Rand Wins, America Loses

I’ve put a lot of effort here and on NewsReal into defending Sarah Palin from various attacks.

Tonight, I regret every word of it.

Thanks in no small part to her endorsement (as well as that of James Dobson, Jim DeMint, & Erick Erickson), the deranged Rand Paul won the Kentucky GOP’s Senate nomination (more on Paul’s hideous record here and here).

Palin’s celebration of Paul’s victory on tonight’s “Hannity” consisted entirely of empty blather straight out of the Paul camp’s press releases: the grassroots are rising up, the establishment better take notice, blah blah blah.  Does she know anything about Paul’s record?  About how he’s diametrically opposed to her own views on national security?

Some of you who don’t share Paul’s affinity for appeasement or his tolerance of bigotry might nevertheless think Paul’s win is no big deal, because he only has one vote and most foreign policy will be set by the executive branch.  But first, consider that Democrats campaign for keeps – we all know the lengths to which Democrats will go to falsely smear conservatives as extremists; just imagine the field day they’ll have with all of the real dirt in Rand’s closet.  I predict a Democrat victory in the general election.

Second, odds are that more than a few mushy Republican pols and would-be candidates will interpret Paul’s win, and his legitimization by other mainstream “true” conservatives, as an indication that it’s okay and/or smart politics to tack left on defense issues.  Do we really want two pro-appeasement political parties?

I hope Jim DeMint is rewarded with the primary challenge of his life.  And Sarah Palin has proven that she does not deserve the presidency.

Why Is Sarah Palin Endorsing Ron Paul’s Son?

Y’know what I love? Devoting several hundred words to defending somebody, then watching that person turn around and do something stupid.  But sadly, that’s exactly what just happened with Sarah Palin.  Via the Other McCain, she has endorsed Rand Paul in Kentucky’s GOP primary for the 2010 Senate race.

Yeah, the son of that guy.  Rand may not come across as droolingly-insane as Daddy Dumbest, and in fact is a little more hawkish (he supports Afghanistan), but his foreign policy judgment is still foolish and simplistic, including opposition to the Iraq War and paranoia over the military-industrial complex.

(For what it’s worth, there’s a website dedicated to tearing down Rand as “Too Kooky for Kentucky.”  Not having followed the race until now, I can’t vouch for its substance, and I have to admit that I get a LGF-esque “guilt-by-association” vibe from some of their stuff, but there it is.)

What does Palin think of the fact that Rand’s foreign policy views differ from her own?  Does this mean victory in Iraq isn’t as big a priority for her after all?  Is she at all concerned about giving mainstream credibility, however indirect, to Rand’s deranged father?  What is so important about this race that it’s worth the PR headaches of associating yourself with the nuts of the party?

If it’s merely because Rand’s an “outsider” like she is, then maybe, just maybe, liberals are more right about her intellect than any of us would like to admit…

Paul Mulshine: Moron

Prior to seeing his latest column linked at Hot Air’s headlines, I’ve never heard of Paul Mulshine.  Upon reading it, I’ve determined that’s a good thing.

Mulshine has “got a creepy feeling Sarah Palin’s a socialist.”  Okay, he gets points for coming up with an attack we haven’t heard before, but socialist?  How does he figure?  By quoting Palin’s now-infamous “death panel” statement, in which she says:

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

Somehow, Mulshine concludes Palin’s “central thesis” to be “that Medicare should indeed provide essentially unlimited coverage for Palin’s child as well as her parents.”  Next comes a lengthy lecture on Ronald Reagan & the free market, which is all well & good—except for the fact that it’s a complete non-sequitur.  Palin’s “central thesis” exists only in Mulshine’s imagination.  As would be obvious to anyone with an IQ above that of a toaster, she was discussing what she thought would happen under a government-run, single payer healthcare system—y’know, when nobody but the government is there to cover anyone?

