Skip to comments.Republicans Should Reexamine the Public Good of Private Citizens
Posted on 07/07/2009 6:37:26 AM PDT by Al B.
I would think, if you want to run for president and I'm not sure that's got anything to do with what she's doing that the forum of a governorship would be a better forum than just being a private citizen" -- Senator Chuck GrassleyIn that phrase, just being a private citizen, Senator Grassley encapsulates both why Sarah Palin is so phenomenally appealing to the Republican base and how divorced the national Republican apparatus is from the core values of party members.
Is it necessary to say that the good senator, now 28 years in Washington, D.C., has it precisely reversed? That Republicans believe that the bosses are the private citizens, that the people who work in D.C. and the state capitals are employees who the private citizens have hired to manage their affairs for a period of time.
Such aggrandizement of governmental office is unbecoming a conservative. A slew of people have given up their positions in mid-term to take offices offered by President Obama. Nobody batted an eye. Yet the same USA Today in which Sen. Grassley was quoted above also quotes Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski as saying that Palins actions mean she has "decided to abandon the state and her constituents"--a critique Senator Murkowski never expressed toward Hillary Clinton when she resigned mid-term as a senator from New York to serve as Secretary of State.
One could say that Senator Murkowski has sour grapes because Sarah Palin defeated her father in a Republican primary. Yet she never would have said it if Governor Palin had resigned to be Secretary of State. That would have made sense as she would have continued to serve the people.
In fact if there were a Republican administration in Washington and Sarah Palin resigned to take the most minor cabinet office, it would make sense to the D.C. power brokers, as she would be moving from the fringes of American politics out in distant Alaska to the center.
But the base of the Republican party does not believe that one can only serve the public good by being a government employee.
When Ronald Reagan explained that government cant solve the problem, government is the problem, he was not expressing some kind of the state, my enemy philosophy, he was just explaining that the solutions to our problems will not come, cannot come, from the government; it is only the imagination and industry of the citizenry that can build our future.
When Sarah Palin leaves behind the administrative tasks of government to fight for what she believes in as a private citizen, she can only be seen to be abandoning her state and constituents if one believes that only government employees can serve the common good.
This is a crucial learning moment for the D.C. Republicans. The core constituency of the party does not think of themselves as selfish brutes working in the private sector without regard for their country. This massive base thinks that by paying the taxes and doing the work, starting the businesses and rearing the children, caring for their parents and fighting the wars, they are doing the crucial stuff that sustains our country, protects our freedom and builds our prosperity.
Will this decision make it more likely that Sarah Palin will become president? The answer, of course, depends on two things we cant know right now:
First, we will never know what Sarah Palin would have done with the governorship of Alaska. It seems reasonable enough to think that she had become so high profile that the Democrats, and some Republicans, would have done anything to block her from achieving success. So by passing the baton to a man who is ideologically in sync with her, but who also wont face the opposition she would have since he is unlikely to be a national star, she is doing a service for the people of Alaska.
Second, we dont know what she will do in the private sector. Will she write a thoughtful book? Become a syndicated columnist whose ideas make her a must read for everyone? Will she found an important new think tank? An important journal? Spearhead an effort to help the unemployed? Decide to launch a business? Or maybe she will start a new political party?
Inconceivable as it must be to many in Washington, D.C., there are still corners of this Republic in which people dont think that issuing orders and spending other peoples money is a dream job. Maybe Sarah Palin thinks she can change the world without becoming president. Maybe she is deeply and authentically conservative and isnt certain that aiming to change the world is such a good idea.
Perhaps she is mentally healthy enough to think she is not indispensable in the halls of government. She wants to raise her children and thinks she can do so while also making a contribution to the public arena by working in the private sector. If one day there will be another call to serve in public office, she will think about it then.
This is a thought process shocking only to those who are pathological in pursuit of power or who have simply divorced themselves from the great stream of American life which, mostly and thankfully happens far away from Washington, D.C.
If her resignation gives the Republican establishment pause to think about their attitude toward those who are just being a private citizen, then Sarah Palin may have already begun a revolution in politics of enormous proportions.
Who said they would rather be governed by the first 10 names in a phone book than all the faculty at Harvard or something like that??
Reminds me of the comments from various GOP senators referring to Rush as “not a recognized GOP official” concerning his comments on the Sotomayor nomination. These turds have lost all sense of how they were placed into authority and who they are ultimately responsible to.
[Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski as saying that Palins actions mean she has “decided to abandon the state and her constituents”—a critique Senator Murkowski never expressed toward Hillary Clinton when she resigned mid-term as a senator from New York to serve as Secretary of State.]
