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Taking the “Challenge to Sarah Palin’s Advocates”

By Stacy Drake

A contributor for Nice Deb by the name of “geoff” posed a challenge to Palin supporters on Monday. In a piece he titled “A Challenge to Sarah Palin’s Advocates,” geoff writes:

Here’s the real problem, Palin advocates. NiceDeb says she’s wondering whether Palin is truly electable: her fans are passionate, but so are her critics. Can she tip the balance?

Not without full-fledged support from the conservative base, she can’t. And she doesn’t have it yet. For instance, she doesn’t have my support. As I mentioned in the thread below, I like a lot of things about Sarah Palin. But I’m not convinced that she’s Presidential material, particularly with regard to her grasp of policy.

So, here’s your challenge. Convince me. Explain to me why she is in fact a qualified candidate for President – why her understanding of policy is strong and coherent, and why her vision for America is practical and promising. Or, if you’d rather, explain why it doesn’t matter. But don’t waste your time talking about how:

  • “She’s the only real conservative”
  • “She’s genuine and a straight shooter”
  • “She’s tough and strong”
  • “She gets things done”

I already know and appreciate these things. My concern lies with her handle on policy. I’ll give you an example.

Sarah Palin used the term “death panels,” and the liberal press (and administration) went nuts. It was fun to watch, but I was troubled by the way she handled it. When she first wrote about it, she said:

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

OK, Thomas Sowell is correct – care rationing and limiting care to the cheapest options (per the Comparative Effectiveness “Advisory” Panels) are inevitable consequences to the Obamacare system. People will certainly die as a result of the Comparative Effectiveness Panels’ “recommendations” (which will quickly become de facto mandates), so there are your “death panels.” So far so good – even the very controversial “level of productivity in society” makes some sense.

But when Palin was challenged, she started talking about the Advance Care Planning Consultation provision in the bill (which was recently wished to the cornfields). That provision certainly had the potential to be abused, but it had nothing to do with care rationing or decisions on treatments. And that gave the Left enough ammo to declare that Palin was either ignorant or a liar.

She had them dead to rights, and then wandered off message, as if she never really understood what the message was. And that really, really troubles me.

So. Teach me. Comfort me. Make me believe.

I’ll get to the “why she is in fact a qualified candidate for President – why her understanding of policy is strong and coherent, and why her vision for America is practical and promising” in a moment. For now, let me focus on the example he provided. He claims that Governor Palin “wandered off message” after being “challenged” (although he doesn’t provide a name or link for reference to who challenged her) because “she started talking about the Advance Care Planning Consultation provision in the bill.” I believe geoff missed a few things in his analysis.

Governor Palin never wondered off message at all. She has stayed consistent for a very long time with her criticisms of the various provisions within Obamacare that would have put some of America’s most vulnerable citizens, at the mercy of federal bureaucrats. As Whitney noted awhile back, Governor Palin provided a written statement to the New York Senate Aging Committee during the Fall of 2009, which said:

I have been vocal in my opposition to Section 1233 of H.R.3200, entitled “Advance Care Planning Consultation.”[1] Proponents of the bill have described this section as an entirely voluntary provision that simply increases the information offered to Medicare recipients. That is misleading. The issue is the context in which that information is provided and the coercive effect these consultations will have in that context.

To understand this provision fully, it must be read in context. These consultations are authorized whenever a Medicare recipient’s health changes significantly or when they enter a nursing home, and they are part of a bill whose stated purpose is “to reduce the growth in health care spending.”[4] Is it any wonder that senior citizens might view such consultations as attempts to convince them to help reduce health care costs by accepting minimal end-of-life care? As one commentator has noted, Section 1233 “addresses compassionate goals in disconcerting proximity to fiscal ones…. If it’s all about obviating suffering, emotional or physical, what’s it doing in a measure to ‘bend the curve’ on health-care costs?”[5]

Whitney added:

Essentially what such legislation would do is provides physicians with a potential financial incentive to initiate end of life counseling discussions with patients. The argument against this counseling is if patients were to opt not to seek certain treatments at the end of their life, it would save Medicare money. This would be due to potential coercion rather than autonomous or solely family influenced decision making.

