In the immediate aftermath of the 2008 election, there were many, even those ostensibly on our side, who proclaimed that conservatism as we’ve known it was dead. Some even went so far as to predict the demise of the Republican Party if they didn’t “wake up” and accept the new reality which, in their view, meant unilaterally repudiating the conservatives ideals associated with limited self-government which have produced the most prosperous and free society in human history. The path back to power, they told us, was to avoid drawing distinctions with liberalism, to essentially capitulate to the Democrat idea that the natural order was for government to inexorably grow and gradually assume a larger and larger role in our lives. The electoral opening for Republicans, presumably, was based on the notion that they could manage this transition away from freedom better than the Democrats. Go along to get along.
Many prominent Republicans, both those in office and in the media, subscribed to this point of view. Mitt Romney and David Frum come to mind. One conservative political leader, however, who pointedly refused to subscribe to this deeply flawed conventional wisdom was Governor Palin, and for this heresy she has been excoriated to an extent hitherto unseen. Even though the aforementioned conventional wisdom was exposed as utter nonsense and Governor Palin’s foresight was overwhelmingly vindicated by the 2010 mid-term election (in which she played a key role), the narrative continues. Particularly in the mainstream media.
The lesson from this, I think, is that for conservatism to triumph, it must be forcefully and unapologetically advocated. But Governor Palin can’t do this alone. Those in the media predisposed to conservatism need to step up to the plate and do their part. Unfortunately, most prominent conservatives in the mainstream media are unable or unwilling to see this. Perhaps they have been there so long that they have forgotten what it means to be a conservative. Or maybe they have simply become lazy, and their propensity to prefer getting along with liberalism has replaced the fire in the belly they may have once had when it came to advocating conservative ideals. Who knows.
In any case, an enormous void has opened up since the 2008 electoral debacle, and it’s rapidly being filled by fresh new voices and media entrepreneurs such as Andrew Breitbart and others such as Jedediah Bila. I first became aware of Bila in 2009 when I read one of her pieces in support of Governor Palin. Since then, via columns in such new media outlets as Human Events and the Daily Caller, her influence in conservative circles has continued to grow. Last November Bila was a featured speaker at the C4P meetup in Chicago, and attendees were inspired by her eloquence and enthusiasm.
Recently, she’s made numerous appearances on Sean Hannity’s Great American Panel, where her defense of Governor Palin and conservative ideals make Hannity a must-watch for me whenever she’s on the show. Throughout this time, I’ve been struck by her heart-felt, insightful writing and passionate support for Governor Palin. In short, she gets it. When I heard she was writing a book, Outnumbered: Chronicles of a Manhattan Conservative, I immediately made a mental note to purchase it as soon as it became available.
Now, having read the book, I can tell my fellow C4Pers that Bila’s book exceeded my already high expectations. It’s terrific. Readers are treated to the unique perspective she provides as a rare conservative living in the “sea of Obama blue” that is Manhattan. Instead of withdrawing into herself as many conservatives in Manhattan undoubtedly do, Bila has no qualms about interacting with the liberals who outnumber her, and in her book she recounts many of these encounters with the insight…and wit…we’ve come to expect from her. She, like Governor Palin, is unapologetic in her defense of conservatism. She calls it like she sees it.
There is plenty in her book for us Palinistas, including a C4P mention in the acknowledgements. Sprinkled throughout Outnumbered are snippets and anecdotes where she defends the Governor and her positions to clueless liberals who, not surprisingly, twist themselves into pretzels when trying to disparage her. I particularly enjoyed one part when Bila shares an experience she had on a stalled train where ‘tolerant’ liberals, wearing hand-made Obama buttons complete with a halo around their Messiah’s head, accosted her for wearing a “Palin Power” pin.
There is much to enjoy in Outnumbered, and it’s an excellent and compelling read. Bila has the ability to tell a story in a serious manner while shrewdly using humor to accentuate her points. I join Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, Tammy Bruce and others who highly recommend this book as a must-read. You can order your copy here. In a few days, Outnumbered will also be available at Amazon.com.
Update: The book is now available at Amazon. You can order the print version here, and the Kindle version here.