Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lance Thompson: Hindsight and Blindsight

Reagan, Palin, and the “she can’t win” fallacy
At LowDownCentral.com, contributor Lance Thompson observes that the same pundits who claim that Ronald Reagan’s 1980 election victory was preordained desperately want their readers to believe that Sarah Palin is unelectable in 2012. Thompson calls such revisionist spin "mutually refuting":
Ronald Reagan challenged Republican President Gerald Ford for the GOP nomination in 1976 and lost. Ford subsequently lost to Carter, who was the Democrat in the oval office in 1980. Reagan was a favorite of conservatives, but his nomination was far from certain.

The mainstream media, which operated in 1980 without the counterbalancing conservative views of Fox News and talk radio, portrayed Reagan as too simplistic and too extreme for the presidency. New Republic called him "an ignoramus, a conscious and persistent falsifier of fact, a deceiver of the electorate." Atlantic Monthly dismissed him as a "casting office Goldwater." The New Yorker predicted that if "Reagan is the Republican nominee, the election of a Democrat is certain." These same condemnations have been applied to Palin since her debut on the national scene.


The point is that at no time was the nomination of Ronald Reagan certain. In fact, a more common theme, even as Reagan won primary after primary, was the impossibility of a Reagan presidency. This view was held by the media, the opposition, and many in his own party.

Sarah Palin faces the same doubts and predictions of failure. Like Reagan, she is plainspoken and unapologetic in her beliefs–American exceptionalism, energy independence, traditional morals and individual freedom. She has also been called too simplistic and too extreme, and in terms much harsher than those applied to Ronald Reagan. But she has not wavered in her principles, and her positions which seemed extreme at first–opposing Obamacare, tapping America’s energy resources, keeping faith with our allies and standing up to our enemies–resonate with an increasing number of Americans.

Thompson reminds us that Ronald Reagan’s historic two-term presidency changed the direction of this nation "in profound ways no one could have predicted." We would expand on that point to say Reagan (together with Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul) changed the world in ways no one could have foreseen in 1980. We agree with lance Thompson's conclusion that Gov. Palin "has at least the potential to do the same." Those who underestimate her, he adds, "have either forgotten their history, or wish they could."

h/t: Phineas

- JP

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