I also didn’t hear anyone saying this of that witch Kathleen Sebelius.
An interesting argument, but it presumes that when someone actually RUNS for an office that has a term, that doing so does not imply the commitment to actually serve the term, barring something that obviously requires you to move on.
In general, if I work for a candidate to get them elected, I expect them to do the job. I understand that if they run for another office and get elected, they will have to leave — if McCain/Palin had won, nobody would be criticizing her for leaving the Governorship since she would have to do so to be VP.
So while we can argue the merits of her decision, or how much it really hurts or helps Alaska (I leave that to Alaskans), I really don’t think those who have said she was wrong say so because they have an obsession with public service.
As to Grassley’s comment, I do want the person I pick for President to have a lot of executive experience. Running a large corporation, or a large organization, would be a substitute for being in public leadership, but I’d like there to be leadership somewhere. McCain had it just a bit because he was an officer in the military. Obama had no leadership, and it shows now.
I don’t think I would ever support a person running for the President who didn’t have executive experience. Being Governor of Alaska was good executive experience, but 4 years would be better than 2.
The GOP needs to dump all these old geezers, molding away in their D.C. offices for decades, in the next primaries. They are totally irrelevant and useless to the survival of our nation.
I have been battling close relatives all week who are talking crap about her "quitting", being "unstable", and all the rest of the garbage.
My final argument to these fools is that she can be trusted with power. And this article is as good as any in showing that......she walked away from power and perks for the higher good
My only problem the last few days has been no patience with anyone who doesn't see it my way with SP.....I guess I'm getting old and cranky...it's going to be a long 3 yrs!
Hang in there FRiend. I’ve got a lib sister so I can identify. Can’t stop loving her, can’t lock her in a padded room or anything, so we just pray for her...LOL. She’s deaf to any rational discussion of politics.
CharlesWayneCT: “Being Governor of Alaska was good executive experience, but 4 years would be better than 2.”
Then you’re not buying her argument that she would do more harm to Alaska by staying rather than turning it over to another competent person? Plus you think she should operate at an extreme disadvantage, if she chooses to run for president in 2012, by trying to operate a campaign out of Alaska? And, you think she would be able to run such a campaign, serve her state, and take care of her family?
How many politicians have you know that have “served” in an office while campaigning. McCain didn’t resign as a senator, but do you honestly think he was serving his state well at the time he was campaigning?
Sarah doesn’t conform to typical political behaviors, and that’s exactly why I’m starting to like her more and more. I don’t care if she’s some deep conservative intellectual. I’m more impressed that she IS conservative.
Thanks for saying that, I've been feeling the same way. Look at the fools who cling to every powerful position they can backstab their way up to (nearly every pol in DC, and most in state govt). On the other hand here is someone who can walk away from a powerful position. I don't see that as being a quitter (unlike most of the talking heads), I see that as someone who has principles. The fact that all of the establishment (D and R) is against this move tells me that it was the correct decision. I suspect many of our founding fathers would agree. See the 3rd Principle in The 5000 Year Leap.
The swearing in of Al Franken as a US Senator surely calls in to question any “experience” factor of being in public service.
Certainly, many politicians in Wash DC have quite condescending perceptions of citizens, but Grassley is not one of them. Sen. Grassley is one of the few good guys and a role model for politicians. 99 more of him and the nation’s governance would be in very good hands.
As a point of reference, she already served through 3 of 4 legislative terms; leaving her hand-picked successor a full legislative session to have under his belt for his own election campaign.
Now that Palin is not an elected official, the Republicans in power have no way to influence or control her through political means.
First, I agree wholeheartedly with the thesis of the article. Just a few days ago, I heard (for the umpteenth time) from a liberal co-worker that BHO was qualified for President because he attended Harvard. I have met and talked with Harvard, Yale, and Princeton graduates holding BA, Master’s, and Ph.D. degrees (I hold a Ph.D. of my own) — trust me, they are nothing to write home about. Some of them were dumber than a sack of bricks when it involved any topic outside their chosen area of study. That level of ignorance, however, was more than offset by their degree of arrogance.
That is one of the reasons that I voted for Sarah. The Presidency is not, nor should it be, the province of some self-selected elite. We are not living in Plato’s Republic, wherein a power-hungry, “golden” caste inherits for itself the right to rule over all.
The second point is this: Palin’s resignation has its closest parallel in the acts of Cincinnatus. And that, by itself, recommends her to the highest Office in the land. It harkens back to the acts of George Washington, who refused to continue in office beyond the time deemed appropriate. Palin has my admiration and respect, and this latest action on her part merely cements my opinion of her.
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