Categorized | Commentary/Editorial

Governor Palin and the Changing Rules of the Establishment

Authors from several publications– the Atlantic, Commentary and the Washington Post have finally caught up on the political history of the past 5+ years–Governor Palin had an excellent record during her tenure. For some reason, the Atlantic writer, Joshua Green, finally realized in May of 2011 what Governor Palin accomplished as an oil and gas commissioner in 2003-2004 and as Governor 2006-2009. She took on the corruption in her own party in both roles. She revamped the oil taxation plan in Alaska by cleaning up the corruption of her predecessor and helping leave Alaska with what is currently a $12 billion state surplus. She initiated a natural gas pipeline project,bringing it further than any of her predecessors. John Podhoretz at Commentary and Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post concede Green’s points in articles they write using Green’s piece as a springboard.

The concessions and praise end there, however, aside from backhanded compliments regarding her political talent. These authors then go on to trash Governor Palin’s actions during the past nearly two years. Green labeled Governor Palin as the embodiment of "right wing resentment"and driven by "virulent animus". Jennifer Rubin, whose tone deafness to Governor Palin’s true influence and policy prowess we have highlighted several times, asserts (wrongly of course) that Governor Palin has made the choice "to bear grudges, to forgo serious policy study, to reject the advice of all but a handful of advisers". Podhoretz, however, makes the most uncalled for and backhanded claim about Governor Palin in his piece at Commentary:

In some ways, the story of Palin is a story of temptation. Rather than sticking to her guns and deepening her political credentials and her knowledge base, she embraced her celebrity instead. And in doing so, she didn’t defeat her critics and enemies; she capitulated to them. Listen, it’s her life and her fortune and she is free to do what she wishes with it. And there’s no telling what the future holds for anyone in America. But she had and has more raw political talent than anyone I’ve ever seen, and, alas, as phenoms go, it looks like she is headed for a Darryl Strawberry-like playing career.

William A. Jacobson has a great piece at the Legal Insurrection where he calls in to question Podhertz’s absurd comparison:

Podhoretz’s explanation, much like that of Green, pays only passing attention to the unprecedented and relentless attacks on Palin since the moment she was nominated. Attacks joined in with glee from a broad swath of the media, and most importantly, the entertainment industry which to this day cannot resist mocking Palin.

Rather than a thin skin, Palin showed a mental toughness which few if any politicians could muster in the face of the cultural, political and journalistic forces aligned against her from the get-go.

By using the analogy of the Darryl Strawberry, who truly self destructed from drug addiction, Podhoretz not only uses a bad analogy, he piles on with a cheap shot.

And I have zero tolerance for that.

As Jacobson points out, Podhoretz uses a poor baseball analogy. Darryl Strawberry was an outfielder who played for several Major League baseball teams in the 80s and 90s. Strawberry showed a lot of promise in the early and mid stages his playing career, winning the National League Rookie of the Year in 1983 and being named to the All Star team eight times, before getting involved in cocaine use in 1994 and dealing with a several run ins with the law and a jail term following his career. Jacobson is right–it was both a bad analogy and a cheap shot.

It is more fitting to compare Governor Palin to Bob Gibson– an outstanding pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1959 to 1975 and one of the fiercest competitors to play the game. Gibson had a storied playing career racking up multiple all star appearances, Cy Young awards, Gold Gloves, and World Series rings and was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 1981. The 1968 season proved to be Gibson’s most successful season. He won the Cy Young, MVP, and Gold Glove awards that year by having an incredible 1.12 ERA with 22 wins (13 of them shutouts) and 268 strikeouts. However, Gibson’s dominance (along with that of a few other pitchers) led Major League baseball to lower the pitching mound from 15 inches to 10 inches following the 1968 season. Gibson’s pitching prowess led the league to change the rules, thinking he and others were too dominating on the mound. Lowering the pitching mound was intended to remove that advantage. The major league changed the rules.

