The Right Person
Last winter, Republicans had the chance to nominate a wholly conservative, Reaganesque politician—a man who was pro-life, libertarian, and smart. But the Republican party didn’t nominate Fred Thompson. Instead it nominated John McCain, a decent candidate, but far from a great one. The Republican party could have nominated a true, ideological conservative—but didn’t.
Let’s not make that mistake again. We can’t nominate a real conservative for president in this election—John McCain is a fine candidate, but hardly a true conservative. But in Sarah Palin, we have a leader in the mold of Ronald Reagan. She is steadfastly pro-life—she opposes abortion in all cases, even rape and incest. She also removes the “women’s rights” facet from the abortion debate—she refused to abort her Down Syndrome child. The pro-life movement has never had a stauncher ally.
She is also an expert on energy (at least as it relates to oil drilling). She was governor of the country’s largest oil producing state, and supports offshore drilling, drilling in ANWR, and nuclear power. Energy is perhaps the most important issue in this election, and it is an issue that Sarah Palin understands very well.
Most importantly, Sarah Palin is articulate; she can communicate conservative principles flawlessly. This ability was what made Ronald Reagan great; it has been George Bush’s greatest failure. Inarticulateness and political clumsiness has doomed many Republican candidates: George H.W. Bush looked at his watch while Bill Clinton felt a voter’s pain; Bob Dole couldn’t compete with the smooth Clinton, and George W. Bush, while he has won two presidential elections, has not been able to communicate his principles effectively. (One wonders how perceptions of the Iraq War would have differed had Bush been able to say something other than “stay the course.”)
This failure to communicate is a pity, because Americans like conservative ideals if expressed properly. Ronald Reagan won landslides, Rush Limbaugh is the most popular media figure in America, and Fox News is the most popular cable news channel. But Republican politicians haven’t been able to communicate this vision—none of the crop of Republicans running this year could be called a great communicator.
Palin is. I have just finished watching her convention speech. I came into the speech very favorably inclined towards Palin, and my judgment is, to be frank, impossibly skewed. I can’t give an unbiased opinion of her speech—but either she is brilliant communicator along the lines of a Barack Obama, or I can’t recognize rhetorical brilliance. (I mean that—possibly, I am so blinded by my liking for Sarah Palin that I am giving her speech too much credit). Her speech was brilliant—it hit Barack Obama hard, it showed who Sarah Palin is, and fired up the GOP base.
Republicans have been waiting for a conservative to lead the party for years—ever since Reagan. Palin could be that person. But we must make sure she is elected—her political career may depend on it. If John McCain wins the election, she will be Vice President and next in line for the presidential slot. If he loses, she will become John Edwards—a losing vice presidential pick. didConservatives must do everything possible to ensure that she wins.
When he stepped onstage tonight, John McCain said only one thing: “don’t you think I made the right pick”? He did.