Later when summarizing, Whitney addressed what Governor Palin had actually spoke out against, versus the media’s depiction of such:

Governor Palin was right in her opposition to both rationing via “death panels” or Medicare funded end-of-life counseling, and the media continues to fail to understand her opposition, nor the truth that lies in it. Her initial opposition and continued opposition is against undue influence by government who willingly admit that rationing is desired at the expense of quantity of care. However, her influence and truthful statements proved to have an impact on end of life counseling regulation and continues to be at forefront of everyone’s mind when health care reform and rationing are discussed.

To get bogged down in slogans or the single issue of government rationing alone, is to miss Governor Palin’s broader point. Which is that the federal government involving itself in the life and death decision-making process of Americans, is flat-out wrong. Especially since the main concern of bureaucrats is rooted in budgetary matters. Make no mistake, Governor Palin understands the various facets that make up the health care debate, very well.

Now, back to “why she is in fact a qualified candidate for President – why her understanding of policy is strong and coherent, and why her vision for America is practical and promising.”

She is qualified because she has spent the greater part of the last two decades in public service. She didn’t spend those years hobnobbing with the political elite in Washington D.C. Instead, she spent her time in a local municipality, and serving the constituents as the executive of one of America’s most unique states. To become governor, she beat a corrupt incumbent, who just so happened to be a member of her own party. Governor Palin also had an 80% approval rating, 19 months after being elected as Alaska’s CEO -which should tell you something about her governing abilities.

I could go on and on listing in detail all the various aspects on why her understanding of policy is “strong” and “coherent.” Governor Palin has provided a great number of detailed policy statements, on a wide variety of issues that I could highlight. From energy, to health care, to taxes, to crony capitalism, to national security, to foreign relations, to quantitative easing, etc… However, I think I’ll spare the readers. I do suggest taking the time to become familiar with her policy positions by reading her Facebook statements, Google her op-ed’s, purchase one of the books she has written, or one of the many written about her. The information is out there, you just have to know where to look.

Governor Palin has unstoppably optimism. She believes in America and in Americans. She has the ability to fight hard for what is right, while taking on the most vile attacks in the form of slander and libel against her character. To be able to stand up to this with a smile on her face, requires the sort of inner strength only great leaders posses. When you add her character, her motivation, her ethics, and her stance on the issues, you end up with the caliber of person almost unseen in the realm of politics today. She is not perfect, nobody is. But she’s good and she fights, and that my friend is “promising.”

So, I would like to thank geoff for this opportunity to address some of his concerns in regards to Governor Palin. If he is having them, then he is probably not alone. There is no question that the media have distorted almost every aspect of who the governor is. Therefore, it doesn’t surprise me that good conservatives like him may start to believe some of the narratives Obama’s press agents have created. I look forward to more dialog with our ideological peers in the near future.

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Governor Palin’s Top 10 Policy and Political Statements of 2010

By Whitney Pitcher

Hello, everyone! I apologize for not stating this with my first post, but I would like to thank Gary for inviting me to contribute to this blog. I’m honored. This post is the third in a series entitled “Governor Palin on the Issues” that I’m also posting at a few other pro-Palin blogs.

As it is the last week of 2010, in lieu of a “Governor Palin on the Issues” post this week, I’d like to compile a list of Governor Palin’s Top 10 Policy and Political Statements of 2010. You can find the first two “Governor Palin on the Issues” posts on monetary policy here and on entitlement programs here. Perhaps this can serve as an easily digestible version of some of Governor Palin’s policy stances for Charles Krauthammer, Dana Perino, Peggy Noonan and other Republicans ostriches who have willfully had their heads in the sands for the past two plus years. Through Facebook, op-eds that have appeared in the Wall Street Journal and National Review among others publications, and speeches, Governor Palin has weighed in on many of the important policy issues facing America today. She has also been the most bold conservative voice in America–challenging Republicans to stand firmly on the planks of the Republican party. There are, of course, more than ten policy and politically focused areas Governor Palin has taken a stand on this year, but it is my hope that this will serve as a summary. The selection of these particular ten statements are merely the opinion of one ordinary barbarian. They are listed by title and are in no particular order.