The same could be said of Governor Palin. Because of her political abilities (something Podhoertz actually acknowledges) and her success, the rules changed. No longer were children off limits. No longer was policy prescience recognized. No longer were political achievements and principles compared as apples to apples with others. Instead, Governor Palin’s children have been mocked. She has been subject to never-before-seen undeserved scrutiny, vitriol, and disrespect. Her political prescience has been largely ignored by Establishment and the press. Her political achievements generally only used a a springboard for criticism while the political missteps of others are overlooked in deeming them the next GOP nominee for President.

The latest Gallup poll shows that the percentage of Republicans and Republican leaning independents view Governor Palin "favorably" or "very favorably" is 71%, which is higher than any other Republican. This is a higher percentage than those who even know who Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Mitch Daniels, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Tim Pawlenty, or Rick Santorum are. For all the criticism that the chattering class levels at her, the everyday conservative overwhelming sees her favorably. Beyond that,  the children of other potential candidates have been rightfully left alone, while Governor Palin’s son,Trig, who has Down Syndrome, has become a political prop of the hatred that the Left harbors for Governor Palin.

The intellectual dishonesty of the likes of Green, Podhoretz, and Rubin proves to be the most politically egregious aspect of their writings. They all assert in one form or another that Governor Palin has not studied up on the issues and hasn’t deepened her political understanding. Of course, this is the furthest thing from the truth. Governor Palin has been prescient on every major political issue. On the issues of foreign policy, Governor Palin has been fully cognizant of the threats of Iran, has warned of the problems of signing the START treaty with Russia, and has being rightfully skeptical of the uprising in Egypt. She is the only potential candidate to lay out a foreign policy vision for the appropriate use of force in engaging the US military. On economic issues, she has predicted the inflation that was bound to follow QE2 by the Fed and was a consistent and early critic of the Obamacare. Of course, there is no doubt that no other potential candidate can match her when it comes to energy issues. Governor Palin’s "political education" may not have retroactively involved her receiving a degree from an Ivy League school, and her recent change in foreign policy advisers now has her ties from the political Establishment essentially severed. These are the defining characteristics of true intellectual curiosity, according to the likes of the authors mentioned. Governor Palin has taken a different route, of course. She has written books highlighting her political achievements and delineating the principles that guide her personal and political decision making. She has criss crossed the United States speaking to business, trade, pro life, college, and Christian groups. She has traveled abroad speaking to groups in Hong Kong and India and engaging in humanitarian efforts in Haiti.

Despite this, Governor Palin is seen as "too unserious" to contend for the presidency. Meanwhile, Governor Romney is still defending a health care reform measure passed while he was governor of Massachusetts. It has failed with an average appointment wait time of 7 weeks and a staggeringly low number of doctors who accept the state provided insurance coverages–which has deemed him "Obama’s running mate" in a Wall Street Journal op-ed today. Governor Pawlenty’s record includes former support for cap and trade and a push for a mileage tax. One of the latest Establishment’s favorites, Governor Daniels, has called for a truce on social issues, would consider supporting a value added tax and oil tax hikes, and has openly admitted that he isn’t ready to debate President Obama on foreign policy. Sure these guys are serious–seriously wrong. However, these men are often touted as the next GOP presidential nominee. The rules have indeed changed.

These authors have recognized–albeit a few years late–that Governor Palin indeed has a stellar gubernatorial record marked by a strong fight against corruption, major energy initiatives, and a large state budget surplus. One day, they may look back at the past two years and see that Governor Palin was deeply serious about the pressing policy issues of the day, and she was extremely prescient about the foreign and domestic problems we face as Americans. Given that it has taken these individuals a few years to recognize her gubernatorial success, don’t be surprised if takes them a few years to recognize her seriousness and prescience as well. It just may be during her first presidential term.

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  • danielvito

    Excellent piece, Whitney! One of my pet peeves is the lack of respect Fmr. Gov. Palin recieves by the LSM, pundits etc.. Like her or hate her, her accomplishments are incredible. Also, the critics may not like to hear this, but Gov. Palin is positioned perfectly for the GOP nomination. Maybe that’s why she gets so much grief, they understand if she gets elected Washington will change dramatically and that’s a beautiful thing.

