Tuesday, Nick Gillespie took to the pages of The Daily Beast, to show the world that he doesn’t know much about Governor Palin. First of all, if what Gillespie wrote were true, I wouldn’t be here, and that’s a fact. Not to turn this post into a piece about myself but to prove a point, please note that I am a registered independent with a large libertarian streak. So much so that I voted for Gary Johnson in the last presidential election… Oh, yes I did.
That stated, lets dig into Gillespie’s article so I can prove (with facts) where he has it wrong. He begins:
Are you ready for the great Sarah Palin Revival of 2013? The former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate is back from her exile at Fox News and, like the former child star played by Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, the self-described Mama Grizzly is ready for a big comeback. But to be blunt, she seems more like a relic of a bygone, little-missed era in showbiz-cum-politics. Indeed, she no more represents a viable future for the GOP than her 76-year-old “angry bird” running mate, John McCain.
Baby Jane?… If I may be blunt as well, the reference is asinine and purposefully demeaning. Nonetheless, the only thing the first paragraph proves is that Gillespie doesn’t like Governor Palin, and that he can be a jerk to people he doesn’t like. He also joins a long list of leftwingers and BIG government republican’s with his disdain.
He goes on:
To give her full credit, Palin is talking what sounds like a whole new game. Specifically, Palin is aiming to channel the ascendant libertarian elements of the Grand Old Party. Back in April, for Time’s list of the “most influential people in the world,” she wrote the entry for Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who rightly topped the list of political leaders. “His brand of libertarian-leaning conservatism attracts young voters, and recently he inspired the nation with his Capraesque filibuster demanding basic answers about our use of drones,” she enthused, before pulling the conversation back to her favorite subject, herself. “I sent him some caribou jerky from Alaska to help keep up his strength on the Senate floor.”
Yep, he’s a hater. Only a hater could interpret a lighthearted comment about caribou jerky as a self-serving act. But the thing that sticks out in that paragraph is that Gillespie seems to believe that this whole libertarian-leaning thing is somehow new to Governor Palin. Anyone who knows who she is, where she’s from, her record, and what she stands for knows that isn’t true.
Governor Palin isn’t a large "L" Libertarian, sure. She’s a Conservative and a reformer registered with the Republican Party, who just so happens to hold views that don’t conflict very often with libertarians. She believes in Constitutional government and clearly displayed that many times during her time in office. For instance, back in the year 2008, she vetoed a bill that would have prohibited the commissioner of the department of administration from adopting same-sex regulations, stating at the time:
“HB4001, is unconstitutional given the recent Court order of December 19th, mandating same-sex benefits. With that in mind, signing this bill would be in direct violation of my oath of office.”
She supported the Alaska State Constitution and the United States Constitution throughout her tenure. All one has to do is look at her record, under the "Support for Constitutional Rights" section to see.
Don’t believe me, just ask David Harsanyi. In an article he wrote back in 2008, titled "The Libertarian Case for Palin," he wrote (emphasis):
Though there is plenty to ponder, one thing is certain: libertarian-inclined voters should be encouraged. No, I’m not suggesting that your little Molly will be bringing home "The Road to Serfdom" from her (distinctly non-public) elementary school. But in contrast to any national candidate in recent memory, Palin is the one that exudes the economic and cultural sensibilities of a genuine Western-style libertarian…
Palin, for example, vetoed 300 pork projects in Alaska in her first year in office. She made a habit of knocking out big-government Republicans in her brief political career. For this, the 44-year-old mother of five enjoys a sterling approval rating in a state with arguably the nation’s most libertarian-minded populace.
When it comes to healthcare, Palin says she wants to "allow free-market competition and reduce onerous government regulation." These days, any mention of the "free market" that’s not framed as a crass pejorative is a sign of progress.
Gillespie’s article continued to talk about some of the points she made during her speech. He noted that she was with religious Republicans, then he went on to say:
Yet there’s every reason to believe that Palin’s newfound libertarianism is deeply misinformed, cynically superficial, or some mix of both. At the Road to Majority Conference, she invoked Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) as her model legislator. Congress, she averred, should put itself on “cruise control—Ted Cruz control—just for a week.” She’s also voiced similar sentiments since going back to Fox News.
While Cruz may be a reliable fiscal conservative, he’s nobody’s idea of a libertarian, with his McCarthyite denunciations of Harvard professors he claims are dedicated to the overthrow of the government and anxieties about creeping “Sharia law.” Despite being an immigrant and Hispanic himself, he has long staked out a hardline position against opening the southern border of the U.S. to more immigrants. That puts him at odds with not only GOP moderates such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and former governor Jeb Bush (R-FL), but also figures like Rand Paul, who has told currently illegal immigrants who have come to work, “We will find a place for you.” Palin herself has sneered at immigration reform, dismissing pending Senate legislation as “a pandering, rewarding-the-rule-breakers, still-no-border-security, special-interest-written amnesty bill.”
So, Gillespie thinks Governor Palin’s "newfound libertarianism" which isn’t (as I just proved), is "misinformed" and "cynically superficial" because she supports Ted Cruz? Unreal. Ted Cruz is a hero to many libertarian-minded people around the country. He stood with Rand Paul during the anti-drone filibuster, and you usually see his name next to Rand Paul and Mike Lee in support of the Constitution in the Senate. And speaking of Rand Paul and illegal immigrants, Tuesday the senator said the immigration bill is ‘fatally flawed‘:
So much for Rand finding a place for those illegals.
