July 7, 2009

The real coin...

Angelo M. Codevilla, Who the Hell Do They Think They Are? - - The Corner on National Review Online:

....But as the nation celebrates the anniversary of the revolution of 1776, every presidential hopeful should realize that in the next election Sarah Palin — or someone like her — could be the vehicle for another revolution. The distinctions between Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, are being overshadowed by that between what we might call the "Court party" — made up of the well-connected, the people who feel represented by mainstream politicians who argue over how many trillions should be spent on reforming American society, who see themselves as potters of the great American clay — and the "Country party" — the many more who are tired of being treated as clay.

As of July 4, 2009, Sarah Palin is the leader of the Country party. The fact that she did almost nothing to earn that position underlines that party’s nature and power. Neither did Ross Perot, who led that party in 1992. Perot, recall, never identified himself with any sector of American opinion or society. His appeal was simple and powerful: The U.S. government and the top rungs of American society, he argued, are filled with incompetents at best, corrupt losers at worst — people who make no sense and don't like the rest of us. Unlike the rulers, he spoke ordinary English, like one of the ruled who had had enough. He sounded like Ronald Reagan without the conservatism. Until his eccentricities disqualified him, tens of millions were ready to vote for him simply as the representative of the "outs."� Just as in 2008, when Barack Obama won by adding a few Country-party votes to his liberal ones, Sarah Palin could win in 2012 by adding a potentially huge number of Country votes to conservative ones.

We can see the nature and power of today's Country party by noting how little Sarah Palin did to become its head. The person whom candidate John McCain introduced on August 29, 2008, struck the nation like James Stewart in the 1939 movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: somebody like you, who speaks your language, unlike the politicians and bureaucrats who talk, act, and live as if they were better than you. To confirm that impression, Palin hardly had to do anything. The Court party did it for her, and she leads the Country party because highly placed people have demeaned her and everything she stands for more than they have anybody else. They heaped contempt on her for the unpardonable sin of being an ordinary American....

Codevilla's statement that Sarah "didn't do anything" to become head of the "Country Party" is true, since a large part of the people who warmed to her just looked at a few symbolic items—Moose-hunting, Trig, big family, heartland style—and were satisfied. But the statement is also factually ridiculous.

She's no Perot. Unlike a Ross Perot, who jumped into the role more or less on the spur of the moment, Palin has been living that role, and turning it into solid accomplishments, for many years. She's the PTA mom who decided to run for city council. And then for mayor. An office where she didn't just posture, but rolled up her sleeves and did stuff. (And made mistakes. That's GOOD! A person who never makes mistakes isn't trying anything difficult.)

And then did real work at the state level, and fought against the Republican entrenched elites. And, as governor, focused on one big difficult thing, and did it. (The natural gas pipeline, which had been deadlocked for decades.) That showed real managerial wisdom—the leaders who make a difference always focus their energy on a few key points, rather than try to fix everything.

Sarah Palin is the real coin. That's why I'm a fan. Not because she's being attacked by frightened elites. I never wased a minute on Ross Perot. And I've always thought that Mr. Smith Goes to Washington stuff is STUPID. Working in government is a skill, won over years of hard mucky toil. The built-in weakness of the Republican Party is that it is anti-big government in its genes, but needs to use as tools politicians...that is, people who want to be part of government! (The Dems have their own structural weakness—they are socialist in their genes, and socialism never works.)

The most precious asset the Republican Party can have is effective politicians who are not seduced by power and elitism.

Posted by John Weidner at July 7, 2009 9:18 AM
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