    • GeraldGoff

      I would like to see her do battle one-on-one with interviewers from the ‘mainstream’ media, no holds barred. There is a perception that her current interviews, while they may not be fixed fights, certainly have her ‘fighting’ below her weight class.

      I want to see her holding her own on some of the Sunday programs. I want to see some rough and tumble–not statements on facebook, not public speeches and not the lightweight interviews she is getting on fox. I want to see her emerge victorious from the lions den. come on Sarah, show us what you can do!

      • danielvito

        Nothing will satisfy her critics. She could part the Red Sea and they would say, not good enough.

        • Vorlath

          Could you imagine the effect on marine biology and the entire ecosystem of the area?


      • Amjean

        Right now, Palin is serving the appetizers. Meat, potatoes, gravy, rolls, vegetables, will
        be served when she runs in the primary. The dessert? When she runs against Obama.

      • NY4P

        Have you noticed that in recent interviews Sarah has been rightfully dodging questions she doesn’t want to answer? Good for her! I have always hated how interviewers haughtily get angry when the interviewees don’t answer "their" questions. Sarah is always gracious and respectful in her interviews. Her comments are always full of cogent and on message content.

      • Guest

        What a bloody insult you offer her, GGoff! She’s done one-on-one interviews with the LBSM, taped, and they edited the tapes to shame her and you know it! What interviewers are there in the LBSM who wouldn’t screw her over? Yet, you want her to improve their ratings. 

        The interviews she’s had on Fox are lightweight? Why? Because they’re on Fox? Her interviews there have dealt with substantive issues, yet, when one lightweight question comes at the end the LBSM fixates on that. That’s not her fault; that’s just the ongoing effort of the LBSM to minimize and sideline Sarah.

        You think van Susteren is a lightweight interviewer? She’s one of the best interviewers in the entire media because she follows up and gives the person a chance to answer. You think Chris Wallace, Neil Cavuto, and that other business guy who came over from CNN are lightweights? You must be a court jester!

        You’re basically calling Sarah a coward for not going to the LBSM to get screwed over again by their moron du jour. Three people besides yourself like that. Nice.

  • palin45potus

    Great piece!

    When I hear these self-proclaimed experts opine about Sarah’s "deficiencies", delivered from their Mt. Olympus in DC, I remind myself of a story a friend of mine told me a year ago.

    We were both excited about Sarah’s most recent moves back then, it was just after her speech to the TEA Party convention, and he went to a GOP meeting in So Cal.

    I asked what the mood was, and he told me, "Those misogynists who run the GOP wold rather lost the election than have a woman for President" He’d asked if they watched her speeches, they couldn’t have cared less!! He was quite upset, and convinced that the GOP was broken beyond repair.

    I disagree that the disease is terminal, but the GOP insiders is surely the disease that needs eradicating.

    Fortunately, Sarah’s a rare talent, I suspect she can soar over the jerks that think like this, and it’s a good thing, because that’s the skill that’ll be needed to beat Obama.

    Go Sarah!!

    • nala3325

      A rare talent she is, indeed! Rarer still among politicians is that she actually has a conscience and an incorruptible moral standards.

  • aafan

    Oh so she had a great record in 2008 but media told otherwise. Now they say she has changed and become different, why are they right this time?

    She was not in office not in power so which record in the last two years they are citing to prove she has changed. Only things they can cite are her policy speeches. If they cite that then how can they say she did not study and evolved on issues.

    So what are they saying " she did not study or improve in the last two years, and she was great two years before"

  • palinsupporter1

    Two words, Brava Whitney!

  • latinchic

    Whit does not play.

  • suehimel

    Governor Palin’s bounce back from the irrelevancy to which the MSM consigned her after the 2008 election has been amazing to watch. And she is not finished. Looking at the field of candidates for the Rep 2012 primary, I can see her bouncing ahead of all of them. I do disagree with one thing that the governor said OTR last night – that the current field IS a strong field. It will only have one strong candidate and that after Palin declares that she is running.

