Rick Richman, editor of his own blog, Jewish Current Issues, also opines at Commentary Magazine’s blog, Contentions, and at Pajamas Media, where we discovered this essay. Richman sees a connection between Sarah Palin and Paul Revere that has nothing to do with the midnight ride, but is rooted instead in the ideology of small-r republicanism. Revere and Gov. Palin, as members of what Richman calls the artisan class, stand apart from the elites of their respective eras in American history. As non-elites, Revere played an important role in the establishment of the republic, and Sarah Palin's role in helping us preserve our republic is of no less importance:
Richman reminds us how some GOP and conservative elites were seduced by the prospect of Barack Obama as potentially a great president, even though he lacked "the qualifications of the vice-presidential candidate on the opposing ticket — a sitting governor with an impressive record of achievement."
As Joshua Green chronicles in this month’s Atlantic, Palin was a “transformative governor” — repeatedly challenging her own party on ethics violations, reaching out to Democrats, confronting the oil companies that controlled Alaska, vastly improving her state’s fiscal condition. But the very day Palin was selected by John McCain, David Frum described her as an “untested small-town mayor.” Michael Medved asserted that “by any standard” she was “less prepared as commander in chief than Obama” (without specifying the “standards” for comparing her to an untested first-term senator). A few days later, George Will called her “a person of negligible experience.” David Brooks later labeled her a “cancer” to the Republican Party (he evaluated Obama by applying a sartorial standard to his pants).Despite the fact that Obama has failed to meet their great expectations, those same GOP and conservative elites continue to deny the unmistakable signs all around them that the country is crying out for a leader who comes from a similar station in life to their own. No elites. They have witnessed the best the Ivy-league prepared ruling class can do for this country and have found it wanting.
There was something about Sarah Palin that set her off from the elite from day one, preventing her from joining the club. And this takes us back to Paul Revere.
Jayne E. Triber’s acclaimed 2001 biography of Paul Revere, A True Republican, portrays him as a working man whose artisan status excluded him from the council of the elite in the Revolution and the political leadership thereafter, but who played a critical role for reasons unrelated to his Midnight Ride.
She may be better as a Paul Revere than a president. But we should acknowledge that as a candidate, she would not likely say anything as dumb as her prior problems were caused by working too hard for her country; nor say anything as incoherent as her health care legislation was great for her state but would be terrible for the nation. If she decides not to run, she will not likely schedule a live TV announcement to say anything as ludicrous as all the external signs said she would win but God told her to keep her TV show.
She speaks with an honesty and directness still found in the “artisan class” to this day, often missing from the eloquence of the elite, which is why — more than three years after the elite denigrated her as an unprepared small-town mayor of negligible experience — she is still a major political force.