By Patrick S Adams
–from Patrick’s World USA
More and more, people are starting to see that Sarah Palin’s decision to not run has left a gaping hole in the Republican field. Ever since she hit the campaign trail in 2008, the left wing media has pummeled her and the Republican establishment has been silent – and in some cases complicit. While Republican establishment types cringed behind closed doors fearing a run or weaved their fears tactfully into articles and commentaries leading up to the 2012 race, millions of regular everyday Americans were becoming fans on her Facebook page, with many of them giving time and/or money to support her. Even the most ardent of Palin supporters are finding out now that there was a lot more support for her than even they thought. Now that she’s not running, we’re learning a lot more about the GOP.
We know about Organize4Palin and the thousands of “boots on the ground” activists they had positioned to be ready to spring into action in case she did run. We have seen a massive proliferation of conservative and pro-Palin blogs and websites on the internet over the past three years. Prior to her withdrawal, it was this observer’s understanding and expectation that the media and the establishment would be astounded by the number of Palin supporters that would just come pouring out of the wood work as soon as she announced. There was nothing secret or hidden about the agenda. It was out there, wide open for the media, the Republican establishment and for anyone else who wanted to see it – unless of course they didn’t want you to see it.
By her not running, we’re finding out about the depth of her support anyway. We’re finding that Palin supporters aren’t the uneducated folks the media led us to believe they were. There were thousands of people talking to each other on the internet about her, networking and organizing for her with the kind of effectiveness that professional political consulting firms would die for. There were attorneys, business owners, writers, business owners, professional people as well as regular working people all giving of themselves in one way or another.
While some may want to view Palin supporters as star struck fans chasing windmills, the fact of the matter is that your regular Palin supporter is a well studied, well informed voter who was much more deeply aware of the issues and the web that was being weaved to get her into the presidency than the media or the GOP establishment would want you to know. They knew how big the army was getting, and it is big.
What will hurt the GOP in the long run is that they may be losing many of these supporters who are new to the process when it would be easy to bring them into the party tent if it was more receptive to them. These potential Republican voters who are new to political activism, yet highly educated from researching issues due to their interest in Palin, are finding out along with the rest of us what the real Republican Party looks like; and they don’t like what they see.
They’re not dreamers blinded by their allegiance to Sarah Palin. It’s the media, those that didn’t want to her to win and the GOP establishment who are blinded by their hatred and fear of her so much that they refused to acknowledge the size and strength of her following and now risk alienating them because of this. The political vacuum that has been left as a result of her decision is evident in the way many conservatives are finding it hard to back a candidate; and the ones who are backing candidates are doing so with much softer support than Palin would have gotten.
Sarah Palin articulated a pure brand of conservatism that resonated completely with the values that most people agree with when polled on the issues. It’s more than just the charisma or her ability to give a great speech that fires people up. She resonates on all levels. The media and the GOP establishment preferred to ignore that rather than to embrace it.
A few fat cats ran a campaign to draft Chris Christie and party leaders acted as if there was this massive groundswell for him. The media gave this round the clock coverage until he gave the press conference to announce he wasn’t running and then it was over. There was no crying or gnashing of teeth. That level of heartache is only reserved for those with a deeply devoted and widespread following.
Running parallel to the Christie story was the far less reported one about the millions of Palin supporters and legions of activists throughout America who were clamoring for her to run. While the story of a few Republican Party insiders trying to convince Christie to run was ginned up, millions of people waiting for a Palin decision were ignored. Despite the lack of media coverage and attention from the Republican Party, the tidal wave of shock and disappointment over her announcement not to run was felt by millions of people across the country instantly because she announced her decision on the Mark Levin Show. It is, after all, talk radio and the new media where most of those who seek real news coverage go.
How this will ultimately affect the Republican Party is yet to be seen. We are already starting to see some of the effects. Reaction to what is happening with the current GOP field has not been positive. A variety of concerns are bubbling to the surface. There is the concern that establishment favorite Mitt Romney may not be able to earn the support of the Tea Party. There is the concern that even some of the more conservative candidates have glitches that prevents them from drawing the enthusiasm of the base the way Palin did. There is the concern the candidates will beat each up so badly that the nominee would be damaged coming out of the gate.
Robert Eugene Simmons, Jr. at American Thinker goes as far as to say that because Palin’s not in the race, Obama is going to win.
The calculus is fairly simple: the media and GOP establishment want Romney to be the nominee. Once a progressive is at the head of the Republican ticket, low turnout for Republicans will hand a narrow victory to Obama.
In 2008 the Democrats dodged a bullet because they hadn’t counted on a Palin VP nomination galvanizing a dispirited Republican party. Without Palin, or another charismatic authentic conservative, Obama would have swept the election in a landslide.
The activism and excitement Governor Palin brought into the 2008 campaign spilled over much more easily into the Tea Party movement following the election than it would have without her. Over the course of the last three years, she has pulled millions of people (including young people, working people, women and minorities) who have never been politically active into the conservative movement. Surely she has her standard middle class white male followers, but her support is so diverse that there are even gay organizations that support her and gays who are not into identity politics who just happened to mix in heterogeneously with the rest of the people behind her. There are Democrats who would give their left arm for such a diverse base.
