Guest Submission By: Rip Pauley
If any conservative still doubted that the Left was at war against conservatives and America, the last month of what is termed, with laughable benignity, the “lame duck” session, should have obliterated all doubt.
A war bulletin from the front lines:
On the heels of a historic defeat, in which American voters, at ever local, state and national level, massively repudiated its ravenous big-government prerogatives and imperious posturing, the Left responded how? Not by retreating into humble reflection over how to win back the confidence of the electorate. But by doubling down on its strategies of coercion and dissimulation, and reaffirming its contempt for voters with aggressive lame-duck legislative maneuverings on behalf of its prized goal of a permanently transformed America.
The Left went back to battle with a vengeance.
It browbeat the GOP into a clearly defective arms control agreement in order to claim a foreign policy victory for its beleaguered party leader; won a victory for a favored constituency by forcing potentially morale-corroding social experimentation on our military, and expanded government control over small farmers at the expense of large agri-business interests. On the bureaucratic front, the FCC found time to arrogate control over the internet, in open defiance of its charter, congress and the courts; and the EPA, via similar fiat, asserted control over the states’ environmental and energy regulation and enforcement. The Left did not win every lame-duck battle, but it showed, once again, which side was willing to take the fight to the other. It washed away the memory of a seemingly humiliating drubbing in November.
As for the so-called rejuvenated GOP, supposedly newly empowered by November 2nd’s national wave of righteous outrage — it was played for saps. Once again, it demonstrated its cluelessness, complaisance and deeply conditioned sense of political inferiority. Once again, it permitted itself to be intimidated into concession by the tiresome onus of “obstructionism” – or rather the mere rumor of it. Once again, it felt compelled to compromise in order to prove – with preordained futility — its magnanimity and decency to a liberal media elite. As the pious and grandstanding RINO Lindsey Graham needlessly pointed out, the Left “ate our lunch.”
This is not the way of the warrior.
Warriors seize the moment. They confidently secure their conquered kingdoms. In political terms, they move briskly and decisively to define mandates and control narratives.
But even if the GOP had won 150 House seats instead of 66, or 10 senate seats instead of six, it would have made no difference. This is a profoundly stricken, insecure and seemingly ineducable party. They simply do not get it. They do not get the Left. They do get their grassroots. They do not get the core principles of their party or their nation’s constitution. They do not get how to fight. And they do not appear interested in learning. Because to really do so would require internal revolutions of awareness and action – would require an acceptance and declaration of war – which would demolish all their elitist conceits and settled modes of existence. It would be too much to bear.
This hidebound denial and political imbecility, this thralldom to the illusions of bipartisanship, this advanced Stockholm syndrome-like need to appease liberal media editorial boards, this morbid fear of reciprocating the Left’s aggression, is shared not simply by Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor et al – with their droning and toothless reproofs to liberal power — but by nearly every rumored or likely presidential candidate.
Whatever their accomplishments, these putative “leaders” have not demonstrated, just as their candidacies or presidencies would not promise, the slightest deviation from the longstanding conservative attitude of studied, above-it-all pacifism – self-loathingly labeled “civility” – in the face of the liberal/Left’s narrative-controlling dominion and its perpetual campaign of anti-conservative contumely.
There is one exception, of course, one conservative warrior and leader: Sarah Palin.
What makes her a modern conservative warrior?
I submit three essential qualities for the modern conservative political warrior.
1. Defining and driving narratives. For more than a generation the Liberal-Left has controlled the social and political “narratives” that have sustained both the growth of government and the slow, soft suffocation of liberty and personal responsibility in American life. That is, the growth of government is not debatable, only its rate of growth is. The prevailing enlightenment and compassion of progressive liberals is unquestioned, while conservatives are mean and repressive. Liberals seek fairness on behalf of the people against greedy and overreaching industry; conservatives side with underhanded and exploitive corporate power. These are only a few. Every conversation is based on these premises, and conducted on these terms. But the warrior does not accept or tolerate this skewed status quo, this stacked deck. She seizes the initiative from the liberal cultural and political overlords, sets the themes of public discourse and forces them to respond. She puts them on the defensive.
2. Understanding the mainstream media’s central role and culpability in the rise of the Left and the decay of political discourse and journalistic standards. The warrior exposes and embarrasses the media so that the American people are both informed as to the truth of stories and instructed as to the proper role and responsibilities of a free press. She does not tolerate bias-as-usual. The warrior does not have the slightest anxiety about naming and ridiculing media offenders.
3. Responding immediately to all attacks, slurs and misrepresentations by Leftists. The warrior responds with facts and truth, often with humor, always with alacrity. She does not let a falsehood fester and grow in the public consciousness. She does not take for granted the objectivity, good-faith or work ethic of the media. She never turns the other cheek.
Only Sarah Palin fulfills the criteria of the warrior.
She has done more to drive the national political discourse, against the will and wishes of the Left, then any public figure in America. It is frankly astonishing the degree to which this one woman from Alaska has been able to do what leagues of GOP politicians and flacks have not been able to since the days of Mike Deaver and Lynn Nofziger. Her Facebook essays shatter and re-create narratives in one blow as they incisively expose the subterfuges of the Left. She has formed and driven the narratives of the past year not only on Obamacare (the devastating Orwell-inspired “Death Panels”, which she boldly and correctly called “evil”) but on energy policy (“drill baby, drill”), airport security (“profile away”) and a score of other issues.
No conservative figure in America has so fearlessly and cheerfully walked the third rail of American politics (for a politician, that is) by taking on the media. Palin has gone where no Republican politician in memory has dared go, unabashedly japing the malefactors of modern junk “journalism” as the “Lamestream Media”. At the same time, she does all this with good humor and grace, in language not bitter or “whiny” (as elitist detractors falsely and whinily assert), but in edifying dialect, by invoking the history and importance of the American free press and appealing for the restoration the forgotten and disgraced standards of journalism.
Third, Palin is a fast-action responder both to personal smears and bad policies. Time and again she has spoken out against Obama before others have, with her points and critiques soon echoed by others. She does not let slurs slip by; for example, parrying liberal mockery of her palm-scribblings with more, liberal-mocking scribblings. She moves swiftly and on instinct, suggesting both courage and conviction. She does not wait for a consensus or polls or evince hesitation or confusion over clear issues of right v. wrong.
Since her national political debut at the Republican convention, in which she merrily skewered the Left and its hitherto pristine messiah, Sarah Palin has exemplified once-in-a-generation, maybe once-in-a-century, qualities of political leadership: confident but not arrogant self-awareness, unswerving and resoundingly common-sense convictions, fearless plain speaking, political canniness, unsinkable personal spirit and sense of joy, and a record of substantial political and managerial achievement. Unapologetically patriotic, personally compelling, rhetorically tonic, executively experienced, she is what the cowed GOP and a weary nation desperately need.
All these separate talents are wonderful but would be meaningless without the one surpassing and binding characteristic, the sine qua non for conservative and American revival in the age of the Leftist: the warrior spirit. Sarah Palin has the warrior will and wit to identify and wrestle with the Left. Without this, there is simply no hope to overthrow its debilitating dominion, its relentless quest to annihilate the American dream, reduce our nation to second-rate status, subordinate every aspect of our lives and freedoms to the State, and to insist we be grateful to them in the process.
Without this warrior in 2012, the war may be over.
Rip Pauley is a former speechwriter for a Boston politician and now a screenwriter in Hollywood. His most recent project, THE DIVIDED, is a feature drama on the Iraq war and homefront political clashes. It premiered at the GI Film Fesival in Washington, DC in 2009 and won an Excellence Award this past summer at the Los Angeles Movie Awards.