Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Gov. Palin, Senator Jim Webb and the "Issues"

Note: In this column, I'm going to write about Sarah Palin and her "stands" on national issues. It's clear that some pople have a basic misunderstanding of the role of a state governor, as opposed to a federal official. Frankly, governors are not some elected form of "talk-radio-callers," people who are never at a loss for opinions. ("Rush, I have an opinion on this-here Global Warming thing . . . ")

Senator Daniel P. Moynihan once said, "We have a right to our own opinions, but we don't have a right to our own facts." Most talk-radio callers, talk-radio hosts, and even columnists have a habit of ignoring Moynihan's point.

The fact is that any state governor -- be it Alaska's Sarah Palin or Pennsylvania's Ed Rendell -- has opinions on many subjects. However, unless their views are a legitimate matter of state interest, they keep their opinions to themselves. States don't have their own foreign policies, and they don't have their own immigration policies.

When Sarah Palin, committed to keeping taxes down, veoted many items in the state's capital budget (hundreds of millions of dollars worth), she often wrote next to the veto signature these words: "Not a matter of state interest."

That's a critical point many people fail to recognize. Certain issues are legitimate concerns of governors, and others are not.

Spouting opinions on various subjects, no matter how tempting it might be, is not part of a governor's responsibility -- something that Ed Rendell knows as well as Sarah Palin.

The national issues that also have state consequences for Alaska are energy, the environment, taxation, political corruption, and economic growth. Gov. Palin is extremely strong on all these national/state issues. That strength is what led columnists like Fred Barnes and Dimitri Vassilaros to feature her in recent articles. It's what has caused the Republican Governor's Association to devote its current website ( to the praise she's drawn for her accomplishments.

When the time comes for Sarah Palin to speak out on issues like Iraq and immigration, she should do so. That time will come when she speaks to the Republican nominee and he offers her the vice-presidential slot.

Before then, she should follow the example of Ed Rendell and every other governor with a grain of sense -- and keep her opinions on bumper-sticker issues to herself. She understands that, as the highest elected official in her state, actions speak much louder than words. Her actions on critical issues have earned her a 90% approval rating. That's a very good start.


As I said to Sanity in another communication, I had a long -- and rather unsetting -- interview today about Sarah Palin's candidacy for the vice-presidency (and someday, for the presidency). The interview reminded me of how ideologically intense politics in the USA have become.

I strongly support Sarah because she's an honest, hard-working, constitutionally oriented person who is a fierce campaigner and a winner. Her job in the nation's highest office(s) would be to make America more secure and, to the degree possible, to enable people to feel more satisfied (well, a little more) about their lives. She should be a healer of divisions, not a creator of them. The presidential and the vice-presidential candidates have to bring the country together, which they're not going to do with ideology and partisanship, but rather with character, compassion, and communication skills.

As for GWB, he got deeply wounded politically on immigration. Of course that spills over and affects his degree of public support on other issues.

Look at it this way: the Dems say they oppose the war (i.e., oppose George Bush's conduct of it) but support the troops. That is in fact a meaningless distinction, as Senator Kit Bond of Missouri, whose son is serving in Iraq, said this morning on CNN. Opposing the War -- and doing so in a politically cynical way -- confuses and HURTS the troops. It encourages the enemy. It results in deaths and injuries to American soldiers. Senator Bond was too gentlemanly to say that, so I'll say it for him.

To Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, John Murtha, Jim Webb, and other ideologues, I say this: you have blood on your hands. You are trading American lives for the votes and support of your "base," one-third of whom believe GWB was complicit in 9/11. You are listening to the fanatics -- mentally unbalanced America-haters -- in your effort to stay in office. That is not leadership. It is a form of political indecency, obscenity.

Senator Webb's son is fighting in Iraq. He's trying her best to prevent psychotic people from murdering innocent Iraqis and destroying any effort to create a decent society. And what is Senator Webb doing? He's taking political steps to ensure that the fanatics win. He's putting his own son at risk for reasons that are incomprehensible. It's disgusting behavior.

Speaker Pelosi wants to fight the War in Afghanistan. Why? Because the polls haven't yet turned completely against it? And what about when the sacred "polls" show diminished support for that effort? Then, like John Edwards, the Dems may declare the WOT an illusion. If we close our eyes and wish upon a star, there will be no bin Laden, no al Qaeda, no mass murders.

Then, the Dems can go back to their favorite task, which is redistributing income and ignoring foreign policy. Hey, it worked for Bill Clinton!

I guess this is why I'm not a big fan of the Dems.

Stephen R. Maloney

As the day goes on, I'll write about Sarah and "national issues." In fact, the challenges Sarah is grappling with in Alaska -- especially energy, the environment, taxes, economic growth, and political corruption -- ARE critical national issues. She's dealing them with practically and decisively -- and in a way that's brought her a 90% approval rating, which is about 70% higher than the ratings for the Democrat-controlled U.S. Congress.


Sanity102 said...

Being "Right" on all the issues hasn't helped Bush...Rudy, McCain, Romney, Fred, name it. No matter which "side" you matter which "answer" you give...SOMEBODY under the GOP tent is going to be upset. SOME radio talk show host is going to accuse the person of being "not conservative enough".

The GOP is down to "counting pennies" in political clout...we just don't have enough to go another round on illegal immigration..."buying a Palin" is like buying rich ice cream...filling enough to get you past lunch and leave you enough funds for a half way decent dinner.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Sanity, as usual, you said it very well. I'm going to quote Ronald Reagan (yeah, me too!) on my blog today. A major reason that Reagan -- a moderate conservative at most -- was such a good President was that he was a good person. I wonder if with his views on "amnesty" and on going to any length on freeing American hostages if he'd be acceptable to the far-right wing that is so active these days.


Sanity102 said...

Steve...I commented on your strange encounter on my blog...go take a look.