Adam Graham
Don't mess with Sarah Palin
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By Adam Graham
July 7, 2009

Some conservatives fear Sarah Palin's political career is over with her recent decision to resign as governor of Alaska. Captain Ed Morrissey has even ripped into Palin for quitting and dismissed any reason she might have for resigning as nonsensical.

And he got slammed with 3000 comments on a thread filled with vitriol. Other bloggers came to Morrissey's defense, including Patterico who, despite disagreeing with Morrissey's analysis, thought it wrong to declare criticism of Palin verboten. Morrissey is a great blogger and shouldn't be written off, but is the reaction to him merely for suggesting Palin made a poor move?

On Monday afternoon, I listened to a friend's radio show. He also believed Palin's career in public office to be over, however he emphasized not Palin's decision to quit, but the unhinged nature of the far left's attack on her that he deemed to have succeeded in forcing her out. Several people disagreed with him, and a few hoped he was wrong, but he didn't get any rude or angry callers. The difference in focus is key.

If one believes Sarah Palin was driven from office because of cruel personal attacks on her children and frivolous legal allegations that have become the bane of her and her staff's existence, with thousands of state tax dollars and personnel hours being wasted responding to idiotic ethics complaints, Morrissey's comments are far from sympathetic:

    I've seen a myriad of excuses on Twitter and e-mail for this bizarre resignation: her legal bills are too high, she's putting her family first, she doesn't want to distract Alaskans because of cheap-shot ethics complaints that are distracting everyone. None of those make any sense. If the spotlight was too much, then she shouldn't have run for office in the first place. If she's quitting because people are taking potshots at her, then she's not the kind of political fighter we thought she was.

However, much of what Palin has received, she could not have possibly anticipated, including the unprecedented abuse of Alaska's ethics systems and that the media has decided that every one of her children is open game, from her son who's fighting to defend our country to her single mother daughter to her infant son, who has been the recipient of the most vile cruelty. No governor of Alaska has had this happen to them, nor has any former Vice-Presidential nominee.

Beyond that, Morrissey piled on a woman who has been trashed for the past eleven months because she's a conservative. Who can honestly blame her for leaving? Apparently, Morrissey.

Palin is the most popular figure among Conservative Republicans. They don't just like her policies, they like her, they empathize with her. Most Palin fans find themselves divided between the disappointed and the uncertain. Except for the few true believers absolutely sure this is a brilliant political decision, Morrisey's unkind political obituary hit a raw nerve.

In reading the Internet comments on Palin's resignation, I find few people angry at her, a few people wanting to dance on her political grave, but a lot of people discomfited. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Tx.) once told how, when he saw Barry Goldwater nominated, he thought that people like him could get elected, and when he saw Goldwater defeated, he concluded people like him could not win, it was the election of Ronald Reagan that changed his mind.

What angry conservatives may not admit is that many of our hopes and dreams have been invested into Sarah Palin. To many of us, she symbolized the idea that the ordinary middle class person can make a difference. Now, we are left with haunting questions.

Personally, I can't blame Palin for stepping aside under the pressure she was under. I have friends who have suffered the vicious slings and arrows of the far left and have not run for office since. Former Congressman Bill Sali was vilified by the media and slandered by the Democrats with allegations that painted the false picture that a twenty-year-old tax lien was a current problem. On top of that they had his social security number and his wife's "accidentally" were sent out to tens of thousands of homes. The Democrats initially excused the conduct by saying Sali had brought it on himself with the twenty-year-old, long settled tax lien. Congressman Sali probably won't run again, and I can't blame him.

But here's the problem we are left with. We can't blame these people for not running, but if decent people will not run because they do not want to be reduced to rubble by our political processes, where does that leave our nation? If these conditions prevail, who would ever consider a run for political office? Sociopaths and the grinning tools of the political establishment, who know the political buzz words, but when they get in office will do nothing to advance conservative values. Is government "by the people, for the people, and of the people" dead, to be replaced by either government "by the sociopaths, for the sociopaths, and of the sociopaths" or government by "the cronies, for the establishment, of the establishment"?

We can't simply dismiss this with clichés. If the odds are too great, if the heat from the leftist fire is too strong for any to withstand, conservatism is done. No matter how good our ideas, we can't win the game if we can't put a team on the field.

Whatever Sarah Palin does over the next few months, she has to show us she's still fighting. If she does more for the conservative cause out of office than in it, she'll win and conservatives with her. Otherwise, the momentary leftist triumphalism will quickly turn into long-term conservative disappointment.

© Adam Graham

 

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Adam Graham

Adam Graham was Montana State Coordinator for the Alan Keyes campaign in 2000, and in 2004 was a candidate for the Republican nomination for the Idaho State House... (more)

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