Skip to comments.Palin, Populism and Potential...(MSM &dRAT hatred of Sarah Palin may be the key to future)
Posted on 12/30/2008 8:07:53 AM PST by IrishMike
What made the Democrats hate Sarah Palin may be the key to future Republican success.
My recent participation in several Conservative on-line networks has led me to some interesting questions regarding the future of American politics, along with what has happened to the Republican Party and why. Of particular interest to some of the people I have contacted has been the question of why the Left hates Sarah Palin so much. Others were more focused on possibilities for the future and were concentrating on organizing within the Party. After some consideration of a number of issues, it occurred to me that several may be linked, and that there might be a solution to more than one question found in examining some of what we can see, post-election. Here then, are some thoughts related to my observations and what they might mean for the future.
When people wanted to know why the political left hated Sarah Palin so profoundly it me to examine carefully who Governor Palin was, or what she did that could lead to such a reaction. I believe that a significant part of the answer lies with a political philosophy known as populism. A reasonable definition of populism is a political movement by a large number of common people against a set of elites (or perhaps elitists) who deprive them of the rights, values and prosperity that they would and should enjoy under the doctrine of popular sovereignty. It has, in general, become identified with any political movement that seeks to overturn a socio/political status quo because that status quo does not serve the best interests of the people and their identification with the nation.
When I first became acquainted with Sarah Palin I was convinced thatshe could be identified as a Conservative Populist; a somewhat new itemon the political scene because populism has been identified for so longas the domain of the political left. Columnist Peggy Noonan apparentlyagrees with my identification but does not like Palin's approach to politics; perhaps because Noonan is out of touch with the Americanmainstream. I have been watching Noonan in the Wall Street Journal,for some time now, and am convinced that she has all but abandoned herconservative roots to surrender to big government as the wave of thefuture, and the good of the nation be damned.
Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee has also been identified as a Conservative Populist in, for example, The Weekly Standard where he was called the only conservative who was speaking to the needs of the lower middle class. While no one should seriously dispute this it should be noted that Huckabee was identified in this role in January 2008, early in the election year.
What Palin and Huckabee faced, was that unfortunate fact that the Democrats had grabbed hold of populism with both hands and weren’t about to let go. Their brand of populism differed from Huckabee and Palin’s because they approached the voters with promises of handouts and guarantees of security in exchange for power. This is a strain of false populism, based on further elevating a group of elites and elitists that differed from the conservative approach which, according to The Weekly Standard sought to promote a middle class that was “industrious and striving, family-oriented, culturally conservative, religious, and patriotic.” It was exactly the opposite of what the Democrats wanted; dependency, little or no regard for the family, for traditional religion or for true patriotism as was defined by men and women who backed the war effort from 1942 through 1945.
Sarah Palin was, at least in part, an antidote to the Democrat stranglehold on populist rhetoric, and Democrat Party operatives recognized that. They had to discredit her and render her ineffective as quickly as possible or she might have stolen the election. In many respects, this anti-Palin campaign manifested in the minds of many of her supporters as “hate,” and given the attitude that many hard left Democrats have demonstrated during the last quarter century; that anyone who does not share their beliefs has no legitimate right to be heard, this belief is reasonable. Also, the fact that Sarah Palin manifested as an antidote to the Democrats’ false populism, as a someone who can capture a significant following leads us to an important conclusion; that there is a market for Conservative Populism in the American Electorate, if it has the right candidate to follow.
What should also be clear is that Sarah Palin has provided Republicans and Conservatives with a roadmap. It is a roadmap that was available previously, but which the party failed to follow. It was a failure of leadership and of statesmanship, wherein the Party moved left, while failing to meaningfully address the genuine needs of the people. Instead of achieving real results they threw money around, and likely created additional problems for the future when the bills for the additional spending eventually come due. Essentially, Republicans allowed the Democrats to define the problem and the method for solving it and ended up acting like Democrat elitists. It was a no-win situation no matter how you looked at it because true conservatives would not accept this kind of behavior.
Conservative populism or true populism requires several things that many politicians are unwilling to do; they must remove unnecessary cabinet positions, deconstruct useless government departments and restore greater control to the individual citizens and to the states. They must stop incessant spending, and come to realize that there must be no such thing as an “entitlement” under the law. All of this could make a tremendous difference, but it takes statesmanship and real leadership to do it. These are qualities that are sadly lacking in most Republican politicians today. Instead of giving the people a real choice, and real differences in policy, they give voters a choice between a real Democrat and a Peggy Noonan Republican who is better defined as a Democrat pretending to be something else.
