Saturday, February 11, 2012

Palin, Reagan, Thatcher, and the Political Second Coming of 1976

Today, February 11, 2012,  Governor Palin gave the closing address at CPAC. Today also marks 37 years since Margaret Thatcher was elected to be the head of British Conservative party ousting former Prime Minister Heath. That same year, 1975, Thatcher was given that leadership, Ronald Reagan gave his famous "bold colors, no pastels" speech to that year's CPAC convention. Three leaders whose principles and passion drive them, not their political party.

Governor Palin's barnburner of a speech hit on everything from her call to stand for life to highlighting how Obama's policies led to the MF Global's disastrous loss of billions of dollars of people's money to criticizing how the Obama administration is sharing nuclear intelligence with the Russian Kremlin . She carved out every leg of the stool.  She hit on the permanent political class who, rather than viewing Washington D.C. as a cesspool that needs drained, see Washington as a hot tub to lounge in. She called for not a red or a blue America, but a red, white, and blue America--unity against a president who is not trying to win the future, but lose our country. She also called for the presidential candidates to stick to the issues and to the need to replace President Obama in the issues. Perhaps drawing (in a bit of a softer way) from her recent Facebook post about the cannibalistic methods of GOP Establishment, Governor Palin called on the candidates to avoid the personal attacks and misrepresentations and lies of each other's records. There's no need for the Republican Party to become the political Donner party to only make the Democratic machine's job easier in the general election.

Any words I could type about this speech would not do Governor Palin justice. The best thing to do is watch it for yourself. There are some who, even after this speech, which required 4 overflow rooms to be open at the event with who knows how many watching at home, downplay Governor Palin's influence. There are some who say that if she was a real fighter she would have thrown her hat into the ring for 2012. However, Governor Palin's flame has not be snuffed out, as Adrienne Ross noted yesterday. She is still a fighter. None of the current presidential candidates went to Madison, Wisconsin in the midst of one of the fiercest reform battles in modern American history. None of the others stood with the Tea Party when we were essentially deemed accomplices to murder following the horrible Tucson shooting in January of 2011, yet Governor Palin did--even while she was the main target. Today, she stood with us fighting a two front ideological and strategic battle with both the GOP Establishment and the Left. Governor Palin has always stood with us, not in front of or behind us. She has spoken with us, not at us or to us. She has done so, not to score political points and not to gain political power. She has done so because it is who she is. She happily clings to principle; she doesn't bitterly cling to power. What you cling to is what guides you.

 Personally, I've always thought of Governor Palin has the political lovechild of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Ronald Reagan's "bold colors, no pastels" speech came when he was not an office holder, nor had he launched his 1976 presidential campaign. Margaret Thatcher's position as head of the British Conservative party came when her party was in the minority. She wasn't running for prime minister at this time. In the timeline of conservative political history, so many have tried to correlate this year's upcoming election with that of 1980. While there is indeed a Jimmy Carter like figure in this election; there is not a Reagan like figure. While there are no perfect political parallels, perhaps this election year begs the question if  it is really the second 1980? Perhaps instead it is the second 1975-1976--when the conservatives in America and in Britain called their parties to be bold in their principles and in their foundation. After all, what good is a "big tent" if the tent pegs are driven into a mushy ground?  Conservatism is often described as a three legged stool, and indeed it is, but it's that stool won't hold together unless it is bound by the seat of character and the glue of the optimism and good humor. This is the principled bond of Thatcher, Reagan, and Palin. Because these principled leaders reasonated with so many people, they were often tried to be silenced by their critics. However, they all possessed that "glue" of optimism and good humor in the face of hecklers, as Rubegonia has captured in this clip of Palin's speech today and one of both Reagan's and Thatcher's speeches:


 Thank you, Governor, for being principled and passionate, and happy birthday!

Crossposted here and here.

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