Palin also voiced an embrace not just of religion in the public square, but of a very specific Christianity. You know, she told her audience, “this land was dedicated to our Lord God, and he has blessed it, and we do well to rededicate it at this time to our one, true, heavenly Father.” Faced with so many problems, she continued, “we need that divine inspiration. We need to ask that hand of protection and blessings of our Father again to fall upon our nation. Not that we are a deserving people, but that’s what God is all about: grace and mercy and forgiveness. And if we do rededicate our land to our Lord, things will turn around.”
The proper term for this sort of rhetoric is populist, not libertarian. It is long on laying blame on out-groups and evoking feelings of persecution and appeals to divine or great-man intervention.
What is that supposed to mean? "It is long on laying blame on out-groups?" Who is blaming out-groups? This is a conversation between people of faith. Nobody is blaming "out-groups" and trying to make other people feel persecuted. If you don’t understand Christianity, don’t talk about it because you look foolish doing so.
He goes on:
Despite talking about the need for a positive program of action—Republicans cannot simply point out Democrats’ failure, she said—she offered little past clichéd invocations of “restoring” America. Her short record as governor of Alaska offers scant insight into what she really believes in, but it is worth noting that state spending increased 16 percent between 2007 and 2009, belying her claims now about being a budget hawk.
I checked Gillespie’s source for those numbers and I got a grayed-out page at Reason asking me to create an account. No thank you, but I will supply some real numbers that anybody can read without disclosing their personal information.
Between 2007 and 2010, Governor Palin cut state spending in Alaska by 9.5%. From the late Kathy Carpenter in 2009:
Governor Murkowski’s last budget FY2007: $11,697,400,000
Governor Palin’s latest budget FY2010: $10,570,000,000
Total reduction in spending between 2007 and 2010: a whopping 9.5% or $1,127,400,000
A general rule of thumb for both liberal and conservative administrations is to claim that they may reasonably increase spending every year at a rate of 2% to 3% because of inflation and that should not count against them as increased spending. Even if we use the low end of inflation at 2%, Governor Palin’s budget could have been (without calling it a spending increase): $12,413,374,459.20
Of course, the budget is not $12.4 billion; it is actually $10.57 billion. In other words, she cut spending.
Governor Palin also reduced federal earmark requests by more than 80%:
In FY2007, Gov. Frank Murkowski requested $350 million in federal appropriations, which Gov. Palin reduced to $256 million in FY2008, $198 million in FY2009, and $69 million in FY2010.
So yeah, she was a "budget hawk" while serving the residents of Alaska, and would be again if she held public office in the future.
Gillespie’s article continues:
Fortunately for libertarian-minded voters, Palin and Cruz are hardly the only fishes in the sea. As the recent report on young voters from the College Republican National Committee pointed out, the GOP is flush with next-generation leaders, among them Chris Christie, Rubio, and Bobby Jindal. None is more popular than the leader of what John McCain pathetically called “the wacko bird” caucus, Rand Paul, who has not only emerged as the public face of a more libertarian Republican Party, but is working to create a cadre of like-minded legislators, not just a one-man band.
I get that he likes Rand Paul, I do too on most days, but that has to be the first time I have ever witnessed a Libertarian praising Chris Christie or Marco Rubio. Neither are trusted by libertarians-minded people, and for many good reasons.
Gillespie then goes on to state:
But to reach younger voters—and libertarian-minded independents—the GOP will need spokespeople categorically different from Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz. As Vanderbilt political scientist John Geer put it to CNN, “Youth wants to see more tolerance and more inclusion. While the youth has been favoring the Democrats in the past few years, neither (party) should see the partisan leanings of this group as set." The college Republicans found that young voters also insist on intelligence and credibility in their politicians and policy proposals.
How demeaning. He just did the same thing I knocked Max Boot for yesterday… Recycling and regurgitating phony leftist memes. Ah, but first he notes that the youth want "to see more tolerance and more inclusion." Yet, he somehow finds a Hispanic man and a woman at odds with that. Instead, he offers up a bunch of white libertarian guys (all of which I like, by the way) as his solution to feed the youth’s need for "inclusion."
I don’t really understand why Gillespie wrote this horrible, inaccurate article. I suppose I could try to guess the reasons, but I don’t really care at this point. I’m just ticked that I had to spend time correcting his mountain of misinformation, and I’m even more ticked that he discredited himself in the process. I used to enjoy reading his articles, but now I don’t trust a word he writes.
Update: Nick Gillespie sent Brian and I this link to try and back up his claim that under Governor Palin, the State of Alaska increased spending by 16 percent between 2007 and 2009. Our numbers used the actual Office of Management and Budget records for each fiscal year, from the State of Alaska. The link Gillespie provided goes to some website called "usgovernmentspending.com." There are tables there to fill out and then it gives the viewer a set of data in return. The data Gillespie used is labeled "State & Local" so it may be that the numbers he used reflect state spending plus local. As in city, town, and borough. If that’s the case, he either doesn’t realize that that local spending had nothing to do with Governor Palin, or he doesn’t care because it fits the narrative he was selling. It could also be that the website he’s using just isn’t accurate because their numbers do not reflect the numbers from the Office of Management and Budget. Whatever the case, the numbers he’s using to argue that Governor Palin really isn’t a fiscal Conservative are not correct. Hence the title of the piece.