Ed Rollins Engages in “Green Journalism” against Governor Palin; Updated

We are all well aware of the numerous examples of yellow journalism that has been printed about Governor Palin over the past 2+ years, but following the midterm elections just a month ago, it seems that more and more liberal pseudoconservative political analysts have added another hue to their palate and engaged in “green” journalism. The “green” environmentalist adage of “reduce, reuse, recycle” has now become applicable to the numerous anti-Palin screeds that have come out over the past month. First, any arguments made against Governor Palin have been reduced to ad hominem attacks and non-substantive arguments about her political strategy and potential run for president, then these reduced attacks and arguments are reused by other psuedoconservatives and recycled by other news outlets. It has become nothing but a vicious cycle.

In a recent interview, Governor Palin answered a question posed by Chris Wallace regarding negative comments made by Karl Rove in reference to Governor Palin’s travelogue show on TLC. In her response, Governor Palin made reference to the fact that President Reagan once had an acting career. This has become fodder for pseudoconservative analysts to run to their laptops and tap out the ridiculous argument that Governor Palin was disrespecting Reagan and his accomplished political career. These arguments was first screeched by Peggy Noonan, then parroted earlier this week by Joe Scarborough. Not to be outdone, CNN political analyst and former Huckabee campaign manager, Ed Rollins jumps on board the “green” journalism bandwagon and attacks Palin on her comments about Reagan and her potential 2012 presidential run.

Rollins attempts to begin his piece by using a nonsensical analogy of a marriage between the GOP and the Obama administration with the American people acting as parents hopeful that this marriage will work out. Then he make an abrupt 180 and uses this illogical example as a springboard to launch into a patronizing, misconceived advice column directed at Governor Palin. About Palin and Reagan, Rollins writes:

And quit comparing yourself to Ronald Reagan. To paraphrase the late Sen. Lloyd Bentsen’s comments to Dan Quayle in the 1988 vice presidential debate: I knew Ronald Reagan, and you’re no Ronald Reagan.


And the Reagan comparisons aren’t helping. You might as well compare yourself to Abraham Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt.

Before President Reagan was your age, he was an international movie and television star, the actor’s union president and a spokesman for a major U.S. corporation.

I know you were only 2 when Ronald Reagan was elected by a landslide to the first of two terms as governor of California in 1966, but I would have hoped somewhere along the way through the five colleges you attended that you would have learned a little history. And I can tell you being governor of the most populous state is a lot tougher than being governor of one of the least populous ones.

The year you were born, Ronald Reagan picked up the torch of Barry Goldwater after the debacle of 1964 and carried it proudly forward. He rebuilt the Republican Party after Watergate, the resignation of Richard Nixon and the defeat of Gerald Ford in 1976.

He won two electoral landslides and made the presidency work again after several failed presidencies. He also never quit anything or any job before he was done. And he was a great communicator because he not only made great speeches, he wrote many of them because it was what he believed. People listened to them and were moved by them.

Does Governor Palin greatly respect and admire President Reagan? Yes.Does she often quote him and invoke the principles that he so strongly stood for? Yes. Does she compare herself to him or personally see herself as Reagan’s political heiress? No! She simply brought up the fact that President Reagan was an actor that later went on to an accomplished political career.

One would have hoped that in his educational career, Rollins would have learned a little bit of geography and basic facts about America. In attempting to slap Governor Palin for what he misconceives as a lack of knowledge about Reagan’s political career, Rollins seems to forget that the candidate he worked for in 2008 was once Governor of Arkansas– not a populous state by any stretch of the imagination. It’s also quite interesting that a former governor (Howard Dean) of the country’s least populous state (Vermont) never seemed to be questioned about his potential presidential abilities as a governor of a small state, but I digress.

Beyond what appears to be an obsession with how young Governor Palin is and how old she was at different points in Reagan’s political career, Rollins then drags out the “quitter” meme which he improperly addressed earlier in his piece when he implied that Governor Palin resigned to make money writing books and giving speeches rather than because it was best for the state of Alaska and also subsequently allowed her to be a strong voice for conservative ideals and candidates as Nicole brilliantly addressed earlier this week.

Rollins also tries to suggest, like so many others, that Governor Palin just can’t hang with the boys:

You can be a contender for the Republican nomination in 2012, but you’re a long way from being the nominee. You’re going to have to beat some very formidable candidates with way more experience and far superior knowledge on issues foreign and domestic. And to rate your chances today, I would put them at “possible” but not “probable.” It’s an all-uphill battle.