1) The Midterms: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward
Following the 2010 Midterm elections, Governor Palin penned a piece at the National Review entitled “The Midterms: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward”. In this piece, Governor Palin provided 4 lessons that Republicans can learn:1) set the narrative 2) fight back the lies immediately and consistently 3) get out the mother of all GOTV efforts in 2012 and 4) a winning conservative message must always be carefully crafted. Here is an excerpt from this excellent piece:

The last, and possibly most important, lesson is that a winning conservative message must always be carefully crafted. If candidates are going to talk boldly on the campaign trail about entitlement reform and reducing the size of government, they must be prepared to word it in such a way as to minimize the inevitable fear-mongering accusations of “extremism.” We are quickly approaching a fiscal turning point where these crucial reform discussions will be mandatory. We need to speak about them in a way that the public will embrace. During his first run for the presidency in 1976, Ronald Reagan found out that election campaigns aren’t necessarily the best settings for quasi-academic discussions about issues like Social Security reform. So for his next campaign, he resolved to build his platform out of tried and tested policies like tax cuts. Successful candidates in the next election cycle will have to test and develop similar policy platforms that address the crucial issues of entitlement reform and shrinking government in a way that the voters will find pragmatic and even attractive.

2) Why I support the Ryan Roadmap
A few weeks ago, Governor Palin wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal expressing her support for Congressman Ryan’s Roadmap to lead to a more financially stable nation through entitlement reforms, tax cuts, and spending cuts. Here is an excerpt:

Put simply: Our country is on the path toward bankruptcy. We must turn around before it’s too late, and the Roadmap offers a clear plan for doing so. But it does more than just fend off disaster. CBO calculations show that the Roadmap would also help create a “much more favorable macroeconomic outlook” for the next half-century. The CBO estimates that under the Roadmap, by 2058 per-person GDP would be around 70% higher than the current trend.

Is Rep. Ryan’s Roadmap perfect? Of course not—no government plan ever is. But it’s the best plan on the table at a time when doing nothing is no longer an option.

Let’s not settle for the big-government status quo, which is what the president’s commission offers. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to make these tough decisions so that they might inherit a prosperous and strong America like the one we were given.

3)Peace Through Strength and American Pride vs. “Enemy Centric Policy”
In June, Governor Palin gave a speech at Freedom Fest in Virginia where she spent a large portion of her time speaking critically of President Obama’s foreign policy and his disdain for American exceptionalism. She later provided excerpts of this speech on her Facebook page. Here is a small part of that speech:

It’s not the only area where the Obama administration has failed our allies. They escalated a minor zoning issue in Jerusalem into a major dispute with our most important ally in the Middle East, Israel. They treated the Israeli Prime Minister shabbily in Washington. When a Turkish sponsored flotilla threatened to violate a legal Israeli blockade of Hamas-run Gaza, the Obama Administration was silent. When Israeli commandos were assaulted as they sought to prevent unmonitored cargoes from being delivered to Hamas terrorists, the Obama Administration sent signals it might allow a UN investigation into the matter – an investigation that would be sure to condemn our ally Israel and bemoan the plight of Hamas. Loyal NATO allies in central Europe were undermined by the cancellation of a missile defense program with virtually no warning. At the same time, Russia and China are given preferential treatment, while remaining silent on their human rights violations.

4)Bailouts Reward Bad Behavior
During her time as Governor, Governor Palin managed Alaska with such fiscal prudence that nearly bankrupt states like California, New York, Illinois, and Michigan would do well to study and learn from her how to budget and spend appropriately. She wrote a Facebook post highlighting what she did as Governor to help put Alaska on strong financial ground, and she suggests that struggling states who may seek a federal bailout to do the same. Here is a small part of the post:

It’s one thing to veto spending and reduce the size of government when your state is broke. I did it when my state was flush with revenue from a surplus – though I had to fight politicians who wanted to spend like there was no tomorrow. It’s not easy to tell people no and make them act fiscally responsible and cut spending when the money is rolling in and your state is only 50 years shy of being a territory and everyone is yelling at you to spend while the money is there to build. My point is, if I could fight this fight in Alaska at a time of surplus, then other governors can and should be able to do the same at a time when their states are facing bankruptcy and postponing this fight is no longer an option.

