Friday, November 4, 2011

Introducing Sarah "John Wooden" Palin

With Governor Palin's decision not to seek the GOP nomination, many want to pigeon hole Governor Palin into the role of "cheerleader", as if there was some false dichotomy between being a player in the game and being a cheerleader.  Perhaps it's my personal former point guard/semi anti-cheerleading bias, but I didn't see a cheerleader giving a speech to the Florida GOP--her first fundraising speech following her decision not to seek the nomination. I saw a coach. To be sure, Governor Palin helped raise more than $900,000 for the state GOP, more than the Democrats did in the entire third quarter.  However, cheerleaders cheer for the players; they don't offer ideas. Coaches offer ideas. Governor Palin offered an articulate discussion of  capitalism vs. crony capitalism and entitlement vs. empowerment. She discussed the relationship between energy independence and the economy. She praised the Tea Party for being among the first to express disgust against the bailout culture in Washington. Here are a few clips from this speech on Thursday:

Even prior to her decision not to run for president, Governor Palin was offering ideas and driving the debate ranging on everything from energy to quantitative easing. Most recently and prominently this was seen in her discussion of crony capitalism, corporate welfare and bailouts, which she focused on heavily in her Tea Party speech in Iowa in September. Two months later, Governor Palin's ideas are at the forefront of the economic discussion. Congressman Paul Ryan, whom many Tea Partiers and Establishment GOPers alike see as the economic golden boy, has made this a key point of his economic message (see the 2:00 mark and following):

Congressman Ryan took a lead from Governor Palin's speech two months ago and continues to articulate the message that Governor Palin has put forth. Some argue that in order for Governor Palin to have an impact, she must run for President, therefore her decision not to run removes her impact. The past month has proven that this is not the case. Ideally, Governor Palin would seek the role of player-coach and drive the debate while playing the game. Her prayerful decision led her a different direction for now. However, she continues to "coach" by presenting the ideas necessary to win the game. Whether it is crony capitalism or quantitative easing, perhaps Governor Palin is becoming the John Wooden (of whom she is very fond) of politics. Wooden's famous quote (often misattributed to President Reagan) of "It's an amazing what can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit" sounds a lot like "you don't need a title to make a difference", doesn't it?