits from conservative critics on everything except her political positions, Palin has taken Reagan's 11th commandment (say no evil of a fellow Republican) and is applying it wholesale to conservatives as well as to moderate Republicans (though, like Reagan, a bit more lightly to the latter).
At this point, Palin is the only major conservative figure playing the elder statesman role. She keeps growing into bigger and bigger boots and dwarfing other conservative "leaders". It seems she was right in saying that she could accomplish more by staying out of the presidential race than by running--at least for now.
UPDATE: Palin also stood up for Donald Trump. She's not allowing any conservative (other than conspiracy nuts, racists and the like) to be painted as "crazy" or someone to dismiss without addressing their arguments. Palin stands up for them even when they have conflicting positions and arguments. This is like William F. Buckley, Jr., who held together a broad coalition of conservatives with differing views but a central core.