Dan Riehl: The Extraordinary Sarah Palin

Dan Riehl has penned an excellent piece at Big Government.  An excerpt follows:

When it comes to former GOP Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, if any ordinary Republican politician could generate as much contemporary free media coverage, including a new high profile cover story from Newsweek, while a positive full length documentary on their legitimate political career, The Undefeated, was opening nationally on July 15, the Republican establishment and most all of the base would be clamouring for him or her to enter the race for President in 2012. But Sarah Palin is no ordinary Republican politician.

Based upon my own observations, along with some recent conversations with friends, including Andrew Breitbart, who recently spent some time talking with Palin, my image of Palin has been becoming more well-defined of late. Take, for instance, the only real criticism I could find in the Newsweek piece. It jibes with another criticism I’ve observed, that she too often engages her critics directly, as opposed to allowing surrogates to do it for her. Are these valid criticisms of Palin? Along with providing some insight into her – she’s a fighter, it might also tell you much about how you view Palin. If you’re looking for an ordinary politician, Sarah Palin ain’t it.

This formula—bucking Republicans and counting on the situational cooperation of Democrats—made for a fragile governing model, one further attenuated by the fact that political insiders found Palin too sensitive to criticism and too eager to deal in payback. But to the public she was a heroine, with an approval rating above 80 percent two years into her term, making her by far the most popular governor in the country.

Once I put aside any notion of a mostly plastic, glad-handing politician and contemplated how I myself might actually react in this, or that, situation Palin has faced, a clearer image of her as an every man politician began to take shape. There’s a good chance I’d have handled a good deal of the criticism precisely as has she in this, a new media age. And she is far more in touch with the concept of new media, than is almost any other American politician – hence the reliance on Facebook and Twitter to get her message out.

“The mainstream press is becoming less and less relevant,” she said, adding that she would have no hesitation in shunning media outlets she does not trust.

As The Undefeated makes clear (my earlier review here), she’s not in politics because her daddy held office, or won, or was denied a Presidential nomination, or election. She entered politics as an individual because she cared about the relationship between government and the people and wanted to make a difference. Sarah Palin was not schooled by some mostly Eastern U.S. Preparatory and Secondary school system one might think is the only acceptable schooling for serious American political leadership today. In fact, in many ways, that monopoly has all but driven America off a cliff – including under the current administration.

This is a great piece and Riehl makes some excellent points. He notes, for example, that the latest criticism du jure of Governor Palin is that she’s not afraid to fight back and set the record straight when a false or misleading narrative is being pushed by the political establishment or their surrogates in the mainstream media.  I’ve also found it more than passing strange that elites find it somehow disqualifying that Governor Palin refuses to be defined by these phony memes and endeavors to set the record straight.  What, precisely, is wrong with that?  What’s the alternative?  The George W. Bush technique of doing nothing?  How’d that work out for him?  Riehl also notes some of the many similarities between Governor Palin and another Republican from 32 years ago whom we were told couldn’t possibly be elected president.  Read his entire article here.

(h/t Whitney Pitcher)

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