Laura Ingraham interviewed Governor Palin yesterday on her radio show. In the interview, Ingraham played a clip of Barbara Bush telling Larry King that Palin should stay in Alaska and not run for the nomination. Barbara Bush’s "advice" is very similar to what Mona Charen had said in a hit-piece earlier this week when she admonished Governor Palin to "not run" for the Republican nomination. Palin had a very interesting and, I would argue, insightful response to Barbara Bush’s tasteless and classless dissing.
I don’t want to concede that we have to get used to this kind of thing, because I don’t think the majority of Americans want to put up with the blue-bloods — and I want to say it with all due respect because I love the Bushes — the blue bloods who want to pick and choose their winners instead of allowing competition.
Governor Palin makes an excellent point here. By correctly identifying the Bush’s as "blue-bloods" she has, in her inimitable way, cut through all the fog that surrounds the Republican establishment’s efforts to stop her. I have yet to hear one conservative criticize any of her policy prescriptions. It’s not like she hasn’t been sharing them repeatedly over the past year and a half. Via Facebook, op-eds, and television appearances we’ve heard more solid policy prescriptions and refudiations of Obama’s policies than all the other potential Republican candidates combined, multiplied by five (at least).
Monetary policy: check. A common sense political strategy for the new Congress: check. An energy policy that would actually move us toward energy independence: check. Iraq: check. Taxes: check. Union thuggery: check. Obama’s hypocrisy and incompetence: check and check. Media bias: check. Racism: check. Obamacare, check: Cap and Tax: check. Peace through strength: check. Israel: check. Securing the border: check. Financial reform: check. The ticking time bomb of lavish tax-payer financed pensions for state employee unions: check.
I could go on and on, but you get the point. Many beltway Republicans continue to insist that Governor Palin lacks substance, and needs to go back to Alaska, "put her head down", and study the issues. How can anyone claim that she hasn’t been doing just that with a straight face? Show me one other prominent Republican who has weighed in on half as many important issues facing our country over the past two years as Governor Palin. In fact, why limit ourselves to prominent Republicans? Show me any Republican who has been as out front on the important issues of the day as Governor Palin. The fact is, that’s impossible because there isn’t anyone. Those who continue to aver that she needs to study the issues are living in an alternate reality.
The fact is, her positions on the issues are right there for everyone to see and, more importantly, are unassailable. If they weren’t, the GOP establishment, whose goal is "stopping Sarah Palin", would be using those positions to do just that. But they aren’t. Their modus operandi is to pretend she has no substantive positions on the issues and therefore shouldn’t run. To summarize, the Republican Party has a potential presidential candidate who is right on all the issues, has far more charisma than any Republican since Reagan (perhaps even more), has an army of supporters who will literally crawl through broken glass for her should she run, and will have no problem raising the money it will take to compete with the Obama money machine.
And yet they don’t even want her to compete for the nomination.
Why not? Governor Palin’s blue blood characterization of Barbara Bush provides the key. She’s not one of them. In the minds of establishment Republicans, actual conservative ideas and principles mean far less than coming from the right family or going to the correct schools (see Mike Castle). Thomas Sowell made this very point right after the 2008 election when it was revealed that many elitist Republicans praised Obama, in some cases even voted for him, while at the same time wishing Governor Palin would go back to Alaska and fade away:
…the conservative intellectuals who seize upon President Obama’s pragmatism to give him the benefit of the doubt are obviously bending over backward for some reason.
With Governor Palin, it is just the opposite. The conservative intelligentsia who react against her have remarkably little to say that will stand up to scrutiny. People who actually dealt with her, before she became a national figure, have expressed how much they were impressed by her intelligence.
Governor Palin’s "inexperience" is a talking point that might have some plausibility if it were not for the fact that Barack Obama has far less experience in actually making policies than Sarah Palin has. Joe Biden has had decades of experience in being both consistently wrong and consistently a source of asinine statements.
