It has become customary over the past two-plus years for “journalists” and columnists to play a number of dog-eared cards from their deck of memes, slights, and misconceptions about Governor Palin in their articles and columns. A syndicated editorial piece by Bonnie Erbe (who is no friend to strong, out spoken conservative women as Michelle Malkin can attest to) published this weekend plays several of these cards against Governor Palin, her book, and her potential run for the presidency. Erbe begins by mocking Governor Palin’s star power and her straightforward approach. Then, she goes on to provide her own off base, biased, mocking summary of Governor Palin’s newest book by playing the racist and anti-feminist cards and mocking Governor Palin’s unabashed conservatism:
In it, she blasts feminists (after once having called herself one) and waves the flag of racial division. She blasts Democrats as Socialists, bullies Republicans for being too weak-kneed on budget items and dares to tread where no man (or woman) in the national political spotlight has had little-enough common sense to tread before.
Ms.Erbe must have read a different book than scores of Americans and I are reading, but like many of her “journalist” counterparts, Erbe feels that insinuating that any conservative who opposes the President on any aspect of his progressive agenda is a racist. My challenge to Erbe, David Frum, and Richard Cohen is to read pages 23-33 of America by Heart, and then attempt to say Governor Palin “waves the flag of racial division”. In this particular section of the book, Governor Palin briefly outlines the history of America and race from the Constitutional convention to to the Civil War to the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr.. Governor Palin even praises candidate Obama’s speech on race during the 2008 campaign. Governor Palin recognizes the errors of America’s past while encouraging Americans to be unified around the exceptionalism that is America. When discussing academia’s propensity to talk about slavery in light of America’s birth, Governor Palin writes on pages 24-25:
It sometimes seems like slavery is all that liberal academia and the mainstream media wants to talk about when the topic is America’s birth, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t acknowledge the contradiction that slavery represented to American principles. To do less is to denigrate the greatness of those principles. To love our country is to confront our history squarely and honestly. To love our fellow Americans is to admit that we have not always, as a nation, respected their God-given rights.
Governor Palin is definitely not waving a flag of “racial division”there, but instead a flag of American unity based upon a truthful understanding of our past and an optimistic outlook of our present and future.
Later in America by Heart, Governor Palin eschews the notion of liberal feminism based upon victimhood, big government, and pro-abortion stances. She does not bash feminism; she redefines it based upon the rugged individualism of the pioneering women of the West and the work of the earliest American women involved in American and Alaskan politics. Throughout the book, yes, Governor Palin does criticize liberal politicians and squishy Republicans. When the Democrats recent policies have resulted in trillions of dollars in new spending and greater government involvement in industries and Republicans behave more like liberals, then Governor Palin never hesitates to call a spade a spade.
Beyond the ideological cards, Erbe decides also to play the all-too-often used card of “polarization”. Erbe references a recent CNN poll which shows Governor Palin to be unfavorable to the American people as a whole. Authors all too often ignore that many people are unfavorable of the caricature of Governor Palin that has been portrayed by the media, not the person herself. In August, I wrote something that still remains true today (with the exception of the fact that President Obama has maintained his negative double digit approval rating for more than 4 months now):
In spite of all the media attacks and frivolous ethics complaints levied at Governor Palin, and despite the misrepresentations of her stellar gubernatorial record over the past nearly two years, Governor Palin maintains a 44/47 favorable/unfavorable rating, a favorability index of -3, in the country. Contrast this with President Obama,whose approval index has stayed in the negative double digits for more than six weeks straight and for the vast majority of 2010 in spite of the fact that the President has a largely doting media supporting him. Despite what the media have done to support President Obama and trash Governor Palin, it seems that the country likes Governor Palin more than they approve of President Obama.
As Stacy recently highlighted, the polarization card is often played to marginalize Governor Palin. However, when Governor Palin is seen as more favorable than the President is seen approved, and the majority of American people see their views are more in line with Governor Palin’s than President Obama’s, the media (and the rest of us) have to ask themselves, who really is polarizing?
In addition to falsely stating that Governor Palin was disloyal to Senator McCain during the 2008 Presidential campaign and levying gratuitous knocks at Bristol Palin, Erbe closes her piece by playing a card often played by the likes of Meghan McCain:
The chaos never ends. And on one level her mastery of it is fascinating. Her ability to consume way more than her share of “ink” or media coverage is incredible as well. But as a stateswoman or seasoned politician there’s no there there.
The question for now is, has she become over-exposed? Will the media tire of her shortly? Will she just have to keep getting more and more outrageous to get attention?
I do not believe she could possibly win a general presidential election. But I also feel sorry for the Republican Party hierarchy because it will have absolutely no say in whether she runs for the nomination or not. Let us hope the media and the public tire of her increasingly predictable routine.
It is ironic how so often the likes of Bonnie Erbe and Meghan McCain complain about the amount of press Governor Palin receives by writing a editorial piece about Governor Palin themselves. Beyond that, Erbe attempts to diminish the Governor Palin as a purveyor of chaos who seeks to gain attention and as a tactless, wild woman of a politician who has no chance to win a Presidential election, but may very well defy the potential wishes of the anonymous hierarchy of the Republican party.
Governor Palin does not seek to gain attention for herself, but for a message that she has become the face of over the last two years: commonsense conservative ideas, clean, uncorrupted government, and a media that seeks to inform public opinion not give its own. Erbe is right. Governor Palin is not a seasoned politician; she is an experienced leader with character. She has twenty years of experience in politics. She has experience in the private and public sectors and involvement in negotiations between the private and public sectors. She has been a city council woman, mayor, oil and gas commissioner, governor, and vice presidential candidate. Stateswoman she is, contrary to Erbe’s assertion. No one has endured such attacks on her family, herself, and her record of achievements as Governor Palin has, and yet has handled it with such grace. People with in her own party have repeatedly diminished and insulted her, yet she has always adhered to Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment with grace.
The unnamed GOP hierarchy may continue to feel threatened by her potential presidential run, but no other potential candidates adheres to the principles of the Republican party better than Governor Palin. Should she seek office, her “Big Tent” will have its stakes firmly driven into the foundation of those core values of the Republican party–limited government, strong national defense, and the sanctity of life. Why should Erbe be “concerned” that a potential Republican candidate adheres to the planks of the party platform better than the party leadership does?
Erbe and the rest of the columnists and “journalists” who attempt to play from their deck of cards against Govenror Palin could learn a lesson from Kenny Rogers in his song, “The Gambler”, ” you gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run”. These “journalists” can choose to fold or walk away. They are playing with a bad hand.
(H/T Stacy and Dave C)