Not once does Palin indicate she believes paid healthcare for all is a right.  In fact, let’s turn Mulshine’s challenge to Palin supporters to “find the slightest indication on her Facebook pages that Palin realizes she is responsible for paying for her children’s health care” around on him—prove your assertion that she doesn’t, Paul.  Oh, and this time, remember to show your work.

More examples of Mulshine’s crappy reading skills can be found in his observation that Palin “seems to be assuming that [baby Trig’s] care comes under the Medicare law,” despite the fact that Palin never mentions Medicare or Trig’s current healthcare; and this gem: “Unless I miss the plain meaning of her words, Palin is arguing that it is evil for the taxpayers to deny anyone any coverage ‘to reduce the growth in health care spending,’ as she put it in a later post.”  But if you read the post he’s referencing, you’ll see that phrase isn’t Palin’s at all—she’s quoting the “stated purpose” of HR 3200, Section 1233, in the process of analyzing what the legislation says.  Brother, you’ve missed the plain meaning of all her words.

This article did make me ask questions, though.  Questions like, how could a self-described conservative author such a train wreck? And then I saw the bottom of the page, where Mulshine approvingly links to a Ron Paul video.  Ah.  Now I see…

It’s a good thing Paul Mulshine’s “Pre-emptive Moron Perspective Alert” to his commenters doesn’t come until the end of his article.  Any higher and it would have disqualified his own commentary.

PS: Andy McCarthy, Thomas Sowell and Mark Steyn think Sarah Palin was right to warn America about the prospect of “death panels,” and even a couple liberal, pro-Obama advocates of nationalized healthcare have conceded there’s cause for concern with the current legislation.

Sarah Palin and the Quitter Factor

Following up on my first and second posts about Sarah Palin’s departure from the Alaska governorship, there’s one remaining element to be considered: the “quitter factor.”  Is she abandoning her obligation to her state by not completing the term of office she was elected to?

In theory, you could say so, but in practice, Alaska is still getting the administration they voted for—incoming governor Sean Parnell seems to share Palin’s views and priorities.  Palin argues that stepping down is best for her state, as doing so will spare Alaska the financial strain of further ethics woes (these frivolous charges have cost Alaska nearly $2 million so far, and they’re still coming), and Parnell will be able to focus on state business rather than these investigations.  Again, in practice this is all probably true.  I don’t think Palin’s decision hurts Alaska at all, but it may have other unintended ramifications.

Predictably, some are questioning whether Palin can take the heat of modern American politics.  Unfair though it may be (she showed admirable resilience during the 2008 campaign, and at a minimum, we know she’s going to hit the campaign trail for conservative politicians and speak out against Obama’s policies, subjecting herself to more attacks), it’s a line of argument Palin herself has invited by citing the attacks as one of her reasons for resigning.  Only time will reveal her true mettle, though—if the pit bull in lipstick remains in the thick of the fight, whether campaigning for like-minded pols or especially as a presidential contender herself, it ought to put this meme to rest for good.

Perhaps most problematic is the message her departure may have telegraphed to the Left.  There is a danger that they will look at this and conclude, “we managed to get a sitting governor to resign,” and feel emboldened to repeat these tactics across the country.  That’s the last thing any of us should want, and even if the attacks did factor into Palin’s decision, it was a mistake to publicly attribute her resignation to them in any part.  These people will pounce upon even the slightest appearance of weakness.

I would love to see Sarah Palin prove the critics wrong and to see her post-office contributions to America dwarf anything she could have done as governor of Alaska.  But right now, the best I can say is that time will tell.

More Thoughts on Sarah Palin

A few days have passed since Sarah Palin announced she’s leaving the governorship, more pundits have thrown in their two cents: Mark Steyn seems to think she’s really out of politics for good, while Victor Davis Hanson advances the 2016 theory.  I’d like to expand upon my initial reaction with a closer look at each theory, as well as the pros and cons of what she’s done so far.