The same criticisms blue-blood Republicans are leveling at Governor Palin now were leveled at Ronald Reagan in the late 70s. In the 1980 Republican primaries, the eastern establishment lined up solidly behind George H.W. Bush. Bush famously ridiculed Reagan’s free-market economic ideas as "voodoo economics" and the blue-bloods applauded. Bush was one of them and Reagan, despite being a former Governor of California, was nothing but a cowboy; a former "B movie" actor who shared the screen with a chimpanzee named Bonzo.
These are the same folks who would now like to see Governor Palin disappear. They would rather lose to Obama in 2012 with a generic, finger-to-the wind candidate simply because he speaks with the right accent, went to the right schools, and comes from the right family, than win with a mere "commoner" like Governor Palin. To them, having the right pedigree is far more important than being right on the issues and having the intelligence and charisma to communicate the message to the masses.
Governor Palin also mentioned the idea of competition in her interview. Republicans claim to be the party of free markets and competition. Shouldn’t this concept apply to politics as well as business? If they are so confident in their candidates and ideas, why not defend them in open and competitive primaries? Why is the establishment so frantic in their efforts to prevent Governor Palin from even competing?
The answer is obvious. The Republican establishment in Washington is no more interested in actual competition than are the oil companies who control Alaska. Competition is messy and produces unpredictable results (like Ronald Reagan in 1980). This is an unacceptable risk for the blue bloods who deign themselves entitled to power. For that reason, they prefer to rig the game before it’s played. This is not complicated. They don’t want Governor Palin to enter the primary because they fear her. They know that if she throws her hat in the ring, she’s very likely to win, a point I made in a previous post. And when she wins, their Cocktail Party will be over.
The establishment claims she doesn’t deserve to enter the primary because she "lacks substance" or something. But that argument is as ludicrous as it is untenable. She has been substantively and vigorously challenging Obama and his disastrous policies with numerous and detailed policy prescriptions for the past two years (see above). Substance has nothing to do with it: it’s all about class. She’s not one of them. What substantive actions have they taken to stop Obama’s disastrous transformation of America or to promote conservative ideals and candidates? Whose idea was Dede Scozzafava or Charlie Crist? Ironically, by using substance as a ruse to attack Governor Palin’s class, they have exposed themselves as having neither while illuminating the fact that she has both.
While Governor Palin was the field commander for the Republicans in their historic mid-term blowout, all the establishment could do was sit on their hands in the bleachers and snipe at the manner in which she led the battle. In an effort to minimize her pivotal role in the election, they were obliged to make the demonstrably phony argument that she was "responsible" for the failure of Republicans to take the Senate. The Republican sweep occurred in spite of the establishment, not because of it. If these spineless Republican insiders had expended half as much effort trying to defeat Obama’s policies and promote conservative candidates as they have trying to knee-cap Governor Palin, maybe Obamacare could have been stopped…and maybe the GOP would have captured the Senate. Governor is Palin is enormously capable, but she can’t carry the entire party on her shoulders.
Blue blood Republicans believe they’re entitled to lead the conservative movement by virtue of their pedigree, and that nobody else need apply. But they’re not conservatives, and they aren’t entitled to anything other than the right to compete for our vote in the arena of ideas. So too are those whose blood is not blue, something GOP elites are loathe to accept. But they have no choice. Real conservatives, led by Governor Palin, are in the process of taking back the conservative movement and, despite their misguided efforts, there’s nothing the establishment can do to stop it.
In her interview with Ingraham, Palin made clear that she understands who and what these people are, and that she won’t play their game. She reinforced this point in another interview yesterday, this time with Tammy Bruce. The blue bloods have demonstrated over the past 22 years that they can’t be trusted to lead. That leaves them two choices: follow or get the hell out of the way.
Update: RINO Mark McKinnon also fears a Palin candidacy and trumpets the same tired establishment narrative.