The Tragedy of Red State

Two months ago, The Atlantic ran a piece called “The Tragedy of Sarah Palin.”  

The author, Joshua Green discovered something seemingly only Limbaugh and Levin listeners and viewers of The Undefeated were aware of until then: that Palin was a great governor whose outstanding governing record endeared her to Alaskans. Joshua Green “explained” that Palin’s many achievements and high approval rating stemmed from her moderate stance on the issues, and blamed her “turn” toward conservatism when picked for VP as the cause of the public’s current hostile treatment.

Imagine my surprise and shock several weeks ago to come across another attack against Palin but this time coming from the complete opposite direction. The article was written by Leon H. Wolf, a front-page writer at Red State. The claim: Sarah Palin started out as a true conservative who has made a U-turn, became a moderate, and linked hands with the establishment.

The absurdity of Green’s article is mirrored in Wolf’s piece. Palin has been, still is, and will continue to be a staunch conservative, often taking on the establishment in order to promote conservative ideology.

Their attacks seem to be geared to sway readers who think positively of Palin while currying favor with readers already against Palin. The Atlantic’s readers obviously dislike conservatives in general and Palin in particular. Green thus provided them the perfect explanation to defend their hate towards Palin despite her outstanding record. Red State, on the other hand, is a conservative site whose audience disagrees with the liberal ideology and opposes moderates for not remaining true to conservative beliefs. Wolf’s piece thus gives Republicans who dislike or fear Palin for whatever reason, a decent-sounding excuse for their opposition towards one of the most conservative, fearless, and articulate individuals in this day and age.

Since Red State is not the Atlantic, and it holds sway with many conservatives who can’t see through its phony pretense of neutrality, I therefore felt obligated to dissect Wolf’s article and point out the simple truth: his piece makes as much sense as the foolish column at The Atlantic. I also apologize for calling someone a hypocrite but lack an alternative accurate description that would do justice of Red State’s actions of late.

Wolf criticized Sarah Palin for not yet announcing her decision whether or not she’s running for president claiming it ties up her supporters at a time when all appearances suggest she’s either not running or running without plans of winning.

Whoa! I always thought the GOP rules regarding who may run in a presidential election include something called a primary complete with a deadline until which one may announce their candidacy. Since when has the primary become the result of the hand-picked competition between two individuals courtesy of the establishment? What happened to allowing the people choose the candidate of their choice in the primary? Where are the hit pieces on Giuliani for having not yet made up his mind? The field is far from complete and there’s no reason to rush the process.

Wolf’s argument is quite surprising given that Erick Erickson “proved” in an article written just one day prior to Wolf’s piece that Palin won’t win even if she joins the primary since she polls only 12 percent in Gallup national. Erickson then admitted that her poll figures would probably increase if she announces a presidential run since some of her supporters who believe she won’t run are supporting their second choice.

Wolf, did you perhaps miss that? The Palin supporters who don’t believe she’s running have already chosen another candidate, and if Palin’s decision ends up being negative the rest will follow suit. When the people will head to the election booths, she either will or won’t be in the race allowing everyone to make their decision based on the current facts. Although it’s obvious you don’t want her to run, Palin will choose that which she’ll feel is best for her and the country at the time she deems right, and her supporters have every right to tie their allegiance to Palin since they strongly believe she will run.

The arguments used in the article to support her non-candidacy are 100% nonsense and you must know that. She has the largest boots-on-the-ground force and will be bombarded by donations the day she’ll announce her campaign. If she isn’t running, why would she encourage O4P’s actions? Why would she have a foreign policy adviser? Why would she visit Iowa’s State Fair and be returning there again Labor Day weekend? What is the ultimate purpose of her One Nation tour and the documentary, The Undefeated?

Besides, isn’t it funny how the same individual Wolf describes as not likely to run and incapable of winning, is then described as depleting the oxygen supply in the room simply by entering? Sucking the oxygen out of a room is not something Santorum, Cain, Huntsman, or even Perry and Romney are known to do. If Palin can’t win whether she does or doesn’t run, as Wolf and the others at Red State claim, why do they dread an impending Palin announcement?

Furthermore, Wolf’s ignores facts in order to reach his conclusion that Palin is a moderate. It is shocking and shameful to say the least.

