It's time to stop allowing the ruling class elites to pick our presidential candidates
It has been interesting and somewhat sad to watch the support for Sarah Palin among some of those who have claimed to support her wax and wane like the changing of the seasons. Eric Erickson, editor of RedState.com is a textbook example. His support for Gov. Palin weakened when she decided not to participate in last year's CPAC conference, choosing instead to keynote the Tea Party National Convention and speak at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. Erickson's support for the governor got stronger after she hit home runs at both events with her speeches, and it grew even stronger when the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate endorsed some candidates that Erickson also favored.
But now Erickson is hedging his support for Gov. Palin again with a recent RedState post promoting Indiana Congressman Mike Pence for President. Erick's timing couldn't be worse. His post comes on the same day that Indiana political pundit Brian Howey reads the tea leaves to opine that Pence will likely run for governor of the Hoosier State, not POTUS, as Ian Lazaran points out.
Though Erick does acknowledge that Pence's path may more likely run through the governor's residence in Indianapolis than the White House and admits that sitting U.S. House members are very long shots to win the presidency, he still hopes against hope that Pence will do "something extraordinary" and run for president. Erickson ignores what Congressman Pence clearly recognizes: he needs to get some executive political experience under his belt before he goes for the gold.
The RedState head man says he likes Pence because he "bridges the gap between the establishment and the grassroots." But traditionally that gap is bridged by a vice presidential selection, not the candidate at the top of the ticket. It was Ronald Reagan's choice of George H. W. Bush which won him the support of the GOP establishment in 1980. In that year and again in 1984, we saw a movement conservative clear the path to the White House by throwing the establishment a bone. These are the rare exceptions, as in more recent years the conservative grassroots were thrown bones to make establishment candidates more palatable, such as Dan Quayle in 1988 and 1992, Jack Kemp in 1996 and Dick Cheney in 2000 and 2004.
Like many other conservatives who seem to switch candidates like partners at a barn dance, Erick was swayed to back Mitch Daniels, at least until Daniels showed he was willing to roll over on social issues. Now there's no disputing that still "it's the economy, stupid." But you don't throw the social conservatives under the bus, either, because at some point along the route, you may need them to get out and help push the thing over at least a few of the bumps in the road. So now Erick's barometer has swung over to Pence, just as the former RSC chairman seems to be laying the groundwork to announce that he's going to run for governor.
We're not out to slam Erick Erickson. Our editor worked for and with him for six months at RedState, and Erick proved over and over again to be a good man, one of exceptional character. But in our opinion, he is representative of a number of conservatives who make the mistake of letting the left, its captive media and the squishy GOP establishment unduly influence their opinions of Gov. Palin. George Will and Charles Krauthammer may be big shots inside the beltway, but in most places on the American map, what they say is of little consequence. It's long past time to take a stand and stop allowing the ruling class elites to pick the GOP's presidential candidates. They have been doing this every four years since 1988, with predictably disastrous results.
Erick also makes the mistake of overlooking one basic fact. Should some conservative other than Gov. Palin wind up getting the GOP nomination, that candidate will be subject to all the vilification the left can muster and its media accomplices can spread around. What makes him think any other conservatives would be less "radioactive" than Sarah Palin after the elites have had their way with them? Can he not remember how they treated Ronald Reagan back in the day? George W. Bush, who was just Conservative Lite® -- not a movement conservative by any stretch of the imagination -- was hammered harder than even Reagan was. So the "radioactive" argument against Sarah Palin just doesn't hold its heavy water.
No one has been challenging the ruling class like Sarah Palin has been doing for two years now. She's been leading the charge against the Obama administration's ruinous policies, the media's corrupt lies and the Vichy Republicans' traitorous corrosion. She puts herself on the firing line nearly every day, which is why she draws so much fire. But she's still standing strong and championing Reagan conservatism. No one else comes close. That's one of the reasons why we began supporting her since we learned about her and why we continue to do so. She's a fighter, and that's exactly the kind of leader conservatives need right now. What she needs in return are not fair weather supporters. She needs common sense conservatives who will stand by her as she has stood by us and our shared principles.