    • nala3325

      I agree with you that the current field is not a strong one. But being true to Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment, I think Gov Palin is just trying her best to not criticize and take down her fellow Republicans. She’s been very consistent on that. If only her fellow Republicans would return the favor … but that would be wishful thinking!

      • NY4P

        Exactly, nala3325! The question was a gotcha-type question and she handled it the right way.

    • free4now

      Sarah is a genius (but we all know that). Stroking the ego diminishes the thought process and then before they see it coming … Fwhack! Man down :)

  • elkonv


  • John_Frank

    Whitney, an excellent post.

    P.S. Huntsman has also been a strong proponent of cap and tax.

  • citizenG100

    Great article Whitney. Rubin et al can spout their narrative as much as they like, but they can’t change the facts. And the facts don’t support their narrative, in fact they obliterate it.

  • john

    Side Comment One: She absolutely was right about QE2 and what would happen with inflation when she talked/wrote about it 5 months ago. And, in one interview, has she ever said it? Has she ever said "even I knew what QE2 would mean, and all the geniuses told me I was wrong". Yes, I know, they don’t ask her directly about that. So, pivot the question: When she says last night "Obama doesn’t have a clue about the economy", use this as an example. When someone asks a stupid question, say "you know what Americans care about . . . jobs and rising food and fuel prices" and use that to pivot. I was told a long time ago by someone: No matter what someone asks you, you almost always can take the question and answer it any way you want. So, instead of indulging a sideshow question, sidestep it and focus on what will be her best line of attack against Obama and the bipartisan crony capitalists in Washington.

    Side Comment Two: I’d love to see "and they call me a dummy" be an oft used punchline for her. "Instead of drilling for our own oil, creating jobs, and keeping dollars here, Obama borrows money from China to lend to Brazil to drill their oil and then borrows more money to buy the oil. And, they call me the dummy." I forget where, but I saw her do that once . . . describe something stupid from Obama and then use the punchline along with a perplexed look on her face. It was POWERFUL. If you’re going to run against the establishment, then that’s how you do it . . . point out how the geniuses mess everything up and, with no means to defend their mess, call the rest of us dummies. Heck, maybe "and they call US the dummies" would be even better.

    • jerseymark

      I agree completely. Since her strength is her ability to relate to the average American, the use of us is best with the statement that "if you see things the way I do, using your own commonsense, they are calling you dummies as well". Yesterday, I wrote that she can also take the attacks upon her by the Left and reverse them by asking the question of "why do you suppose that the Left and the Republican Establishment are trying their best to keep me me out of the race or winning the nomination? Could it be because I don’t owe them anything and I am the biggest threat to their "business as usual" as I proved in Alaska? If I was sooooo stupid and unelectable, why would they spend so much time and effort trying to convince you of that? Since this is all about political power, doesn’t it stand to reason that those in power would attack those who represent threats to them and the bigger the threat the stronger the attack?"

  • PEC111

    Great job Whitney. Boy Jennifer Rubin went to WAPO and did a quick 180. She wrote Pro-Palin before and now I don’t think she could build up courage to risk getting fired by WAPO and write a pure positive Palin story.

    • citizenG100

      Rubin completely sold out. Whether it was a condition of her getting hired or just what happens when folks from the right join a big lefty organ I don’t know. I actually suspect it was the former though. If it was the latter her slide away from Palin would have been more gradual.

      • PEC111

        I believe it is the formert. Bottomline they offer her a big salary and she sales out.

      • blueniner

        They all want to be part of the nerd-media club.

    • Rightmindedmom

      I agree. I used to love her columns when she wrote for Pajamas media. Then she got hired by the Washington Post and completely gets coopted by the Lefties. Too bad. I thought we had another terriffic writer in our corner. She’ll feel pretty awful when Sarah takes the country by storm and bowls over the other candidates in the primaries. Just watch.