Palin endorsed 64 conservative candidates in the 2010 elections, many of them long before Red State and others glanced their way, including Susana Martinez — the current Governor of New Mexico, Allen West – a congressman of Florida, Rand Paul – Senator of Kentucky, and Joe Miller. Wolf, however, pounced upon her endorsement of two candidates in the primaries, Carly Fiorina and Kelly Ayotte, as proof of Palin’s drift towards the establishment. Never mind that her endorsements made absolute sense if one only bothers looking into the facts.

Palin’s endorsement for Fiorina requires a bit of background. The California Republican Senate primary was a three-way race with Fiorina opposed not only by Chuck Devore which Red State endorsed but also by Campbell, a candidate with ties to radical Muslims and a more moderate than Olympia Snowe. Campbell was leading the polls with Fiorina lagging behind and Devore a far third. A Campbell victory would portray the Republican Party as the water-downed version or even the mirror image of the Democrat Party. A debate between Tom Campbell and Boxer would result in who has done more to save the environment and expand government programs.

Palin’s endorsement of Fiorina, who was the conservative candidate with greater chances of beating Campbell, gave Fiorina the necessary push to win the primary thus resulting in a conservative representing the Republican Party in the debate and campaign against Boxer. Although Boxer was reelected, voters in California have been exposed to conservative talk and to a clear differentiation between the ideologies of the two parties.

Regarding Palin’s endorsement of Kelly Ayotte, the primary consisted of two conservatives. While Red State and some others pumped Lamontagne as the stronger conservative Palin and others supported Ayotte as the true conservative. Each had their minor flaws as every human being does with different people ultimately preferring different choices. If your favorite ice cream flavor is vanilla, is the next guy who prefers chocolate wrong with his choice? Are people no longer allowed to disagree peacefully? How does Palin’s endorsement of Ayotte brand her as a moderate? Is Ayotte’s current record in the senate not enough proof of her conservatism? She co-sponsored a bill to repeal Obamacare and voted against the debt ceiling deal. What liberal bill did Ayotte vote for? (And if she did vote “moderately” in one instance she would probably apologize just as Perry – Red State’s favorite — has apologized regarding Gardasil, thus negating her vote.)

Sorry, but having candidates’ opponents endorsed by Red State, make neither the candidates nor their endorsers un-conservative.

Wolf questioned Palin’s endorsement of Christine O’Donell who was less electable than Mike Castle, since Palin based the above two endorsements partly on electability. The comparison however is equivalent to a comparison of apples and oranges.

Palin’s endorsement for O’Donnell is unlike her previous two endorsements since the primary didn’t consist of two conservatives; Castle cannot be described as a conservative by any stretch of imagination. He had voted for Cap and Trade which threatened to destroy America’s economy and supported campaign financing rules that would favor unions while putting businesses at a disadvantage. Mike Castle would be only slightly better than a Campbell in Senate, and would jump to “compromise” with the Democrats in exchange for some media attention.

In Washington, Sarah Palin endorsed the more conservative candidate, Clint Didier, who signed the pledge not to raise any taxes while Dino Rossi who was endorsed by Red State refused to do so. Does that make Red State a moderate site?

Wolf’s continued comparison of Palin’s recent support of Orrin Hatch in light of her opposition to Mike Castle is ludicrous. Castle’s lifetime ratings according to the American Conservative Union is 51.62% and only 38% in 2010 while Hatch was one out of 11 senators to earn a perfect score in the American Conservative Union’s 2010 ratings and a lifetime rating of 89.47 percent. How can one even attempt to compare the two? Now throw into the equation that Hatch happens to also be an excellent debater and extremely articulate of conservative ideology, a true rarity amongst conservatives these days.

Most importantly, Hatch is currently the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. If the Republicans take control of the senate, that will make him chairman. This is the committee that writes tax policy and has jurisdiction on Social Security and Medicare. If Hatch loses his seat and the Republicans take the senate, the new chairperson would be OLYMPIA SNOWE! (h/t bradkarr.)

Shocking, huh? One may disagree with Hatch on certain issues, but to say he’s not a true conservative is not being very honest. How about instead of slamming Palin for speaking positively of Hatch’s seventeen attempts to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment, or attempting to oust Hatch in exchange for some low-ranking Congressman with an unknown record, onetake all facts into consideration?

