NewsReal blogger John Drew comments on how Gov. Sarah Palin benefited from choosing Ronald Reagan as her role model:
In Going Rogue, Palin indicates that she displayed an early interest in the ideas and leadership style of President Reagan while she was still in college. “I looked forward to every poli sci lecture,” she writes, “I attributed my enthusiasm to patriotism and a fascination with current events. I was also eager because this was the 1980s and our study centered on one of the most inspiring individuals ever to occupy the White House, Pres. Ronald W. Reagan.”Her study of Reagan served Sarah Palin well in two stunning upset victories in 2006. First she defeated sitting Governor Frank Murkowski in the GOP primary, and then she beat Democrat Tony Knowles in the general election. After taking office, Gov. Palin drew on Reagan's example again as she made the transition from campaigning to governing.
In particular, I was impressed by the way the young Sarah Palin dug into one of the most important practical secrets of Reagan’s success when she writes that “I also appreciated his focus on a handful of overarching themes, such as reining in the intrusiveness of government, building a strong national defense, and cutting taxes.”
“It was a humbling experience to step in to lead an administration that would serve a state of this size and diversity,” she writes,“I knew we could face the challenge with anticipation and without a sense of overload that we observed Ronald Reagan’s principles: pick your agenda issues and focus on those; empower and motivate your departments and staff to implement your vision in other areas. Reagan concentrated on a few key issues and knocked them out of the park. That gave him the political capital to effect change in many other policy areas.”In her case, she reasoned that if she focused on Alaskan resource development, fiscal restraint, and ethical government, she would create the victories and momentum that would allow her to later deal with “…education, services for special needs and the elderly, job training, unemployment, and social ills in rural Alaska.”
Following the Reagan model served Alaska's first woman governor well. Sarah Palin's first state budget cut back on some ambitious projects of the legislature, yet she was able to garner bipartisan support for her ethics reform bill. She renegotiated the production tax with three biggest oil companies doing business in Alaska, which allowed the state to share an even larger revenue bonanza with its taxpayers. She also made the first real progress in getting a natural gas pipeline project started, something her predecessors had only dreamed of and talked about.
These and other accomplishments made Gov. Palin extremely popular with Alaska's voters and brought her to the attention of Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, who chose her to be his running mate. Now, like E.F. Hutton, when Sarah Palin talks, people listen. With just one post on Facebook, she can make powerful Senators rewrite proposed legislation and the Obama administration prove that it was being less than truthful when it insisted that it was not paying any attention to her. In short, she has the political Left behaving like Pavlov's dog on rabies. Her every stimulus provokes a foaming-at-the-mouth reaction.
Read John Drew's opinion piece unabridged at David Horowitz's NewsReal Blog.