We are all, at one level or another, creatures of habit. That’s a good thing, most of the time. I mean, if we woke up to a world everyday where we had to figure out how to feed and clothe ourselves, with no idea of what would come next, none of us would leave very productive lives. But there’s a dark side to habit – that being the phenomena whereby we attempt to pigeonhole everything that happens, so we can process it, understand it (in terms of previous experiences) and move on. This system of shorthand evaluations doesn’t work at all, however, when you run smack dab up against something new. New is…different. It doesn’t fit the mold. It doesn’t lend itself to snap analyzes, or fitting into patterns. But “new” is where innovation comes from. It’s where solutions come from. And it’s where our future lies.
Consider (soon-to-be former) Gov. Sarah Palin.
Palin’s announcement that she will not run for another term and will resign her post by July 26 took literally everybody by surprise. The press and Washington-insider pundit corps were NOT amused. This was not a predictable move. This was not expected. And this was not something they could process by falling back on old habits.
They were forced to do something they don’t often do, nor are they good at it, nor do they like it. They had to think for themselves.
Most got it wrong. Stories loudly proclaimed “Palin’s Pipe Dream of Presidential Bid Over Forever” and other such hogwash. The Liberal bloggers had a field day, manufacturing stories about how she’s about to be indicted on bribery this or embezzlement that. Hogwash.
I’ve done a lot of thinking on this. And I’m gonna go out on a limb and tell you what I think she’s up to, and what I think – and hope – will happen.
Party politics is facing extinction. Good riddance. Neither party, GOP or Dems, work for We the People. (More like “We the Special Interests.”) Elections have become a choice between “Bad” and “Worse” instead of “A” and “B.” Michael Savage put it best, I think, when talking about the election between Bush and Kerry. He characterized it as chosing between “Coke” and “Diet Coke” instead of a real choice between two different approaches/ideologies.
Stepping into this mess was VP Candidate Palin. Sarah Palin is the 7-UP in this scenario – the UN-politician. She’s not just a breath of fresh air – she’s a veritable hurricane of change. I have a sister-in-law with the same refreshing attitude…she simply tells you what she things, with no ambiguity, and no apologies. Lays it right out there, good, bad, or indifferent, you can’t ignore her – and you respect her honesty, even if you don’t agree with her.
From where I sit, it looks like McCain’s staff thought they could “hire” Palin to shore up the lack of enthusiasm by the GOP party faithful (read: “Reagan Republicans”). They also thought they could just trot her out like Caribou Barbie, and have her act like a good little candidate – a useful idiot who would speak only what they gave her to say, and only when they chose to pull the cord and let her speak. What a surprise it must have been when she had a mind – and a will – of her own.
Think back to Reagan’s campaign against Walter Mondale. Reagan’s handlers tried to force him into a preconceived form during the first debate. Reagan lost that one, looking like a fish out of water. Then, somebody got the bright idea to “let Reagan be Reagan.” From that point on, Reagan jumped into the lead and never looked back. Palin had her “put her in the box” moment(s) in the last campaign. McCain’s people kept her from doing what she does best – speak her mind, with opinions from the heart.
All this recent hubbub – the dustup with that has-been liberal hack Letterman and the Vanity Fair hatchet piece by the former McCain staffers – is a big indication of what the liberals and the country-club Republicans think of Sarah Palin. They are scared to death of her. Palin is the real deal. The genuine article. She can’t be bought. She can’t be molded. She can’t be controlled. She’s her own person, and let’s common sense and principle be her guide. She simply will not “go along to get along,” the way so many politicians do. The left hates her for her authenticity and appeal to the “huddled masses yearning to be free”…of progressive politics. The Rockefeller Republicans, Centrists, and country-club set hate her because she’s a threat to their “compromise is King” mindset. They don’t see that the times they are a-changin’, and “business as usual” is about to get the old heave-ho.
Palin transcends politics. She doesn’t need the GOP to get elected. You can’t say that about anybody else – not Romney. Not Giuliani. Not Huckabee. Palin alone has the ability, charisma, and skills to be able to take her case directly to the people. I think her move is designed to take the chains off – you can’t really, effectively run for President while you’re tied to a desk in Alaska. I think she’s making a bid to take her case to the people, on a national stage. No more will she have to worry about pulling her punches, letting her critics use her (and her family) for target practice, without returning fire. Now she can spend time building on her support to form an unassailable national base for a run at the White House.
This scares the parties like nothing before. Palin is positioning herself to become either a more-than-viable UN-party candidate, or to dictate terms to the GOP if she decides to let them come along for the ride. Palin is, in effect, pulling a “John Galt,” saying to the party leaders, “Get…out…of…my…way!”
I love it.
I see Palin going around the country over the next two years, making speeches (like Reagan did), building a network of loyal, grass-roots supporters (like Reagan did), and staying as much off the radar of the media and the dinosaur parties (like Reagan would have, if faced with the conditions today). Palin is going to remake politics, and take the power away from the power-brokers and put it squarely back in the hands of the people.
The parties just don’t get it. I remember when Newt’s “Contract with America” got the Dems thrown out and the GOP assumed control of Congress for the first time in decades. When that happens, everybody plays “musical offices” – because to the victors go the spoils. One long-time Dem chair of some committee said something like, “well, I’ll certainly make room on the committee for more Republican input.” He didn’t get it…he was no longer in charge. He had to change offices (to a smaller one), reduce his staff, even lose a choice parking space. The parties are just like that. They are so used to being in charge of the candidates and the direction of the country, they cannot conceive of what life will be like when they have no power. That time is coming. People are fed up – on both sides of the political spectrum. The people that voted against Obama in the last election weren’t voting FOR McCain. (Personally, I was voting FOR Palin, and hoping that McCain would have to bow out for medical reasons shortly after taking office.) McCain was “Obama Lite…all the progressive ideas, but at a slower pace.” The poor schmucks that voted for “Hope” and Change” and pulled the donkey lever must be feeling like asses now. My favorite new bumper sticker reads “How’s that ‘hopey,’ changey’ thing workin’ out for ya?” – I can’t believe that what we’re getting is the kind of “hope” and “change” Obama’s supporters were expecting.
Palin offers a real choice – a return to Constitutional, founding-father’s principles, and a return to common sense. No more posturing. No more pandering. Common sense, logic, reasoning, and principles will rule the day. The parties will either change and adapt to this new political reality, or they will rue the day.
I can’t wait.
So Gov. Palin, if you’re listening…you go, girl! America is ready, willing and able to support a candidate that speaks the truth to power. We’re ready to leave polarizing, party politics behind and look for REAL solutions. And we are ready for you, Sarah. Godspeed and knock ’em dead.