(UPDATE: Hatch’s almost opponent backed off.)
If Wolf’s article were the only disgraceful one on the Red State site, it would perhaps be somewhat understandable as one writer who overstepped the bounds and deserving of a scolding of his editor. However, the editor himself, Erick Erickson is the one leading this hypocrisy. 

Erickson wrote an article January 3rd drafting Mike Pence to the race, with the explanation that although he’d wish Palin would be the next president she’s too polarizing and he feels she won’t be able to win the primaries.

… I am not excited by or inspired by any of them save Sarah Palin and, as much as I love Sarah Palin, I am adamantly convinced that she cannot win given the ridiculous smears and hate thrown her way by Democrats and, frankly, by a lot of Republicans. She has been made radioactive. 

I would, however, still gladly vote for her and support her. I’d rather go down with her than up with some of the others.

…I’d have rather gone down swinging with Barry than sell out with Nelson any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I feel the same way with Palin.

Erickson then posted an additional column reiterating his support for Palin provided Pence doesn’t run:
Third, and I think this is the key point: 

I’d have rather gone down swinging with Barry than sell out with Nelson any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I feel the same way with Palin. (Emphasis by Erick)As it stands right now, if the election were held tomorrow and Mike Pence isn’t in, Palin has my vote. Don’t get me wrong, I can be persuaded by any of the other candidates in all seriousness. And the odds are in the favor of several of them. But my heart is with Palin.

This was obviously a load of nonsense aimed at fooling his readership since Erickson has since jumped onto almost every bandwagon but Palin’s. As soon as Pence’s decision not to run was final, Erickson, who had written he supports Palin even if it would mean going down with her as by Goldwater, didn’t attempt to draft her even once. He toyed first with Huckabee and then placed his hopes on Mitch Daniels, although that came to a halt after Daniels put out a “truce” on social issues. Erickson then turned his entire energy towards drafting Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas. Erickson’s efforts were rewarded with Perry’s announcement at the Red State event, with Erickson introducing Perry. Red State, though, continues to play uncommitted to any candidate for the 2012 Republican primary. 

There are three basic kinds of political sites. The first kind is a general site, say — a conservative site, that will jump to defend all conservatives on the receiving end of criticism for outright fabrications, believing it is crucial for all honest individuals to fight for and defend the truth whether or not you support the person’s positions, policies, or candidacy. The Breitbart sites model of this type of behavior, as seen in their defense of all candidates and conservatives facing media falsehoods and exposing lies from the liberal left. Examples are their exposure of the doctored video Ed Schultz used against Perry, the falsehood of Ziegler’s rumors about Palin, and the calling of Bachmann a flake.

The second kind is a political site whose focus is to support and defend a specific candidate. Such a site’s focus is obviously on that specific candidate’s achievements, as well as attacks thrown their way. This behavior is also the expected of such a site and doesn’t cause any raised eyebrows.

The third kind of site masks their real agenda. Red State has unfortunately joined this third group with their pretense of judging all conservatives equally and “vetting” Perry’s record, while unofficially having thrown their support behind Perry. Red State should switch over to being the second of these three groups in order to be considered an honest site who acts with integrity.

Update: Dan McLaughlin penned a piece endorsing Perry, stressing that it is a personal endorsement and not on behalf of Red State.

Erickson’s underhanded manner of supposedly supporting Palin while running after everyone else is just the tip of the iceberg. When honest conservatives question Perry’s executive order regarding Gardasil, it’s hypocritical of Red State to claim that an apology wipes away a candidate’s past record. Attention all candidates seeking reelection or a different office and in want of Red States’ endorsement: All you’ve got to do is apologize for any negative item on your record, say that you erred and regret it.

It wasn’t enough to only have Erickson respond to the Gardasil gate, as is usually the case with others. Everyone jumped into the “protect Perry” mode, as each took a different angle in whitewashing Perry’s attempt to ram down this shot via executive order against the protests of the legislature. Ben Howe posted a piece titled “Vetting Rick Perry” which more likely should have been called defending, excusing, or exonerating Rick Perry. Repair_Man-Jack played undecided in his support of Perry’s candidacy. Streiff and again Streiff showed his true colors, calling for Perry or else.