So, let’s not continue to reward irresponsible political behavior. Instead of handing out more federal dollars, let’s give the governors of these debt-ridden states some free advice. Shake off the pressure from public sector unions to cave on this issue. Put up with the full page newspaper attack ads, the hate-filled rhetoric, and the other union strong arm tactics that I, too, had to put up with while fighting those who don’t believe a state needs to live within its means. Stand up to the special interests that are bankrupting your states. You may not be elected Miss Congeniality for fighting to get your fiscal houses in order; but in the long run, the people who hired you to do the right thing will appreciate your prudence and fiscal conservatism.

5) Passing the Buck Doesn’t “Plug the D#*! Hole”
Governor Palin was pointedly critical of the Obama administration’s mismanagement of the oil spill in the Gulf this past Spring. As a governor of an energy producing state and as a former oil and gas commissioner, Governor Palin’s opinion is particularly relevant. In May, Governor Palin posted a note on Facebook regarding this topic. Here is an excerpt:

The 1990 Oil Pollution Act was drafted in response to the Exxon-Valdez spill in my home state. It created new procedures for offshore cleanups, specifically putting the federal government in charge of such operations. The President should have used the authority granted by the OPA – immediately – to take control of the situation. That is a big part of what the OPA is for – to designate who is in charge so finger-pointing won’t disrupt efforts to just “plug the d#*! hole.” But instead of immediately engaging with this crisis, our President chose to spend precious time on political pet causes like haranguing the state of Arizona for doing what he himself was supposed to do – secure the nation’s border. He also spent much time fundraising and politicking for liberal candidates and causes while we waited for him to grasp the enormity of the Gulf spill.

6) Lies, Damned Lies-Obamacare 6 Months Later; It’s Time to Take Back the 20!
In September, six months following the passage of Obamacare, Governor Palin coupled endorsements of 20 candidates up against Democrats who voted for Obamacare with a scathing rundown of all the ills of Obamacare. In November, 18 of these districts represented by Obamacare supporting Democrats elected conservatives to fill those seats. Here is a brief excerpt from that Facebook post:

So, yes, those rationing “death panels” are there, and so are the tax increases that the president also promised were “absolutely not” in his bill. (Aren’t you tiring of the untruths coming from this White House and the liberals in Congress?) When the state of Florida filed a challenge to Obamacare on the basis that the mandates in the bill are unconstitutional, the Obama Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss the suit by citing the Anti-Injunction Act, which blocks courts from interfering with the federal government’s ability to collect taxes. Yes, taxes! Once the bill was passed it was no longer politically inconvenient for the Obama administration to admit that it makes no difference whether the payment is a tax or a penalty because it’s “assessed and collected in the same manner.” The National Taxpayer Advocate has already warned that “Congress must provide sufficient funding” to allow the IRS to collect this new tax. Pretty soon we’ll be paying taxes just to make it possible for the IRS to collect all the additional taxes under Obamacare! Seems as if this is another surprise that the public found out about after the bill was rammed through.

7) Senate Republicans: Vote No on New START
Governor Palin wrote a piece for the National Review earlier this month outlining why the Senate should not ratify the START treaty with Russia. Many supporters of the treaty tried to claim that President Reagan would have supported the treaty, as one of his goals was reduction of nuclear arms. However, as Governor Palin points out, President Reagan increased not decreased missile defense as President Obama has done:

New START recognizes a link between offensive and defensive weapons – a position the Russians have sought for years. Russia claims the treaty constrains U.S. missile defenses and that they will withdraw from the treaty if we pursue missile defenses. This linkage virtually guarantees that either we limit our missile defenses or the Russians will withdraw from the treaty. The Obama administration claims that this is not the case; but if that is true, why agree to linking offensive and defensive weapons in the treaty? At the height of the Cold War, President Reagan pursued missile defense while also pursuing verifiable arms control with the then-Soviet Union. That position was right in the 1980’s, and it is still right today. We cannot and must not give up the right to missile defense to protect our population – whether the missiles that threaten us come from Russia, Iran, China, North Korea, or anywhere else. I fought the Obama administration’s plans to cut funds for missile defense in Alaska while I was Governor, and I will continue to speak out for missile defenses that will protect our people and our allies.

