Friday, July 20, 2007

Fred Barnes and Sarah Palin: He Did Everything But Propose Marriage


"Winning isn't everything, but losing isn't anything." (Vince Lombardi)

"Republicans make terrible choices for vice-president, so we've decided to help them." (The "4 Palin Movement")

This is an adapted version of my reply to Sanity’s comments about my interview with a Pittsburgh reporter regarding the Movement to draft Sarah Palin. I don't want a Rudy-Sarah administration (or a Fred-Sarah, or a Mike-Sarah, or a John-Sarah one) to scratch anybody's ideological itch. I want them to SOLVE PROBLEMS and CREATE MORE UNITY in this fractious nation.

Are there any significant negatives to a Sarah candidacy? There certainly don't seem to be. Yes, I idealize her somewhat, but I'm also the one who keeps reminding everyone that there are no perfect candidates. "For all have sinned, all have fallen short of the glory of God."

In the interview, I tried to bring up my point of 50-years-of-bad-vice-presidential-choices-by-Republicans, a thought-provoking point (why did it happen?), but one that didn't go anywhere. Historically, Republicans make awful decisions about the vice-presidential role. Our efforts on behalf of Sarah are an attempt to break that cycle.

Sanity, do you remember when I was trying (too hard) to get a guy to join the 4-Palin effort, and he kept asking about her “stand” on immigration? In your nice way, you told me to stop pandering to him -- and suggested (demurely?) that he was a Mexican-hater.

You were right. He wanted to know if Sarah supported the building of the "Berlin-Wall-on-the-Rio-Grande." He didn't want to hear that immigration is too complicated and too important for any sane person to concoct a position that fits on a bumper sticker.

The far-right (what Sanity calls the "absolutists") won a great "victory" in defeating immigration reform. The cost of the victory may be electoral defeat in 2008 -- and perhaps for many years after that. (See my comments later today on what the Economist magazine said on the subject.)

In the interview, it may have been my own deficiencies, but I couldn't get across the point that politics-as-usual will not work anymore. The three leading Democratic candidates (Edwards will fade quickly) will be: a white woman, a Black man, and a Hispanic (Richardson). Against such dynamic candidates some Republicans are proposing our classic ticket of two aging white guys, one eligible for Medicare, one almost there.

Lorie Byrd, a superb political columnist for TH, has suggested that a good choice for V-P would be Michael Steele, a Black man who served as Lt. Gov. in Maryland and ran for the U.S. Senate there. On my original short list of good candidates, I listed Sarah Palin, Michael Steele, and Mike Huckabee (an ordained Baptist minister and Palin supporter Kerry’s choice for the presidential nominee). They’re all un-traditional candidates.

Let me be clear: I support Sarah Palin as the best possible candidate for the vice-presidential slot. There are other good choices (Steele and Huckabee), but Sarah is the best one.

In Fred Barnes's fine piece on Sarah, he did everything but propose marriage to her. What other candidate, Democrat or Republican, would merit such an article? The most intriguing thing about Barnes's observations is that they're true. It's a tribute to the finest woman in American politics.

My fellow Republicans need to remember that this is NOT the America of 1948 or 1952, and there's no Eisenhower (a moderate Republican who wouldn't be acceptable to the modern Right) out there.

Why is it so difficult to get some people to recognize the situation? Elephantman, who's 20 years old, figured out months ago when he determined that Sarah Palin could make the GOP ticket a winner.

There are signs out there that people starting to think with their brains rather than their rear ends.

This morning on CNN, they released the latest poll numbers from South Carolina. Rudy Giuliani had 28%, John McCain 20%, and Fred Thompson 17%. The people on CNN (liberals John Roberts and Bill Schneider) were amazed. How, they asked, could a former Mayor of New York be leading in a Deep South state, one with a large number of evangelical Christians? (The media hate it when voters don't live up to journalistic stereotypes.)

Recently, one South Carolina evangelical (and a strong pro-lifer) put it this way: Rudy, he said, is “resolute . . . a leader.” The man added, “And I think he can beat Mrs. Clinton.”

That’s going to be a major consideration in the months ahead. Right now, Rudy Giuliani is probably as happy as a man strolling through a field of high cotton (old Deep South saying). It's still early, but he is looking like a winner.

Stephen Maloney

Ambridge, PA

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