I’m accustomed to being the odd man out when it comes to political opinions, and I’ve become accustomed to taking some flak on that basis. I’ve read a number of very good articles offering the reasons why Sarah Palin should run for President, and given her departure from Fox News, there are many who are already speculating about a 2016 Palin run for high office. Various writers have mentioned her blue-collar appeal, her record of fighting corruption, and her ability to stand apart from her party when doing that which is right had demanded it. As a campaigner, she’s an undeniable phenomenon and her record of endorsements turns out to have been much better than those who claimed her endorsement wasn’t “worth snot”(as Steve Flesher reminds us,) but with all of that in mind, there’s something that has bothered me about the idea that she would run. You see, even as I watched her deliver a barn-burner of a speech in Indianola, Iowa in the September of 2011, and again as I watched CPAC 2012 via C-Span, while each crowd broke out into chants of “Run Sarah, Run,” I looked at the humble but forthright soul standing alone before the multitudes, thinking to myself that despite her fitness regimen, she isn’t really the running type. In my mind on both occasions, the words echoed: “She won’t run. When the time comes, she will do as she’s always done: Sarah Palin will stand.”
Politicians talk a good deal about running for this office or that, and since the election of 2012, I’ve noticed a number of politicians making some noise about running in 2016. Running is something politicians seem to do quite well, but in evaluating Governor Palin’s record, what I’ve noticed is that she stands. It might seem to be a trivial distinction, but I believe there’s something to be said for the difference. She stood against corruption from her earliest days in politics until the day she left public office in 2009, but even out of office, her stance on such matters has not changed. She stood on her record of opposing corruption when she decided to stand for election in her state’s gubernatorial race.
It was Sarah Palin on a field in Iowa who raised the issue of “crony capitalism” that rattled the primary season’s entrants as they all scurried to avoid branding with that label. The corrupt President also felt the heat on the issue as the Solyndra scandal, along with others related to his phony “green jobs initiatives” were exposed. She still warns of the corruption that seems to multiply where governmental power and money intersect, but as much as that may mean to we conservatives, having stood firmly against corruption on both sides of the political divide, she hasn’t earned so many friends in Washington. That hasn’t deterred her,as stand she does, irrespective of her detractors, even when it has meant standing alone.
Many politicians love to talk about compassion, but when it comes to acting it out, they employ the coercion of government as the means to their allegedly compassionate ends. Governor Palin is one of the very rare politicians who has said on numerous occasions that it is the voluntary compassion of Americans that she favors. Thinking about the difference inherent in this notion, permit yourself to wonder at what a better world it would be if compassion in America was once again restored to the province of personal choices made by millions upon millions of individuals acting out of love, rather than coerced by statist goons at the point of a gun.
Some politicians run on notions of “compassion” that rely in the first instance upon a government boot on the necks of all Americans, irrespective of their personal travails of the moment, or the strains under which individuals find themselves in the pursuit of their daily lives. Instead, Sarah Palin stands for a compassion that is real, and unifying, but against the fraudulent “compassion” that divides so much of our society. She speaks to the true compassion in the hearts of conservatives, a form of generosity that rings like Reagan’s message that compassion isn’t measured by the number of people languishing on government programs, but instead by the number who no longer need them.
Governor Palin stands for constitutional principles, and whatever one thinks about the wisdom of this bit or that piece of our US Constitution, her vigorous defense of it all makes her quite unlike most politicians who merely run for office. Having been the governor of a rather unique state among the fifty, she was determined to see that the programs she worked to implement met the letter and the spirit of her state’s unique writ of governing authority. Any politician can run for office telling voters what they want to hear, but how many are willing to stand on principle for that plain old notion of first following and adhering to their respective departments’ highest laws? Governor Palin stood for the rule of law.
In these dark days, we have instead a lawless President who ran for office promising to work around the law. It’s one thing to make empty or devious promises while running for office, but it’s another thing entirely to stand as a guarantor of the rule of law. Governor Palin recognizes that to undermine the supreme law of the land is to undermine its legitimacy, thereby endangering the republic it had forged, such that without this solid foundation, a people are left with no firm ground upon which to stand in their darkest hours.
One theme on which Governor Palin has stood unabashedly firm is that the Republican Party’s establishment must ultimately bend its will to the interests of the country, or find itself displaced. It’s no secret around the country that so many in the grass-roots of Republican Party activism frequently feel betrayed, not only by the elected politicians, but also by the vast consultancy and the bureaucracy that likes things just as they are, however they may be, so long as the music continues to play and they can continue to cash their paychecks.
Together, these comprise a healthy segment of that which she has termed the “permanent political class,” because no matter who is in power, whichever party may prevail in a particular election, they never go away, or never very far, because they have their hooks set so deeply into their victim: The American people. Her willingness to stand against the establishment of her own party, and indeed the entire sick machine that is Washington DC, has set her apart from all those others who run for office, run again, and then again, but who seldom seem to accomplish much of anything to merit their respective tenures.
In an earlier time in our republic’s history, it was common to speak of politicians “standing” for election. These days, “running” seems all the more appropriate as most simply kick our nation’s can of troubles down the road one election cycle at a time, as they run for political cover. When I think about “running,” the next word that enters my mind is usually “away,” and in our modern political discourse, it seems all too frequently to have been the tactic of so many politicians to run from difficult issues, instead of standing for the principles previously espoused, with damnably few exceptions. When I think about the word “stand,” it has an entirely different meaning. To stake out a position and defend it, against the shrill critics and the maniacal media is a much harder thing to do, and yet throughout her career in public office, that is precisely what Sarah Palin has been doing all along.
Take a stand. Make a stand. Stand your ground. I’m still standing. Stand and be counted.
These are all phrases that come to mind when I consider Sarah Palin’s record. She has stood for her faith, her family, and her country, purposes she puts first in her life every day, but if this country is to recover from the Hell that’s been and the Hell that’s coming, it’s going to take leaders who are willing to do more than merely run for office. Mitt Romney ran. In the minds of many, in the final debate, he ran and hid. Contrasting this against the sort of defiance against corruption one witnesses from Governor Palin, and her continued willingness to take on her party, it’s hard to place the Sarah Palin into the context of running except as exercise. In my mind, playing over the chants of “Run Sarah, Run,” on an Iowa field, it’s never been more important to understand that what this country really needs is a leader who will stand.
Some people simply aren’t suited to the sort of running in which most politicians engage, and I’ve long held that Sarah Palin is one of those political rarities who breaks the mold of the ordinary. I hope you’ll forgive me if indulge my own hopes for a country reborn, as through the din between my ears, I hear instead the chant of “Stand Sarah, Stand,” knowing that if she is called to stand for our republic, I, along with millions more, will cheerfully take our places standing alongside her in the battle for our nation’s future, whatever form it may take.
Follow-Up: I began this posting when I learned of the departure from Fox News, and needed only to clean it up a bit, planning to do so before being called in to the office where I spent most of the day and evening, Saturday. As if in advance answer to this very post, Governor Palin gave responses to a Q&A with Stephen K. Bannon, now posted for all to see over at Breitbart. Here’s a taste, and I believe it supports my thesis:
“I was raised to never retreat and to pick battles wisely, and all in due season. When it comes to defending our republic, we haven’t begun to fight! But we delight in those who underestimate us.”
Whatever form it may ultimately take, she will stand.