Theory: Preemptive damage control for a new, major scandal

We can probably dismiss this one without much concern.  The FBI has said they have “no investigation into Palin for her activities as governor, as mayor or in any other capacity,” and really—what more can be said that hasn’t already been said about her?  I mean, once we’ve crossed the “you didn’t give birth to your own son” threshold…

Theory: She’s leaving politics behind for a permanent return to private life

Steyn floats this theory on the basis that Palin entered public life in a very different, less cutthroat political culture than the one she found at the national level:

In states far from the national spotlight, politics still attracts normal people. You’re a mayor or a state senator or even the governor, but you lead a normal life. The local media are tough on you, but they know you, they live where you live, they’re tough on the real you, not on some caricature cooked up by a malign alliance of late-night comics who’d never heard of you a week earlier and media grandees supposedly on your own side who pronounce you a “cancer.”

Then suddenly you get the call from Washington. You know it’ll mean Secret Service, and speechwriters, and minders vetting your wardrobe. But nobody said it would mean a mainstream network comedy host doing statutory rape gags about your 14-year old daughter. You’ve got a special-needs kid and a son in Iraq and a daughter who’s given you your first grandchild in less than ideal circumstances. That would be enough for most of us. But the special-needs kid and the daughter and most everyone else you love are a national joke, and the PC enforcers are entirely cool with it.

It’s a possibility we certainly can’t dismiss—she’s got a family to care for, and heaven knows she’s been put through hell by the Left—but then how do you account for the fact that her explanation (which, sorry, had a lot of room for improvement) is chock-full of references to taking her fight in new directions and such?  If you believe she’s permanently retiring, then you also have to believe she’s misleading a whole bunch of people whom she knows adore her, and will be crushed to see her disappear.

I’ll have to see more before I accept that.  Sarah Palin’s planning something.  But what?

Theory: She is not interested in the presidency, but believes she can better fight for the country in some other, as-yet unspecified way

Possible, but unless she’s got something very specific in mind, most of the usual non-office routes she could take (book deals, speaking tours, etc.) seem to me a waste of her star power if that’s the extent of her long-term plans.  That sort of thing is good for building goodwill and keeping your image out there, but honestly, I don’t know if its audience would include more than a handful of new converts.  In other words, they can be means to an end, but if Palin intends them as the end, I’m afraid her efforts will yield less than she hopes.  A Senate run?  Maybe, but I don’t think an early leave for one Alaska office is exactly the best foundation for seeking another one…

Whatever she has in mind, I think it’s vital that she reveals it sooner rather than later.  If she wants to be a Republican or conservative leader, she can’t leave her followers in the dark as to her intentions.  They can’t be left waiting in the wings for a cause that’s never going to materialize, and if they’ll need to look elsewhere for leadership, they need to know.

Theory: She plans to run for president

I still think this is the most likely.  But when?  Hanson says:

In the long run, she can lecture, earn a good income through speaking, develop a coterie of advisers and supporters, take care of her family, not have the constant political warring on all flanks, and invest time in reflecting and studying issues, visit the country, meet leaders, etc. She’s not looking at 2012; but in eight years by 2016 she will be far more savvy, still young, and far more experienced. It matters not all that the Left writes her off as daffy, since they were going to do that whatever she did; the key is whether she convinces conservatives in eight years of travel and reflection that she’s a charismatic Margaret Thatcher-type heavyweight.

I don’t think so.  Getting a head start on the next race is one thing, but eight years is overkill—she can still do a lot towards building her credentials and her ally list in three and a half.  Hanson’s comments do highlight the fact that she’ll have ample opportunities even if the upcoming election doesn’t pan out.  But I think that the stars are aligning for 2012, if she wants it.  The Right is clamoring for a true leader to stand up to Obama’s disastrous agenda, and none of the other would-be names in the field are distinguishing themselves (though, for reasons I may elaborate on in a later post, I think Mike Huckabee could be surprisingly formidable).  With the numbers looking worse still for Obamanomics, a charismatic, passionate voice that can unite the opposition and articulate conservative alternatives is The One’s worst nightmare.  Sarah Palin has a gift for communication that could give her just the edge she needs to take him down.