One of the most important aspects of what makes Sarah Palin different is the fact that she is not part of the traditional Eastern college, big money, Washington insider school of politics. It is likely that after two Bush family members who both fit this mold, along with John McCain who seems more at home on the Left side of the aisle than on the Right, the Republican mainstream is looking for something else. That something else appears to be someone who is from the same background they are; someone who has both feet grounded in the real world, instead of the world of elites, big money and an “inside the beltway” mentality.
In the wake of the 2008 election Conservative commentator Tammy Bruce has credited the poor Republican showing to Conservatives staying home instead of voting for John McCain. This is probably not a baseless claim. Democrats will generally vote for their candidate, regardless of circumstances. Conservatives and many Republicans will not. Despite statements by members of the talk radio crowd that John McCain had genuine conservative credentials, many people I spoke with here in the Houston area as well as those I correspond with around the nation disagreed. One of the many criticisms I heard repeatedly was that McCain was out of touch with the voters he expected to elect him. These same people were frequently of exactly the opposite opinion with respect to Palin. They saw her as someone they could trust, rather than someone likely to double-cross them.
So where does this lead us? It should lead us to the conclusion that victory in the future will most likely come by returning to the roots of the party; to middle America, and to what middle Americans want and need, instead of promising them the same things that the opposition does. It should be clear by now what they want; real differences and a real break with the do-nothing past. Senator Obama promised “change” which meant more of the same old liberal policies. Republicans can make real change by doing something different and by promoting candidates who are not insiders. It will take real efforts to do this, and it will require a shake up of the power structure that is doing its best to avoid one. This will not be easy, but it is likely the only way to restore America to what it was and pave the way for what it can and should be.
Simple..Conservative women can not be alloed to suceed. It would mess up the left wing template of women need the government to save them from evil white men.
Excellent and well-written article, and one that will never see the likes of a major, liberal newspaper.
This is what real journalism looks like, not the 8th grade “I’ve got a crush on Obama and BTW, isn’t he sooooo dreamy” crap we’ve been seeing/reading/hearing for the last two years.
Good commentary. Thank you.
There can be no doubt that Palin’s potential appeal among independent women was a major fear for the Democrats but it was here solid conservative views that truly petrified them.
Almost but not quite right. Hillary had to go also. Even a big government liberal woman could not be allowed to succeed because that would mess up the template and prove that we no longer need big government liberalism to protect the minority of the day. Liberals and the media are the most sexist of all groups in today's society. They don't want any women to succeed because that would threaten their power.
There are even posters on FR who argue that Sarah Palin is unqualified for national office because she didn't attend an Ivy League school, hails from a sparsely-populated Western state, and has no Washington experience.
Volunteers came out of the woodwork once Sarah was on the ticket. Sarah is the only thing which kept this election from being something like a 60%-40% blowout.
She spent a lot of time in southwest Pennsylvania and was the main reason our swing county went 58% for McCain.
McCain didn't even show up here-- every volunteer I talked to or worked with here in Westmoreland County was there because of Sarah.
This is NOT a Republican county. Mondale carried it during the Reagan landslide of 1984. Registered Democrats are over 60% of the voter rolls here. No Republican has ever been elected to the state house of representatives from our district since it was created in 1969 until this year.
This county is heavily Catholic, blue collar and union, more urban than rural and we saw everyone campaign here this year except McCain-- Obama, Biden, Hillary and Sarah. And guess who beat them all?
Any GOP candidate running in primaries over the next few years will kill to get Palin’s endorsement.
One website is selling bumper stickers that read, "Don't blame me--I voted for Palin"
Even The Great Man Ronald Reagan was not liked in his time for some of his populist views.
The establishment disliked Reagan...
“All great change in America begins at the dinner table.”
The Great Man Ronald Reagan
To be honest, I think that populist and socialist are the same except that the populist would like to have the Government monitor our bedrooms..
However, I'm now convinced that Sarah Palin could beat him in an election in Utah and he knows it. He may spend the next four years honing up his conservative credentials to be a VP or cabinet member (where he may actually shine), but Sarah is front runner in 2012 if she wants it.
Best of all, Sarah sucks all the oxygen out of that Judas Goat Hucksterbee. Evangelicals love her, and so do Catholics and Mormons. There is nothing Elmer Gantry or bigoted about her. She may very well be Teddy Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan in a skirt.
I’m not anti-elites on principle, it’s just that for a nation this great we should have much better elites than ones we have.
We should have elites that love this nation, its culture, its constitution, but we have the opposite.
Those are the very qualities that attracted me to her in the first place.