Friday, January 28, 2011

J.R. Dunn: Sarah Palin's Way Forward

We now have the means to restore a sense of balance to the political debate
In an American Thinker opinion piece, J.R. Dunn finds it remarkable that 2½ years of nonstop media attacks on Sarah Palin, have only recently drawn blood. No other political figure has ever been held to such standards, nevertheless, simply because she defended herself against bogus charges of complicity in the Tucson shootings and allegedly engaged in some nebulous form of anti-Semitism by using the term "blood libel," her approval ratings have taken a temporary hit. Dunn says the slump should be as fleeting as Obama's modest bounce over the same period. Fortunately for Gov. Palin and her supporters, such variations in poll positives and negatives are to be expected over the course of any politician's career.

Dunn recalls that the left's attacks on Governor Palin are nothing new and no less vicious than they were half a century ago. The left, with the help of a complicit press, has profited from these tactics for generations, while the center-right has had little recourse except to unsuccessfully deny their opponents' false charges. Dunn traces the history of leftist demonization of the right back to the period just after the New Deal. That is when the left adapted the "enemies" mindset of the two ideologies it modeled itself after -- fascism and communism. Thus, those who opposed liberalism were made into "enemies of progress, of justice, and of the People," deserving of neither fair consideration or mercy. That's when the old rules of decorum and civility were discarded in favor of any low blow the leftists could get away with. Again, a sympathetic media saw to it that the left got away with just about anything and everything:
Once every political generation -- which, for our purposes, equals two presidential terms -- liberals have selected a representative right-wing monster to serve as a lightning rod for criticism and invective. These included Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, George W. Bush, and Sarah Palin.

Liberals did not succeed in all cases. Only seriously flawed individuals such as McCarthy, Nixon, and Gingrich succumbed to these attacks. Politicians without serious failings prevailed. Reagan shrugged them off with his endless good humor. Bush faced them with his customary stoicism. Both were reelected, and while they departed office under the artificial clouds generated by leftist rhetoric, both had generally successful presidencies, with growing reputations as time passes.

Until recently, Sarah Palin hewed closely to the Reagan method, dismissing attacks with a joke and a smile (even when such slanders were aimed at her disabled infant child, a display of personal strength that would inspire anyone not blinded by ideology). She needs to return to that method. She need not comment on attacks of this level. She has no deep personal flaws such as Nixon's neuroticism or Gingrich's egotism, and she will not experience any similar downfall.

Palin also has something else, something not possessed by previous targets. She has a following. All previous figures had their admirers, and Reagan led a movement. But none had or has what Palin has -- a large group of people who look up to her, who view her as an example and a role model, who bleed when she bleeds and hurt when she hurts. It is those people who should be left to handle Palin's attackers.

They also provide larger possibilities. Republicans have never struck back against these attacks, lacking the means in a media-dominated political world. But now the means do exist, in the form of millions armed with access to the net and Twitter. What would happen if these people were turned on the next crowd who attacked Palin or any other politician?

Liberals are vulnerable. Consider Steven Cohen, soon to be ex-representative from Tennessee, who backed off from his rancid little Republicans-are-Nazis shtick as soon as the spotlight was shined on him. One thing we must never forget about leftists is their essential cowardice. They strike only as part of a mob, never on their own two feet. (Isn't that right, Larry O.?)

While we agree with most of Dunn's op-ed, we believe he gets one key point wrong. Gov. Palin does not, as Krathammer has suggested, try to answer "every little attack." There are so many attacks that no one person, not even a multitasking Mama Grizzly, has the time to try to answer every one of them. There are not sufficient hours in a day to do that. She has only responded to the most disingenuous of the attacks on her and her family. We are also left scratching our heads regarding how a murder accusation, no matter how baseless, could in any way be considered a "little" attack.

- JP


  1. I also doubt the varacity of the polls which show a decline in her numbers, since most of the polls originate from the very sources of most of the attacks.

  2. Agreed, Greg. I often look at comments following Blog commentaries and those following the "poll takers" are essentially by "haters". So, polling them will provide the kind of results the poll takers are looking for. I've never been polled and I actually don't know anyone who ever has been. You would think that after 76 years, the odds would have been in my favor at least once!