With one bold masterstroke, everything that was so wrong with American politics has been made right. It is as if Frodo just dropped the Ring of Power in the lake of fire at Mount Doom, and, as the third book of The Lord of the Rings reports, “There was a roar and a great confusion of noise…Towers fell and mountains slid, walls crumbled and melted, crashing down….Then all the Captains of the West cried aloud, for their hearts were filled with a new hope in the midst of the darkness.”
American politics was broken because the conservative movement that has been so effective since 1980 suddenly seemed to have no representation this year. McCain seemed to be too moderate to lead and inspire the conservatives. In Barack Obama, the Democrats have nominated the most liberal/left candidate in American history, based on current and past voting records, policy positions, rhetoric, and background, farther to the left even than George McGovern. Disaffection with the Republican Party generally seemed to leave the formerly vast conservative legions with no significant political leadership at all.
Development of the issue of energy production, initially introduced into the debate by Newt Gingrich, opened a ray of hope. The extremely revealing Saddleback Church debate last month showed McCain to be far more conservative than previously perceived, raising hope still further.
But with the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain’s vice-presidential running mate, American politics has been reborn. As the accidents of history have come together, Palin is no ordinary vice-presidential pick. Here is why her selection is so significant, which the old establishment, now highly partisan media cannot even begin to comprehend, because they are not capable of effectively covering and reporting on the Republican Party and the conservatives.
LET US ASSUME that McCain serves out his first term just fine. He will be 76 at that point. He is unlikely to run for reelection because he would be 80 by the end of a second term, older than anyone carrying the burdens of the Presidency has ever been. At that point, a Margaret Thatcher version of Ronald Reagan would be standing first in line for the Republican nomination for President.
At age 44, Palin is no kid. She has already demonstrated in deed as well as the spoken word that she has a well-developed, consistent conservative philosophy across the board. She has cut taxes at both the state and local government level. She has slashed wildly overgrown state spending. She has recognized that we need to produce energy for our economy to run on today, and not just dream about the possible future of the at present flower power alternatives of wind and solar. Obama and his minions give every indication of not understanding this in their childlike rush to start shutting down oil before real alternatives are ready.
On social issues, she is a leader of the pro-life cause, consistent on pro-life issues across the board. She is a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association (NRA). She is openly an evangelical Christian and proud of it. When she herself was pregnant within the past year with a child diagnosed with Down syndrome, she went ahead and gave birth to in her words “a beautiful baby boy.” In America today, 90% of such Down syndrome babies are aborted.
By example as well, she has rebutted quite decisively Obama’s statement earlier this year that if one of his daughters made a mistake and became pregnant, he “would not want to punish her with a baby.” When the world just discovered that Palin’s 17-year-old daughter was 5 months pregnant, Palin announced that her daughter would give birth to the child and marry the father. How can anyone see killing their grandchild in their daughter’s womb as a morally acceptable alternative in these admittedly difficult circumstances? In any event, Palin obviously walks the walk as well as talking the talk.
The point is that with the moderate McCain at the top of the ticket, the addition of the solidly conservative Palin suddenly unifies and energizes the Republican Party as it has not been for years. Already, contributions to the Republicans and to the McCain campaign have surged.
IN ADDITION TO THIS, there is the women’s vote. Suddenly, the Republican ticket offers an exciting history shattering precedent as well. Palin as the first woman vice president will solidify Republican women as never before, and bring in more independents as well. Moreover, because of continued angst even in female Democrat ranks over the treatment of Hillary by the party and the Obamaites, Palin will, indeed, draw in even moderate Democrat female voters, particularly with the moderate McCain at the top of the ticket. Liberals are already saying, no, it was never about the getting the first woman into national office, it was really all about getting the first liberal woman into office. But millions of women voters will not buy that baloney.
But does Palin have the experience to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency? Palin has been an elected public official since 1992, five years longer than Obama, who first took office as a state legislator in 1997. She has executive experience as a former mayor, and by January, she will have served as a Governor for two years, compared to 4 years in the U.S. Senate for Obama, who has never had any executive experience. (Jimmy Carter was a one-term Governor from Georgia for just four years, and the liberals never doubted his qualifications).
Palin has had a stellar record as Governor that has won her an 80% approval rating. Besides cutting taxes and spending, Palin has already led a multistate agency to win approval and construction for a new pipeline that will bring more natural gas to the lower 48 states, and consequently help lower prices. She has also led an anti-corruption campaign that took on senior officials in her own party. After fingering the Republican state party chairman for ethics violations, she beat in a primary challenge the incumbent Republican governor who tried to cover up the violations. She then went on to defeat a former Democrat Governor in the general election.
In sharp contrast, Obama declined to join challenges to the Chicago Democrat political machine. Instead, he curried favor with the machine, and he won his elections with its support. Obama’s former fundraiser Tony Rezko, now in prison, was a party machine man, not an ethics reformer. Obama’s legislative record is meager, as he has mostly tried to claim credit for non-controversial initiatives that he supported along with almost everyone else.
PALIN HAS BEEN CRITICIZED as lacking any foreign policy experience, a trait she shares equally with Obama. But as a consistent conservative, she surely understands that diplomacy offers no hope if not backed up by a strong military option. By contrast, can we really trust the consistently left-wing Obama on maintaining our national defense? This is the man who has said that as President he would phase out our nuclear deterrent, a point to be revisited in a future column.
In any event, Palin surely does not entertain the again child-like notion advanced by Obama that he could talk a murderous dictator like Ahmadinejad out of the mass genocide he promises for Israelis or the severe terrorist threat he poses for our own nation. Sound positions on these critical issues are far more important than experience.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?