Kevin Ainsworth at Conservatives4Palin points out a serious issue with the political system.
She was the one everybody was waiting to enter the GOP contest and would have been the frontrunner. Having become the nominee, thanks to your help and support, she would have probably beaten Obama and become President as you all so desperately wanted. But at what cost? People and companies donating $1 billion will want something for that money. To get the money in the first place for the campaign they would probably have put conditions on it. Let’s face it – they would not have wanted her talking about crony capitalism for a start! She would have been shackled during the election and then would not have been free to do all those things you dream about and which she believes in once she was elected.
There is a theme in Ainsworth’s article which is showing up in a lot of writing coming from Palin supporters recently following her announcement. It’s something the GOP really ought to pay attention to. The notion of “we the people” is a concept that holds incredible weight, which stands as a great sales pitch for the Republican Party to use in order to draw millions back into the tent and which presents a way to grow deep roots into the political culture by empowering those who would otherwise be cynical of a process that keeps candidates beholden to special interests.
In its greed and lust for power, the Republican Party has chosen to alienate these voters by using the politics of crony capitalism and big money donors as its strategy for gaining and holding power. Some will contend that this is a reality of modern politics and that trying to win elections by rejecting this formula is a death blow for any wannabe candidate who seeks elected office on a populist message based on the will of the people as exercised through grass roots activism. Accepting this, though, means that you don’t believe that the Palin model is doable with the right amount of effort and support, nor do you believe that the fight by regular people to have a say is worthwhile.
Even worse, accepting the electoral model status quo means accepting the systemic problems that allowed socialism and progressivism to flourish in the first place. As long as the system favors the powerful over the little guy instead of balancing it for all, the pool of disenchanted poor and working class who respond to everything with knee jerk emotions will be a recruiting haven for liberals, statists and socialists.
For decades, Americans have sat at the broken red light waiting for someone else to fix it. When Palin decided that she would run that light and millions followed her, the notion of “sheep no more” was born.
Just as frustrated motorists will all join in running the broken red light as soon as the front guy goes, so will frustrated citizens join a political movement that aims to buck the status quo if there is a trustworthy leader with the right support to follow.
The establishment has become like those cars that won’t run the light and we poor saps who get stuck behind a bad nominee will end up having to lay on the horn for another four years until either Palin runs next time around or someone else realizes that neither Obama nor an establishment Republican is willing or able to fix it.
“Unless there is a radical change in policy — implemented by a new president — the US may be transformed into an Europeanized business model that saps entrepreneurship and shifts the ownership of wealth from the ordinary citizen to oligarchs in industry and banking like the cabals who pull the strings in the EU,” Bernie Reeves writes at American Thinker.
The Republicans have alienated a large voting bloc by being silent or even complicit in their criticism of Palin for running that metaphorical red light. They should be capturing that enthusiasm and bottling it for future electoral victories. My late father said “the older you get the dumber you get.” How the Republican Party mutated into the party it is today, especially after Ronald Reagan invigorated it and handed it a new generation of voters, leads me to believe that my dad was right.
Despite whatever reason Palin decided not to run (whether it be for the security of her family or simply because she feels she can make more money while being more successful effecting change as a private citizen), there surely was no encouragement for her to decide the other way coming from the Republican establishment. Rather than go to Wasilla, they went to Trenton instead. They chose to shun her and fear her rather than to embrace her as the catalyst necessary for reviving the party and bringing in new members.
If everyone, including the party establishment, got behind her early on and stood up for her, she may have felt more of the calling. Instead, she may be thinking “why bother” knowing that she would be out there swinging in the breeze if she had run and won the nomination in a party that continues to be hostile to her. If they really knew how big of a voting bloc they were ignoring, they wouldn’t have insulted our intelligence by treating her and her followers like they were lightweights.
It wouldn’t be fair to blame the Republican Party outright for Palin’s decision to not run. It was her decision after all. But, it’s not unreasonable to blame the Republican Party for their absence while her supporters and the more fair minded (many of whom vote Republican) were out there defending her.
It’s fair to be critical of the party for not being more encouraging toward her and for not working harder on creating a political environment where more people like her feel more confident about running for political office. Maybe by not running, she will end up being more effective in bringing about change when her absence in the race makes the Republican Partys’ heart grow fonder and they realize that without her there, the RINO dishes keep piling up in the political sink and the conservative ones are still spotty.
We must understand first and foremost that the progressive movement has flourished for decades in an environment created by crony Republicans whose only real difference with the Democrat Party is that they prefer crony capitalism over crony socialism. For them it’s not about big government versus small government; it’s about who gets to run the government. While the center right cronies exchange power back and forth with the center left cronies each election cycle, “we the people” get left holding the bag even though it’s “we the people” who they keep getting to pull the levers or press the touch screens for them.