Who are these “formidable candidates”? The man whose health care plan is bankrupting his state and served as a blue print for Obamacare? The man who raised taxes on his state and pardoned a cop killer? The man who has a misguided, flip flopping view of climate change? The man who would be supportive of a value added tax? The man who resigned due to small losses in the House and who has loads of personal baggage? Additionally, Rollins seems to imply that Governor Palin feels entitled to the GOP nomination. Completely false. She has not yet declared she is running and has always welcome competitive primaries. She’s never presumed anything. S

Rollins then discusses how Reagan wrote many of the speeches that he delivered. This is something that Governor Palin has done also, including, as the recent New York Times magazine piece reports, writing her entire recent speech on quantitative easing. This leads into the next piece of advice that Rollins trumpets from his condescending high horse:

Ms. Palin, serious stuff needs to be accomplished in Washington.

If you want to be a player, go to school and learn the issues. Put smart people around you and listen to them. If you want to be taken seriously, be serious. You’ve already got your own forum. If you want to be a serious presidential candidate, get to work. If you want to be an imitator of Ronald Reagan, go learn something about him and respect his legacy.

Rollins says that Governor Palin needs to learn the issues, huh? Perhaps addressing the potentially pending Obama tax increases, wikileaks, quantitative easing, foreign policy (including defense spending, the war on terror, Afghanistan, relationships with our adversaries and allies), and Obamacare, just to name a few, fits the bill, Mr. Rollins? He advises for Governor Palin to put smart people around her. Governor Palin has done this if you take a look at the people who advise Governor Palin and are part of her staff, as the NYT magazine piece highlighted. Additionally, Governor Palin has shared that if elected President, she would surround herself with intelligent people, as she did as Governor. She shared in a recent interview with Jedediah Bila (emphasis mine):

To be a successful governor, you have to put obsessive partisanship aside, and you have to be a really good administrator, and you have to have a good team around you, and you have to make prudent decisions based on what is best for the people whom you are serving.


Someone who’s willing to take some risks in terms of bringing in people who aren’t the known bureaucrats, but people with private sector experience who know how to run a business, make payroll, balance a budget, and live within your means.

These “smart people” that Rollins suggests are likely not the same people whom a candidate Palin or President Palin would surround herself with. This is one of the things that separates Governor Palin from the political establishment. Governor Palin seems to be one of the few who realize what Reagan believed– that not all the answers come from Washington D.C.. She knows Reagan’s legacy. She knows his life story. Anecdotally, I can tell you that she knows even the number of lives that Ronald Reagan saved as a lifeguard working on the Rock River as a young man–an aspect of Reagan’s life she spoke about at a speech in Washington, Illinois that I was fortunate enough to attendthis past April.

GOP political analysts, operatives, and consultants have been unleashing tripe about Governor Palin for more than two years, but following the midterm elections, the floodgates of unhinged political discourse have been gushing in reference to a potential Palin presidency. Never mind that there is a new class of Congressmen and Congresswomen who will be sworn in next month. Never mind that the House and Senate are trying to ram through a whole slate of lame duck agenda items in the coming weeks. Never mind the national security threats that have emerged in recent weeks. In the eyes of the political chatting class, those political, domestic, and foreign policy issues are of little consequence. In the eyes of these folks, the greatest threat to America is a President Palin.

Presidential candidacies are chosen by the candidates and their families,and party nominees and presidents are chosen by the voters, much to the dismay of the political analysts. An out-of-context and misinterpreted quote from Governor Palin has served as the basis for at least three Anti-Palin opinion pieces in the past month. That’s the only “argument” they can attempt to build upon to paint Governor Palin’s supposed disrespect of Reagan.They are grasping at bendy straws. They blatantly choose to ignore her reasons for resigning from the governorship, and their eyes are closed to the numerous times Governor Palin has addressed policy in speeches, TV appearances, op-eds, and Facebook posts. They can’t address her on policy because she’s right, so they ignore on substance and grab hold of recycled memes. As we have addressed here and here, they have no political arguments left.

To Rollins, Scarborough, Parker, Noonan, Gerson and the whole lot of pseudoconservative windbags, I think that most of us can say, ” those voices don’t speak for the rest of us”.

Updated: For related takes on Rollins’ piece: See the American Spectator(H/T Jimr3) and the Legal Insurrection (H/T Dave C)

Update II: Cubachi has more on Rollins here.

(237 Posts)

Leave a Reply