Yes, she’ll need to work on her policy expertise in areas in which she’s had less experience, chiefly foreign affairs and the judiciary.  But that’s certainly doable, as is surrounding herself with high-caliber advisors.  She’ll have to be careful who she listens to—just because some conservatives have constructive criticism to offer doesn’t mean they have sinister ulterior motives (the last thing we need is a repeat of the Fredhead fiasco).  And again, she’s got to make her intentions clear soon.  Forget the conventional wisdom—if you’re running for president, say so.

There’s a lot we don’t know, and it’s too early to crown her the new queen of the conservative movement.  But if Sarah Palin’s willing to put in the effort, Barack Obama’s reign of error could come crashing down sooner than he thinks.

Palin 2012 Begins Today? (Updated)

Sarah Palin just shocked everyone by announcing that she is stepping down as governor of Alaska at the end of the month, before her first term in office is even up.  From what I can tell between her official statement and her brother’s remarks to Fox News, she’s citing the following reasons:

– her administration has largely accomplished in 2 years what they promised to do in 4

– fighting the onslaught of false & frivolous ethics complaints has become so costly to Alaskan taxpayers and consumed so much of her and her staff’s time that state business has inevitably gotten the short end of the stick

– she doesn’t feel she can do any good as a lame-duck governor, and new Governor Scott Parnell will ultimately be better for the state

– she feels she can best serve the country by fighting for conservative causes and individuals in as-yet unspecified ways

We’ll have to wait to see what she does post-office to know for sure, but it smells to me like Sarah Palin is running for President of the United States.

Jim Geraghty says her career is good as dead, and Morrissey & Co. are not amused, while Bill Kristol thinks stepping down could be shrewd.  I more or less agree with Kristol’s high-risk/high-reward assessment.  She’s risking criticisms that she can’t take the heat of the opposition and that she’s abandoning Alaska to her own ambition (between now and November 2010 is long for a “lame duck” period), both charges that could have been avoided by waiting out the rest of her term.  On the other hand, I have no doubt that the cost of fighting the smear campaign, both to the state and to the Palin family, is tremendous.  If she spends the next couple years boning up on foreign policy and genuinely fighting for conservative causes (Mitt Romney made a similar pledge, but his follow-through has been underwhelming so far), it’ll be time well spent, and she’ll be a formidable candidate come campaign season.  The Democrats have surely noticed slipping support for Barack Obama’s policies, and they can’t be thrilled at the prospect of somebody with Palin’s popularity and communication skills, free from the shackles of public office, becoming a regular spokeswoman against The One.

I also want to note one thing that caught my eye: Palin’s pledge to support good candidates regardless of “what party they’re in or no party at all.”  Could that be a warning that she won’t take lightly to liberalizing the Republican Party, and is willing to take her chances as an independent conservative?  Maybe I’m reading too much into a mere rhetorical bone thrown to bipartisanship, but resercons should tread lightly…

If nothing else, we can thank Sarah Palin for this: she got the talking heads to shut up about Michael Jackson for the longest period yet since he died.

UPDATE: Allah thinks she’s out of luck for 2012 but is really angling for 2016.  I doubt it—if she’s waiting another four years, then that would be all the more reason to finish her current term.  Naturally, speculation abounds that this is preemptive damage control for an impending monster scandal (maybe Dr. Sullivan has finally cracked the Trig case!).  I’m skeptical (of course the nutroots are gonna take the most disastrous possible option), but we’ll see.

UPDATE 2: Full disclosure: in retrospect, I think my early declarations that “Palin 2012 Begins Today” (sans “?”) and that there was little doubt left about her presidential plans were impulsive and premature, and I have changed this post accordingly.