Saturday, January 02, 2010

A Conservative Viewpoint
- There’s Something About Palin

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

What is it about Sarah Palin? Whether you love her, hate her or are ambivalent, this much is certain: she’s not going away anytime soon. Her recently released book, “Going Rogue,” has already sold in excess of one million copies. Her publisher is preparing to print two million more.

Comparing Palin’s book sales with those of her contemporary political “scribes” is worth noting. In its first week “Going Rogue,” outsold Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “Hillary’s Living History” first week sales by 100,000 copies.

Former Vice President Al Gore’s new book on climate change, “Our Choice,” released on Nov. 3rd has sold 470,000 copies. The late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s memoir, “True Compass,” lags far behind with 169,000 book sales. And former President Bill Clinton’s book, “My Life,” published in June of `04, has sold 2.2 million copies since its release. Obviously Palin’s publishers are banking her book sales will exceed his.

The first time I began to take note of Palin was on TV last August when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., shocked everyone by announcing the little known governor from Alaska as his running mate. Up to that point no one in the media was certain who McCain would select, least of all Sarah Palin.

The governor stumbled badly early on in the campaign, especially during interviews with Katie Couric of CBS and Charlie Gibson of ABC. It appeared to some she wasn’t ready for prime time. Yet, in spite of her missteps something about Palin began to favorably resonate with millions of conservatives and moderates.

The left, including factions embedded in certain elements of the so-called mainstream media, began to incredulously and unrelentingly vilify the governor and her family at every opportunity. Scrutiny is one thing, but the slander and mud thrown by the left became obsessive-compulsive. It continues to this day. If this woman is nothing more than a novelty act or a sideshow, why does she continue to raise the ire of liberals? To paraphrase Shakespeare, “I think they protest too much!”

I can easily understand why some argued that Palin was not ready to be one heartbeat away from the presidency. One could have made a similarly compelling case against Barack Obama and his lack of qualifications to effectively serve as the nations CEO. While Palin possessed executive experience, a purported advantage over her opponents and running mate that her supporters repeatedly emphasize, in reality her political experience was minimal. Although Palin was not heading up the ticket, her inexperience along with voter unease about McCain’s advancing years, his previous health issues and the fact that some on the right found him not conservative enough, presented dicey challenges for the GOP.

Last year Palin didn’t have a world view or even a vision for the nation that I’m aware of. When McCain scooped her up out of the blue, she faced a learning curve that would have been daunting for any comparable candidate not on the national political radar.

Obama on the other hand stayed on message, articulating his vision for America and the world. Whether or not you agreed with him the prospect of change proved enough to seal the deal in November and in the process sweep enough Democrats into office to help him attempt to enact his progressive agenda.

Interestingly this agent of “change” has learned it comes with a price. Many polls have Obama’s favorability rankings tanking, including last week’s Rasmussen poll which found 53 percent of likely voters disapproving of the way he is handling his job, 43 percent of them strongly.

While there are stark ideological differences between Obama and Palin, they both posses more than an ample supply of charm and charisma. Each is capable of drawing huge crowds, even in venues far from large metropolitan media centers.

Long ago I learned an important lesson. Always sensitive to criticism, I had a very difficult time dealing with it. I would do whatever it took to win any naysayer over short of selling my soul to the devil or relenting on my principles or convictions. As a result I would not be embraced by some. While initially troubling, I’ve learned since that speaking up for what you believe in is not only personally fulfilling, but one’s duty and responsibility. Selling out your core beliefs is not compromise.

We’re seeing plenty of evidence of soul selling in Washington lately. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., compromised his pro-life beliefs last week when he promised to provide the 60th and decisive vote to pass the Senate’s health care bill, which under certain conditions will pay for abortion. In return for his vote Nelson received a “Cornhusker kickback” that has all U. S. taxpayers picking up the full tab for Nebraska’s expanded Medicaid coverage, a funding responsibility of state government.

Sarah Palin may not have the experience of other politicians nor may she be presidential timber. But her core beliefs are steady and in sync with those of many Americans. Folks who love her see something new, fresh and innocent within her 5 foot, four inches, 145 -pound frame. In Palin they also see part of themselves, fighting against a seemingly impenetrable foe with a goal of returning commonsense, principles and sanity to government.

Palin has shown she has spunk, grit, spirit and a tenacity to tell it like it is. Perhaps that’s why she seemingly intimidates many of those on the other side of the aisle who seek to discredit her at any opportunity. If Palin’s message can continue to cut through all of that muck and mire then politics as we know it might just become a thing of the past.


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