Streiff even went so far as to issue a “fair warning” announcing his intention “to treat those making those allegations in a way indistinguishable from the way birthers and truthers are treated.” (banned from the site.) Erickson re-posted his article of 2007 where he slammed Perry for the executive order, and explained that although he disagreed with the executive order, it still had the opt-out factor. Combined with the apology, and the fact that it never happened, the issue should be laid to rest. Erickson also noted that:

…this issue (Gardasil) only really resonates on the right.
Really now. Was anyone here waiting with bated breath for the left to call out someone expanding the control of government? Of course it resonates only with the right; it’s the right that’s concerned about the current size of government. We got primaries for a reason; it’s a time to vet the candidates to see who matches your ideology before sending the winner off to compete in the general election. If we want to call out Obama on his expansion of government, we must present someone who’s the antithesis of big government. 

Red State and Erickson in particular have hidden their political interests until recently and still pretend to vet and treat Perry as any other candidate. Erickson has pretended to have no problem with Sarah Palin as the Republican nominee,and so has Leon Wolf. Yet, they take issue with the fact that she hasn’t yet made her decision although there’s still plenty of time to do so. At the same time, Red State continuously “discovers” phantom evidence and statements proving that Palin is not going to run and that she’s become a member of the establishment. Since when does speaking positively of a Senator with one the most conservative records turn you into a moderate?

I’ve always been honest and straightforward in my articles expressing my support of Sarah Palin for the presidency. Perry is not my first choice for other reasons disregarding Gardasil. And although I’ll admit Perry’s remorse in the campaign shows a savvier political sense than Romney’s refusal to regret Romneycare, regretting one’s previous actions during a campaign is not sufficient proof of true regret. Perry signed the executive order against the protests of the legislature. He was only forced to abandon the measure when when it was voted against by a veto proof majority. If Romney would’ve apologized for his Romneycare bill, would that be sufficient for us to forgive him? Who decides when and where apologies must be accepted across the board by all? How about, and this is entirely rhetorical since it won’t happen, if Obama decided to “admit he erred” in order to win the elections?

Erickson’s two-sidedness is also obvious when glancing at his review of The Undefeated where he found it necessary to write this:

The film concludes with a comparison between Ronald Reagan and Sarah Palin. Just as the Republican establishment attacked and tried to shut down Reagan, they are doing the same to Palin. I’m not sure I buy the extent of the comparison and issues within the conservative establishment highlighted toward the end, but I have frequently said myself that Palin taps into something with conservatives that no one since Reagan has done.
While Erickson didn’t “buy the extent of the comparison” in The Undefeated made by Stephen Bannon, he wrote this, recently:
Next time you hear some Republican consultant say Rick Perry can’t win because he is too much of a cowboy, understand that it is probably a national Republican consultant fearful they will be shut out of work if Perry wins and, more importantly, understand that the same dynamics were in place in 1980 with Reagan’s “boys from California” team of consultants and the national consultants back them said the same about Reagan — he’s too much of a cowboy conservative who will alienate key voting blocks.That’s not to say Perry is Reagan. It is to say the GOP national consultants have been pulling the same stuff since 1980.
So Erickson’s not sure whether the establishment is actually as hateful and condescending to Palin as they were to Reagan, but the attacks on Perry – boy, that’s an exact repeat of 1980. 

Additionally, when Perry gets attacked, Red State is quick to point out the fear the left has for Perry which drives them to falsify information against him. The endless attacks against Palin though, have caused her to become radioactive.

Add to the above that Erickson’s original issue with Palin was the endless smears the media threw her way which, in his opinion, has made her radioactive. If Perry ends up being the frontrunner he too will face similar endless attacks. Will Erickson consider him as radioactive as Palin thus necessitating him to be dropped for another candidate? Whoever wins the Republican nomination will face the hate from the left, and it’s to Palin’s advantage that the left has already emptied their ammunition against her.

It’s a tragedy for a conservative website to behave like Green of The Atlantic in an attempt to control the Republican primary in 2012. People have had enough of phony conservatives pretending to be altruistic while pushing their private agenda. I therefore believe 2012 will be a bottom-up election where people make their own decisions based on the candidates’ records.

This article is cross-posted from The Thinking Voter.