Can Sarah Upstage Barack?
Let me begin with a paradox. The more Sarah Palin seems unelectable, the more electable she may actually be. The media blitzkrieg launched against Palin may be interpreted not as a sign of her unfitness for office but precisely as a measure of her eligibility. As I’ve written elsewhere, “Palin’s electability can be reckoned as an inverse function of the virulent campaign intent on her delegitimation. ... The greater the fury … she is met with, the greater the likelihood that she poses a genuine threat. One does not raise a mallet to crush an ant.” Conversely, the beatification of Obama by the same leftist media is an infallible indication that they are arguing in partibus infidelium. Indeed, the media is almost always inversely reliable, providing an ironic touchstone for the facts of any matter. Just cross out and write in the opposite and we can be confident of a more accurate approximation to the truth.
Thus we are told that Palin’s “national negatives” are too high for her to be regarded as a viable candidate. But this is to forget that such “negatives” are mainly the result of a coordinated media assault whose effect can be mitigated with time, intelligent pushback and increased exposure on the ground. Presence can counter image and word of mouth can triumph over print. Negatives can be neutralized and even turned into positives. Harry Truman’s whistle-stop tour through the American heartland enabled him to upstage a heavily-favored Tom Dewey in 1948. The cries of “Give ‘em Hell, Harry,” which became his campaign theme, can translate in the present context as “Give ‘em Hell, Sarah,” if she takes her show on the road.
We are also told that Palin has polarized the nation, which is the fiction the media wants us to accept. The truth is that America has been unraveling since the '60s and that Obama, not Palin, has even further divided the nation, so much so that America has come to resemble not a single, unified country but two or more countries in a state of internecine conflict. As the “culture wars” continue to heat up, E pluribus unum might better read Ex uno plures. Metaphorically speaking, the waters are rising, not receding, as President Canute once assured us. There should be no doubt about this. It is Obama, the putative redeemer of his nation and the great healer, who, through both his agenda and his failings, has brought his nation to the very brink.
Indeed, Obama may be regarded as a Harry Potter manqué, a boy magician who would transform Muggledom (America) and save Hogwarts (Washington) but ended up on the verge of ruining both. And even at forty-nine, he remains a boy, petulant, swaggering, craving attention, out of his depth, and fruitlessly waving his magic wand while his geopolitical adversaries snicker behind their hands and do exactly as they like. Even many of his domestic constituents have begun to turn away, his once astronomical ratings down by almost a third. (The recent bump in his poll numbers following his memorial speech in Tucson and the State of the Union address will prove ephemeral.) Obama-Potter should have contemplated the Hogwarts motto before awakening the electorate: “Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus," or “Never tickle a sleeping dragon.”
Consequently, the media are in panic mode and will mobilize their inventory of maledictions to sink the candidacy of the woman they fear in order to buttress the fortunes of the man they adore. Their offensive could not be more, well, offensive. The moral filth of the New York Times and MSNBC, for example, among many other similar outlets in the MSM and the blogosphere, is enough to repel anyone who looks for even a modicum of decency in the conduct of the press. To target Palin for her convictions and selected aspects of her demeanor while giving Obama a Get Out of Jail Free card and airbrushing the Democratic crowd of warts and blotches — for example, the innumerable gaffes of Joe Biden, the imbecilities of Nancy Pelosi, the catatonia of Janet Napolitano, or the zingers of Obama himself—is the epitome of bad faith. Intellectually, the media are quite frankly out to lunch; politically, as is increasingly evident, they function as a fifth column in league with the American left, which is intent on transforming the country into something it was never meant to be. And this is precisely what Palin understands.
She is among a minority of prominent public figures who grasp that America is arguably facing the most relentless and insidious enemy in its recent history. This new enemy is far more inimical to its survival as a coherent and sovereign entity than the Axis powers and the Soviet communists were, since it works from within, is uncompromising in its purposes despite whatever defeats it may suffer, and ironically relies upon the very wealth and power it seeks to destroy, which gives it a decided edge in so ectopic a conflict.
The enemy goes by the name of the Democratic Party of America, cosmetically liberal or “progressivist” in its self-definition but inherently socialist in its subtabular project. It is redistributionist in its economics, transnational in its foreign policy and Islamic in its sympathies. It shares a profound solidarity with an anachronistic trade unionist movement, works diligently against the entrepreneurial sector, pursues an extensive entitlement program at the expense of the country’s future solvency, accumulates unpayable debt, prints imaginary money and is corrosively skeptical of its own armed forces, gradually ceding the geopolitical field to America’s fervid antagonists. It is persistently re-interpreting the bedrock Constitution to weaken its binding force and is guilty of rampant electoral corruption. It sees the nation as a private fiefdom that it intends to control in perpetuity.
The good news is that it may not be too late. One would hope that Conrad Black is wrong when he laments that the popular approval of Obama’s SOTU speech “may indicate that the process of the country’s decline is more advanced even than I had feared.” But post-address fillips are to be expected and reports of America’s imminent demise may be, Twain-fashion, somewhat premature. The omens and presentiments are detectable; yet, given the right candidate, the right party and (should it happen) an awakened electorate prepared to defend its liberties, the situation may yet be retrievable.
As Lee Harris reminds us in his sober and reflective The Next American Civil War: The Populist Revolt Against The Liberal Elite, “the liberty that we enjoy today emerged out of the defiant ‘Don’t tread on us’ attitude of all the ordinary people of the past,” and that it is only by doing so that the “dusk of decadence” can be held back. With the plausible assumption that Obama will ultimately reveal himself as the “throwback kid,” recycling a hoary and bankrupt Marxist archetype regardless of his histrionic attempts at a faux centrism; with the media behaving as Obama’s dutiful caddies and discrediting themselves by the day; with the Tea Party acting as America’s reinvigorated conscience; and if Palin maintains her visibility as simply who she is, America may — just may — experience the shock of memory, recall its former glories, embark upon its painstaking restoration and, at the same time, find itself with its first female president. A long shot? Maybe, maybe not.