The days of just waltzing into the voting booth and voting Republican may be over if serious changes are not made in regards to what the Republican Party really stands for and the types of leaders it really wants to support. We may have to pull that lever this one last time just to get rid of Obama, but once Obama’s gone it has to be time for a serious discussion about whether the GOP wants to return to just business as usual without the socialism or if in fact they can be serious about executing the will of “we the people.”
We can believe all we want in small government and individual empowerment and responsibility. But, until we reform the GOP and assume the power necessary to effect change within the party, we will never be able to reform Washington and assume the power necessary to effect change within our government.
It’s “we the people” who should be able to decide who our nominee is and which direction the Republican party should go. This means challenging the establishment and reforming the party in such a way that it can embrace candidates like Palin instead of allowing them to feel like their family’s security is at stake or that the shackles of running for office outweigh the freedom of earning money on the open market. There is only so much crap even deeply committed patriots are willing to put up with before they say no to running. As a result, we get leaders with glitches instead of leaders with principles.
Some see the GOP as a party of the circular firing squad. Others see it as a party of blue bloods who keep shooting themselves in the feet to prevent themselves from running toward a more non-conventional candidate who just happens to have her pulse on the real feelings and desired direction of the American people. Because of this, we will once again go through the exercise of nominating someone who bores us to death but who is less of a statist than the other guy.
There’s a reason why the party establishment fears reform candidates like Palin or refuses to give “we the people” the appropriate say. All the big money that goes into funding the supposedly pro-capitalism party comes from people who are afraid that they can’t succeed without having their hand on the till in one way or another. They build their crony networks which in turn corrupts the capitalist system because they operate under the assumption that you can’t beat city hall. If they won’t allow people like Palin to change this, they will be right in their self-fulfilling manifestation of why it has to be that way.
Let’s face it. If you try to build a business on your own these days you either have to grease the system or beat it in order to be successful. Try beating the Federal government’s regulatory agencies, the IRS and the EPA and tell me whether or not it’s easier to just divvy up with the boys. You can understand why cronies do it. You just can’t understand why they won’t fix it. Therein lies the frustration and the finger pointing. The cronies are too comfortable to change and the American people are growing impatient with their being intransient.
The Founding Fathers would be beside themselves with grief if they were here now to see how badly our system of government has deviated from their intentions. The system that is supposed to be working with us now works against us. Many of us know that if it was the way they intended it to be, we’d be free and prosperous. That’s worth fighting for. That’s worth building a movement around. The call for restoration and renewal is not a slogan. It’s a clarion call for a political party that would like to be able to win elections again with the support of the people rather than with contempt for the people.
Socialism doesn’t work. It doesn’t have a source renewable revenue source. It drains from the rich and then collapses when the rich are no more. Crony capitalism doesn’t work. It keeps the wealth and power in the hands of a few at the expense of the many. Cronyism is born of cynicism. So is socialism. Some become exclusive members of the system and some work to collapse it. There is another alternative: fix it, renew it and restore it. This is where “we the people” come in. This is the alternative the Republican Party needs to offer if it is to avoid going the way of the Whigs.
Limited government, personal responsibility, a strong family unit, a belief in God and free market capitalism will work only if people are willing to stand up for it the way Sarah Palin has been standing up for it. There are millions of us out there. The idea that we can grow wealth across along socioeconomic lines in a free market economy is not a fantasy. A rising tide will lift all boats. Sarah Palin tells us that sudden and relentless reform is the only way to make this happen.
By not embracing this sudden and relentless reform, the Republican Party acts against its own best long term interests. Sarah Palin and her ideas are a meal ticket for the Republican Party. Her base would be an instant source of membership growth, if only the party would listen. Imagine how great the Republican Party would be if it embraced its Reagan roots and was in sync with Palin in fighting for energy independence, smaller government and an end to crony capitalism.
Everyone keeps bringing up Sarah Palin as a possible third party candidate. You want to know why? She is a third party. Her movement is big enough to put real numbers on the board had she decided to run that way. But she’s smart and she’s patriotic. She would rather give the Republican Party more time to reform itself appropriately than hand the election to Obama by splitting the vote.
Only time will tell where the Republican Party will go following Palin’s withdrawal from the race. Had there been a better candidate or even a comparable alternative, her supporters would have flocked to that candidate by now in much the same way Reagan supporters flocked to her in 2008. “We the people” know what we want and whether it’s Palin or someone who represents what she does, that’s the candidate “we the people” are looking for.
With her absent from the Republican field, we are getting to see a lot more about the current state of the GOP. Although she is still out there fighting for the cause, you can tell that by not having her plank in the race, the structure is weakened. What we’re not hearing in the debates from that 9th podium behind which stands no candidate is louder than what we are hearing from the other 8. The GOP establishment might have been scared of the spider, but they may just find out that there a lot more bugs now that the spider is not there.
–Listen to Patrick’s World USA Wednesday night on BlogTalk Radio.
I talked with Roderic Deane about this post on BlogTalk Radio show this past Sunday. You can listen to it here.