8 ) An Open Letter to Republican Freshman Members of Congress
In mid November, Governor Palin wrote an open letter to new Congressmen and women challenging them remain true to the principles they ran on and to remember that they are accountable to the voters. In this, Governor Palin also gave a great summary of her stances on the issues of Obamacare, spending, taxes, entitlement reforms, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, the START treaty, and border security among other issues. Here is a small excerpt:

You’ve also got to be deadly serious about cutting the deficit. Despite what some would like us to believe, tax cuts didn’t get us into the mess we’re in. Government spending did. Tough decisions need to be made about reducing government spending. The longer we put them off, the worse it will get. We need to start by cutting non-essential spending. That includes stopping earmarks (because abuse of the earmark process created the “gateway-drug” that allowed backroom deals and bloated budgets), canceling all further spending on the failed Stimulus program, and rolling back non-discretionary spending to 2008 levels. You can do more, but this would be a good start.

9)Domestic Drilling: Why We Can Still Believe
Governor Palin’s forte has always been energy. As a wife of a former oil field worker, an Oil and Gas Commissioner, and Governor of Alaska, she has the perfect expertise to speak to how energy independence provides jobs and helps secure our nation. She also provides the perfect antithesis to President Obama’s overregulation. Governor Palin is a firm supporter of industry oversight rather than industry regulation. This approach holds energy companies accountable to the people while giving them the freedom to produce and provide jobs. Following the Gulf oil spill, Governor Palin offered her continued support for drilling for oil to fuel America:

All responsible energy development must be accompanied by strict oversight, but even with the strictest oversight in the world, accidents still happen. No human endeavor is ever without risk – whether it’s sending a man to the moon or extracting the necessary resources to fuel our civilization. I repeat the slogan “drill here, drill now” not out of naiveté or disregard for the tragic consequences of oil spills – my family and my state and I know firsthand those consequences. How could I still believe in drilling America’s domestic supply of energy after having seen the devastation of the Exxon-Valdez spill? I continue to believe in it because increased domestic oil production will make us a more secure, prosperous, and peaceful nation.

10) Palin to Bernanke:’ Cease and Desist’
Governor Palin warned of the hazardous effects of the second round of quantitative easing by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. Printing money will inevitably lead to inflation and other effects that will not help an already severely hurting economy. The National Review Online published some of her remarks on this from a November speech in Arizona. Here is part of that excerpt:

We shouldn’t be playing around with inflation. It’s not for nothing Reagan called it “as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber, and as deadly as a hit man.” The Fed’s pump priming addiction has got our small businesses running scared, and our allies worried. The German finance minister called the Fed’s proposals “clueless.” When Germany, a country that knows a thing or two about the dangers of inflation, warns us to think again, maybe it’s time for Chairman Bernanke to cease and desist. We don’t want temporary, artificial economic growth bought at the expense of permanently higher inflation which will erode the value of our incomes and our savings. We want a stable dollar combined with real economic reform. It’s the only way we can get our economy back on the right track.

Governor Palin wrote numerous Facebook posts and op-eds on a variety of subjects in 2010. This list only provides a small taste. In addition to what was listed Governor Palin wrote about the Bush tax cuts, border security, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the mosque at Ground Zero, among others. Many of these posts were endorsements of candidates who received a great boost from her support. Her 140 character tweets even spoke volumes. In 2010, Governor Palin spoke at various industry conferences, campaign rallies, pro-life events, conservative conferences, and the like. Not too shabby for someone whom, according the Elites, isn’t serious about policy; wouldn’t you say?

Have a blessed new year, everyone! While many of Americans will be eating black eyed peas to ring in the new year, I hope that the elites acquire a taste for a steady diet of crow in 2011.They’ll certainly being eating quite a bit of it in the coming year.

Crossposted here, here, and here.

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