As the GOP sits comfortably in its political grave, it still fails to learn its lesson.
Like the loser kid at school desperately seeking the approval of the schoolyard bully, the GOP continues to apologize for itself, shrink up like a flower in the scorching desert sun, and take swipes at its own members in an attempt to deflect any incoming venom from the bully to another in a pathetic act of self-defeating self-preservation.
Mitt Romney, we are told, is the one. Insiders love him. Secretly in hushed tones, those “in the know” and “with the power” whisper about their one-term flip-flopping governor as the savior of the party.
This despite the fact that Daddy Warbucks spent a fortune in 2008 and had about 5 people vote for him. He was beaten by a man whose own party hated him, and an unknown former governor with no money. This also despite the very large baggage of his political doublespeak (AKA downright flip-flopping) on every issue from health care (the Romney socialized medicine in Massachusetts is apparently a bad idea now) to abortion (being for abortion when running for governor in a pro-abortion state like Massachusetts and conveniently seeing the light AFTER getting elected) and his cowardly decision not to run for re-election because of his flip-flops. His evolution into a full-fledged conservative only on his way out the door as he began to seek the GOP presidential nomination was quite stunning. Yet, those “in the know” and “with the power” love the guy. He plays their game. He’s one of them. Tell the people what they want to hear. Don’t really stand for anything, and apologize for conservatism where it isn’t popular while promoting its virtues only when “preaching to the choir.”
Every last one of these condescending faux conservatives prioritizes status and power above conviction. It’s not that they aren’t completely conservative, it is merely that power and control is more important to them than advancing their principles.
True leaders are different. Ronald Reagan didn’t give a rat’s rear end about who got credit. He rightfully predicted that history would eventually sift out the rhetoric and propaganda of the left and the American people would judge him fairly. He led to advance conservative principles, not himself. Yes, that involves compromise. It doesn’t, however, involve refusing to defend yourself and conservatism every time you are attacked. It is often cited that key moments in his campaigns like his famous quip defending himself against age questions, and reminding the moderators at the debate that he was paying for the microphone that they threatened to turn off helped turn public opinion of Reagan. His spirit and fighting back won the day.
Fighting back wins elections. Fighting back and standing up demonstrates courage, leadership and confidence. Fighting back advances agendas. The conservative movement needs a leader who will fight like mad to advance conservatism. As Reagan often remarked, and Governor Palin is fond of quoting, “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” So is political philosophy. Conservatism not defending and not actively promoted from sea to shining sea is a movement content to be the minority and on a path toward extinction.
The GOP loses when its standard bearer either doesn’t effectively communicate the conservative agenda, apologizes for it in part or in whole, or tries to water it down to placate the ever elusive “moderates.” The names of these harbingers of political disaster are many: Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain, and in the latter part of his tenure, George W. Bush. These people don’t just fail, they bring about political destruction to their party and allies the likes of which only Jimmy Carter & George McGovern can really understand.
Yet GOP leaders and “conservatives” continue to swipe at Governor Sarah Palin. They blame her for the loss in November. They say she was a “diva.” She wasn’t “up to the task.” She needs to stop engaging in silly things like defending her family. She is only a celebrity, she can’t really win.
I say ENOUGH!
George W. Bush got a 5% approval rating in the final years of his administration because when he got punched in the face by the liberal media, he smiled and said “Thank you.” It was only when Dick Cheney came out of seclusion and began vigorously defending the record of the Bush-Cheney administration that the approval ratings for both Cheney and Bush began to rise dramatically after literally 3 years of remaining in the toilet without any signs of life.
Why can’t Governor Palin engage in “important stuff” and defend her family at the same time? A charge or attack left unanswered shows weakness. It also shows the media what they can and can’t get away with. The more conservatives shrink from the task of defending themselves, the more they deserve to lose elections and the more personal attacks they can expect. Politics is a tough business, but it is especially so for conservatives, who find not just a political opponent to contend with, but the very media itself indoctrinating scores of Americans against their candidacy, their agenda, and even their family on a scale not seen since Hitler, Stalin and the good old days of the USSR.
The response to attack in the political world is not to absorb the blow. It is to sucker-punch the idiot that dares to define you in such a nasty dishonest way. Fight lies with truth. Do so with passion and courage.
Children should be off limits. Obama’s are. Palin’s are not. John McCain and his bottom-feeding campaign staff quickly deduced that the way for the media’s favorite GOP politician to get back into their good graces was to sacrifice their mortal enemy on the altar of Obama. The media hated Palin. So, McCain tepidly at best, defended his running mate, while largely remaining silent on the attacks on her children. For crying out loud, the candidate (other than Palin) that most vigorously defended her children was Barack Obama (who did so with a wink and a nod to the media.)
I have more respect for a woman fighting against all odds, willing to throw away her political career to defend her children against indefensible cruelty than the cowards in her own party willing to throw her to the wolves and condone sexually degrading attacks on young girls, and vicious lies and slander spread about a special needs baby. For make no mistake, they are condoning such attacks by joining the ever-growing choir that she should shut up and not get “drawn into it.” They seem to prefer the politician that throws his career away with his family as he runs out with a mistress to a woman actually honoring her commitment as a wife and mother.
As a father myself, I would walk through fire for my kids. You do not have any more sacred honor than to defend the children God entrusted you with. Yes, it would be nice if Governor Palin could only talk about important issues as she has done consistently since the election on issues ranging from North Korea, to the troops in the Middle East, to cap and trade, to the stimulus debacle, to socialized medicine, etc. Unfortunately for her, she isn’t afforded that luxury. She is inundated with an onslaught of lies and venom directed at her kids and her personal life on a daily basis. She is also unfortunate enough to be a part of a party that is seriously infected with Stockholm Syndrome and would rather identify with her assailants despite the years of oppression they have suffered at the hands of the same villains.
Despite the media firestorm, Governor Palin has continued to conduct herself with grace and style, and has managed to accomplish massive things for her constituents in Alaska. Her state is one of only 4 or so not running a deficit. In only her first term, she successfully negotiated a private partnership for the gas pipeline “white whale” that governors in her state have sought unsuccessfully for over 30 years. She has remained a hands-on Commander-in-Chief of her state National Guard and has twice visited those troops stationed in the Middle East. She has bravely continued to advance the pro-life cause much to the chagrin of the media and her two-faced detractors in her own party.
The bottom line is that Governor Palin is doing what the entire party should be doing. She is defending her family, her honor, and her convictions. In so doing, she is swimming against the tide in her own party where political chameleons like Romney are lauded and other leaders abandon their families for mistresses despite their “convictions” of faith and family.
If this party’s insiders don’t shut their collective mouths soon, they risk losing not just a potential presidential contender, but a large section of their grassroots conservative “foot soldiers.” Chivalry, at least in the GOP, is dead. When a woman has to defend her children against a media onslaught alone that says more for her cowardly “allies” in her own party than it does about the filth-ridden animals that are attacking her.
It’s time to stand up to the schoolyard bully. There’s a new girl on the playground and Sarah Barracuda isn’t going down without a fight. I’m inclined to join her in defending the cause of conservatism and the unapologetic genuine bearers of that message. To those who tell her to shut up, get out of the way or get ready for the stampede because we “bitter” people “clinging to religion” have had enough. That bully is going down.