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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Criticisms of Sarah Palin: The Republican Case Against Her Nomination in 2012

Photo by Bruce (CC)

Earlier this week, Sarah Palin stepped down as Alaska governor, fueling speculation that she is positioning for a 2012 U.S. Presidential bid. Talk with enough Republicans anywhere, and you'll quickly find that she has many passionate supporters in the GOP.

It is for them that I am writing this article, to convince and persuade you- if you are a Palin supporter- that nominating Sarah Palin to run for U.S. President on the GOP ticket would be a disastrous mistake for the Republican Party!

Don't misunderstand me. I see her appeal. I understand that Sarah Palin really is a "normal person." She's not a politician like most of the people in Washington, but an ordinary wife, mother, and citizen who happened to also be Alaska's governor.

At a time when elite, career politicians are making a wreck of our country, I can see how appealing someone like Sarah Palin is. I would agree that we need more "normal people" in office, that we should put more Washington outsiders in Washington, but not Sarah Palin.

As all the commentators and punditry have proclaimed ad nauseam, the Republican Party is in a state of crisis and searching for its identity. Part of the solution, it would seem to many Republicans, is to find "the next Ronald Reagan." Sarah Palin may be a good wife and mother, but she is no Ronald Reagan.

She can never be the Great Communicator that he was, because she is not the Great Ideologue that he was. No, I am not buying into the media's libelous characterizations of her as an idiot. I have heard enough of that tripe about every Republican candidate since I took an interest in politics not to be easily fooled.

Instead, what I am saying is that Sarah Palin has made it abundantly clear on the campaign trail and since the campaign that she (like most politicians) is not truly ideological, that she does not have an explicit, coherent underlying framework for understanding the nature and role of government.

Sarah Palin goes as deep as the rhetoric, but no deeper. She is unequipped to engage in true dialectics by understanding, confronting, and solidly refuting the ideological basis for the statism that is rapidly consuming our country and way of life.

Worse, I doubt that she even grasps the underlying ideological basis for many of the public policies she advocates. Again, I am not calling Palin an idiot or saying that she is an incapable leader, but I am saying that like most politicians she wouldn't know what an idea was if it bit her on the nose.

Do a Google search for Sarah Palin's speeches while she was on the campaign trail and another for Ronald Reagan's speeches, and compare the two for ideological depth. Palin is armed with fiery rhetoric and very cute winks. Reagan was armed with even better rhetorical skill and with the power of ideas.

It was his ideas and his ability to communicate them that made him a great president. The battle for America and her freedoms is at root a fundamentally ideological battle, a fight between opposing ideas, and Sarah Palin is not armed or able to fight or win that battle.

If it is freedom we want, nominating Sarah Palin is a tactic that will make some Republicans feel good in the short term, but a strategy to lose in the long term.


  1. Hello there, Humble Libertarian. I followed you over here from the Left Coast Rebel. Your blog is rather impressive.

    When I first learned about Sarah Palin last year, I was inclined to like her but was put off by her willingness to cling to McCain's unconservative agenda. Like you, I don't think she is stupid, but she does not seem particularly interested in ideas, much in the way McCain and Bush weren't. Her nomination might produce excitement, but I can't see how her presidential administration would fundamentally roll back the DC bureaucracy.

  2. I'm disappointed to read your post about Sarah Palin. I'd have thought that as Governor of Alaska, she would have had the credentials to run for the Presidency in 2012. Surely she was stifled by the McCain team, and had to tow their line, and not given the chance to really "blossom", (for want of a better word).
    Sadly, I'm not an American, but am very interested in what is happening in your very fine country. Your political scene is vastly different and far more complex than in NZ, and I admit, I do have a lot to learn, but am interested in everyones opinions :)

  3. Thanks Carl! I really hope the GOP does not nominate her.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Gecko. I agree that she's well credentialed in terms of her leadership experience. In fact, I'd say she was better qualified than McCain, Biden, and Obama. But as I said in the post, I seriously doubt that she will be able to fight back socialism effectively.


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