Jay Tea: Sarah’s Sense of Smell

As many are aware, a “controversy” has recently been ginned up in some circles over Governor Palin’s decision to skip CPAC and attend a Tea Party event. This has caused some to question Governor Palin’s motivations. How dare she attend an event associated with the fledgling and, consequently, less organized Tea Party movement in Nashville instead of David Keene’s established CPAC event in the nation’s capital?

A couple quick thoughts. First, these events are not mutually exclusive. She could have attended both. The fact that she chose to skip CPAC has nothing to do with her attendance in Nashville. I suspect those whose feathers have been ruffled know this. Their real issue is not with her decision to attend a dreaded “for-profit” Tea Party event but rather her decision to forego CPAC.

Her reasoning for skipping CPAC is, as always, straightforward for anyone who actually takes the time to listen. Unfortunately, those who disagree with her reasoning seek to impugn it by either disbelieving her or insisting there’s more: that she’s hiding something. This is reminiscent of her decision to step down as governor in July. When she resigned and stated her reasons for doing so, many insisted there had to be other, more nefarious reasons for resigning the governorship. An obsessed blogger in Alaska even cited a non-existent “FBI investigation” as her true reason for resigning.

Jay Tea, at Wizbang, wrote an excellent article in which he makes these points very well:

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: if you want to understand what Sarah Palin is up to, just listen to her.

She’s not a political sophisticate, folks. She doesn’t wrap everything she says in layers of nuance and meaning. She doesn’t have secret agendas and she doesn’t spin wheels within wheels. She says what she thinks.

For the latest example, witness her declining to attend this year’s CPAC conference.


Palin has a simple explanation for skipping: she’s displeased with the conduct of CPAC’s leaders. More specifically, CPAC head David Keene’s coupling an offer to support FedEx in a legislative battle with UPS with a request for a couple of million dollars in donations.

Tea continues by pointing out that this is exactly the sort of self-dealing that Governor Palin has been fighting her entire career, as anyone who has studied her career would know:

Anyone who didn’t see this coming ought to turn in their Junior Palintologist badges. (Me, included.) Because anyone who knows anything about Palin’s past should have connected the dots.

When Palin first ran for Lieutenant Governor of Alaska, she lost. As a sop, she was given a seat on the Alaska Oil And Gas Conservation Commission. It was supposed to be a pat on the head, a place where she could quietly sit and show her loyalty.

But she didn’t play along. She found some seriously rank corruption while there, and tried to expose it. And when she was thwarted, she publicly resigned, cited precisely why she did so, and filed complaints that eventually led to quite a few powerful Alaskan politicians (Republicans, no less) losing their jobs and paying hefty fines.

Then, a few years later, Palin ran for Governor on a “clean government” platform — and won.

The lesson to be learned here is that Palin absolutely does not “go along to get along.” If she finds something morally repugnant, she will not turn a blind eye — no matter how it might benefit her personally. She might not become a crusader, but she will pointedly distance herself from it and make it abundantly clear that she finds it unacceptable.

In a post last summer, we discussed Keene’s antics in his dealings with FedEx. Tea does not mince words when he explains why this is precisely the type of self-dealing that causes honest public servants like Governor Palin to cringe instinctively as they seek to abolish it:

With CPAC, she sees the situation very simply: Keene made an offer to support FedEx while simultaneously asking for their support. Perhaps in the eyes of the law he didn’t quite solicit a bribe or propose a quid pro quo arrangement with the shipping titan (their money in exchange for CPAC’s political clout), but the simple perception is that he did — and that’s exactly the kind of bullsh*t Palin fought — and beat — in Alaska.


I recall vaguely at the time the Keene/FedEx mess broke thinking “oh, great, what a dipsh*t,” but shrugged it off as small potatoes and “the price of doing business.” I didn’t get on board some grand crusade against Keene, because I had things I thought more important.

That might have been a mistake. Tolerance for that kind of conduct is a real problem. It needs to be stomped down, and stomped down hard, whenever it rears its ugly head — no matter on which side.

Exposing and eradicating this kind of, shall we say, less than pristine behavior has been, as Tea noted above, one of the hallmarks of Governor Palin’s political career, even going back to her battle with a self-dealing colleague, Nick Carney, when she sat on the Wasilla City Council. Tea ends his piece with the following:

It’s a lesson our current president could stand to learn. Look at the people who Obama has chosen to associate with and surround himself with, only casting them aside when they prove too much of a liability. Jeremiah Wright. Tony Rezko. Valerie Jarrett. Timothy Geithner. Van Jones. Andy Stern and the SEIU thugs. ACORN. The list goes on and on.

Not one of them would have lasted five minutes in Sarah Palin’s circle of friends and advisors, no matter how burnished their Republican credentials would have been.

So, instead of CPAC, Palin will be attending the first national convention of the Tea Party folks. A gathering of people who, quite frankly, have no use whatsoever for the national leadership of the GOP (or the Democrats, for that matter) and are looking for others who aren’t so enamored of the Inner Circles that they have forgotten simple principles and common decency and common sense.

When something doesn’t pass the smell test, Governor Palin is one of the few public servants who’s not afraid to take a stand against it, regardless of the political consequences. For that she not only deserves our support but, equally important, our respect. Read the rest of Tea’s piece here.

(H/T Josh Painter)

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