Thursday, January 14, 2010

Passion over Palin

Passion over Palin
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet

I have had some reaction to the piece I wrote on Sarah Palin recently -- some good -- some not good. The one thing all comments had, however, was passion. Either the commenter hated her with a passion, or the commenter loved her with a passion. There does not seem to be any middle ground when it comes to Sarah Palin. I am STILL asking why? She has become a polarizing figure.

OK, so maybe I am just thick-headed. Heck, I'll even admit to that. But for the life of me, I cannot see how Ms. Palin, of whom, I had barely heard a word prior to the announcement of her candidacy as McCain's running mate, could come out of the frozen north, still thought of by some as America's frontier, and create so much controversy. THAT was one thing. But AFTER the election, after everyone had gone home, after the party was over, after the lights had been turned out, the bad press just never seemed to stop, or even lessen. Her family problems are the very same problems American families all over the country deal with every day. I am convinced the left made a serious error in judgement by making an issue of the Palin family problems. It created sympathy for the Palins and disgust in conservatives for what was perceived as unwarranted intrusion, by the media, into a family's private affairs.
As far as Alaska politics are concerned... I am a Carolina boy. We know a little something about bare knuckles politics here in Dixie. Take a look at the trouble our former NC governor is facing currently. Then swing your gaze southward to our sister state and the trouble the SC governor is in currently. It gets down and dirty in the Carolinas when politics are involved. So, the political machinations of Alaska's politics, and politicians, made little, if any, impression on me.

As I said in an earlier piece, it DID trouble me that she quit, but, since I have no investment in what Ms. Palin does, or does not do now, or in the future, I did not give it a second thought. It is politics. I moved on.

It seems to me that a neutral observer of the late presidential campaign would have to agree that the "negative" press coverage of Ms. Palin was a bit of "overkill." As a card carrying member of the press for many years, I saw very little subtlety in the way the MSM went after Ms. Palin. It appeared to me to be very nearly a quest to defame her in any way they could so as to render her a neutral threat to their man, Obama, for whom, they were, and are, deeply in the tank.

In the end, it did not seem to matter, one way or the other, for the GOP ticket was doomed from the beginning, long before the voters had heard of Sarah Palin as the Vice-Presidential candidate on John McCain's ticket. For at least two years this old southern boy had been declaring that Senator McCain would never be President of the United States. I am not clairvoyant, I have no crystal ball, and I assure you I am no prophet. What I DO have is knowledge of my fellow southern conservatives.

You see, the day McCain "dissed" the Confederate Battle Flag, any chance he had to garner the bulk of the southern conservative vote was ended. As he had done that just a few years prior to the 2008 campaign, the time he spent campaigning in the south during the 2008 campaign was wasted effort. His status as a "RINO" pretty much slammed the door on any chance he MAY have had.

But THIS is what peaked my interest in Palin. After the election and the Obama win, the Mainstream Media continued their campaign to "Get Palin!" Many southern conservatives, and other conservatives across the land, did not like what they were seeing. (Allow me to add that not ALL conservatives saw it that way. There are a number of conservatives, southern conservatives among them who feel Ms Palin is a phony, to put it bluntly.) It was interpreted by many as an obvious campaign to destroy any credibility Ms. Palin had or might have as a candidate for ANYTHING in the future. Conservatives saw it as sure sign of fear from the left. They quickly became convinced that nothing else could, nor can, account for the zeal of the left in attacking and going after Ms. Palin. What are they afraid of?

The school of thought on that particular question that I tend to lean toward is this: When the political left saw the attraction of conservatives to Ms. Palin, the same conservatives who were supposed to stay home on election day, they panicked. They had to DO something. And they did.
They attacked.

The unrelenting attack on Palin by the left is what has stirred my interest. Had they backed off after the election and stirred clear of Ms. Palin, she would not be nearly as popular today as she is. At least that is my opinion. The cacophony of anti-Palin drum beating, by the left, has drawn the attention of many, many, conservatives who ordinarily would have moved on until the next election campaign or cycle. But the left has kept the attention of conservatives on Palin and drawn many more to the Palin camp as sympathizers.

Now the Republican Party has climbed aboard the "Get Palin" train. Why? The GOP is scared witless that Palin will be the first presidential candidate of the Tea Party in America. If that should happen, she will split the republican electorate, take a slew of votes away from the GOP candidate, and, most likely, insure another victory for the Democrats. However, Palin's possible Tea Party candidacy would suddenly boost the power of those members of the GOP electorate who subscribe to the Tea Party's conservative philosophy. They most certainly would be invited to sit at the table with the high "muckity-mucks" of the GOP and actually have a say in what the GOP does. But, we warn fellow conservatives. This is a power play that will have a high cost. I am convinced it will cost the GOP, and the Tea Party, the White House in 2012.

If the GOP is serious about retaking the Congress and the White House they had better bite the bullet and work with Palin (as bitter a pill as that might be to swallow) and the Tea Party -- not against them. The tide amongst conservative and Independent voters is toward a conservative replacement for the current occupant of the White House and as many current occupants of the House and Senate as possible.

If the GOP goes to war with Palin, the GOP WILL lose... in more ways than one. They will most certainly lose in the Mid-Term elections, this November, and they will absolutely lose their bid for the White House in 2012 -- and they will lose a huge chunk of their electorate who will move over, officially, to the Tea Party. Going after Palin is not an option to be considered by the GOP as tempting as it may seem.

Palin may be a "penny match phenomenon." She may flare up suddenly, producing lots of heat and light, then die down slowly, and eventually go out. I have no way of knowing and I don't want to guess.
Now, here's the thing: If, in the future, Ms. Palin should become a Congressperson, a Senator, Vice-President, or even President, the political left in America will have only to look in a mirror to discover on whom to place the responsibility for her success. At least, that is my opinion.

J. D. Longstreet

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