Sarah Palin Private Citizen — The First Year
By: David Bozeman
On July 3, 2009, Sarah Palin outsmarted her critics yet again by stepping down as governor of Alaska. She not only spared her state another year of politically-motivated lawsuits and ethics charges, she robbed the left of its most potent weapon — as Sarah Palin the private citizen, she could now move freely about the country, wielding her enormous influence without fear of endless investigations and possible censure.
Of course, bloggers and pundits quickly dubbed her a quitter, prompting Ron Reagan, Jr. to state recently on CNN’s Joy Behar Show that his late father would not have admired the 2008 VP nominee. Hey, Ron, given that Sarah is, arguably, a more influential conservative spokesperson now than she was in 2009, when the know-it-all class was writing her political obituary, I would venture that the Gipper is smiling down on her as we speak.
In the past twelve months, she has become a bestselling author, a Fox News commentator and a highly paid speaker. All told, she has earned — and here’s what really irks the liberals — roughly $12 million. But most importantly, as Pat Buchanan recently detailed, she has endorsed a slew of winning candidates in GOP primaries, out-maneuvering no less than Dick Cheney in backing Rand Paul (over Trey Greyson) in Kentucky and Rick Perry (over Kay Bailey Hutchison) in Texas. Her efforts benefited Carly Fiorina in California, as well, and she most famously bucked the Republican establishment in November by endorsing Doug Hoffman of the Conservative Party over liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava in New York’s 23rd Congressional District. The Democrat ultimately won in a recount, but Hoffman finished second, with the Newt Gingrich-backed Scozzafava having already bowed out.
Not only does Sarah Palin hold influence, she knows how — and where — to wield it, endorsing Nikki Haley for governor in South Carolina and Terry Branstad for governor in Iowa, both key primary states. Is a presidential run on her agenda?
Who knows? But the tide of media groupthink is so strong that even some Palin-istas concede that her niche is public speaking, as she just doesn’t possess the gravitas to be a national leader. Still, she sounded presidential when Bill O’Reilly pressed her as to how she would handle the oil spill if she were in charge. With nary a hesitation, she replied that she would gather the best minds in their fields and she would not have turned away offers for help from the Dutch, as the Obama Administration notoriously did.
Her ascendency in political life represents the triumph of common sense over hype and platitudes. Even the White House has responded in the past year to her remarks about death panels and her “drill, baby, drill” mantra. She, along with the Tea Party movement, embodies the ideal that the ordinary American can not only take on City Hall, she can run it.
Still, the former governor stands in a class all by herself. Washington is full of smart people who can cite facts and strike the sophisticated poses of the moment, but Palin is positively brilliant by consistently succeeding spectacularly beyond her intentions and coasting on the winds of destiny. Obama’s campaign rhetoric is hitting the hard, unforgiving wall of reality, but Palin and company are living their loftiest dreams through faith, family and hard work. Here’s hoping your splendid example extends into 2010-11 and beyond.