  • sodakhic

    Rare talent is right. When you can get 63 year olds, who have never been involved in politics other than voting, ready to leap tall buildings, walk on charred coals, and cry out from the mountain tops to support you, I’d say that is unbelievable talent.

  • All4Palin

    Loved this post Whitney! You are a treasure! Thank you for taking the time and using your talent to spread the truth about Sarah’s record and the intellectual dishonesty of her critics on both the right and the left.

  • Canus

    I know that Sarah cannot say it yet, so she has to say that "Obama hasn’t a clue about the economy". One day though, in the not too distant future, Sarah will say "Obama is deliberately destroying the US economy." IMHO this has to be said, and Rush has already said it more than once. Obviously Sarah has to be careful with her choice of words, but we don’t. Pino Obama should be attacked relentlessly on all fronts, Sarah herself said we are entitled to know "Who is Obama",and in my opinion he is a caricature, a made up cardboard cutout to deceive us about who he really is. Donald if you are listening, get back on the BC and College records, go after him for all our sakes, you have the time and the money so please, Keep Digging.

    • AmsterdamExpat

      In yesterday’s interview she once again addressed the question of who O’s palling around with — which may be a harbinger of a harder line to come. I hope so!

      • Canus

        I really think Sarah is holding back on what she really wants to say, I think she is chomping at the bit. Will she have the patience to rein in her thoughts, only she knows, but I’m going with June 6th for her announcement. BTW my wife and I were in Amsterdam for 10 days, a few years ago, really enjoyed ourselves, loved the hot soups and crusty bread on those chilly October days.

        • ellebb

          Yep, I’m thinking end of May to mid June. Catch EVERYONE off guard.

          Also, the Southern Rep. Leadership Conf is the next week.

        • AmsterdamExpat

          October, several weeks before winter begins to set in, can be very lovely here.

  • BostonBruin

    Thanks Whitney!

    Here’s the key comment from the WSJ article you reference about RomneyCare:

    "The Romney camp blames all this on a failure of execution, not of design. … Mr. Romney’s refusal to appreciate this reveals a troubling failure of political understanding and principle. The raucous national debate over health care isn’t about this or that technocratic detail, but about basic differences over the role of government. … Mr. Romney’s fundamental error was assuming … government can be run by management consultants."

    • AmsterdamExpat

      Surely the failure of execution — and, the Romneyboys’ claim notwithstanding, the failure of design — should have been anticipated, and identified as furnishing grounds for a veto, by someone whose supposed expertise lies in fiscal matters.

  • RedBrightandTrue

    Whitney, just when I think you can’t possibly top your last article, you prove me wrong. Wow, this one has to be your best yet. Seriously. Great job. :-)

  • Right_Wingnut


    Very well done! Can you get this posted at Big Government?

  • Pete Petretich

    I’m disappointed with John Podhoretz. Sometimes he writes original and incisive commentary about a variety of issues. I guess this shows us the kind of people he’s been hanging around with, beltway policy wonks who never win elections.

    How can they be so oblivious to the wide-spread and substantial impact she has had via Fox News, best-selling books, and the 2010 elections? Not to mention her mastery of social networking technology? She could never have done all this while continuing as full-time governor of the hugest state.

    Most politicians today can only dream of 3 million Facebook "likes"!

    Again, she reminds me of De Gaulle, who also had VERY substantial political impact even while out of office, i.e., leading the French resistance to the Nazis while living overseas.

    "A true leader always keeps an element of surprise up his sleeve, which others cannot grasp but which keeps his public excited and breathless." —Charles de Gaulle

    • unseen1

      Oh can they be? because they want to be. simple as that.


    Whit…ya done good. :)

  • epm54338

    Great article! … Love the Bob Gibson comparison. … Feared by the opposition … Not afraid to throw one under a batter’s chin. … Like Gov. Palin, he was also good with the bat. He once hit .300 the same year he won 20+ games. (I loved it when the Gov. and Bristol whacked those fish with the bat on her TV show — the Libs FREAKED OUT).

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