I couldn't help but chuckle as I read through today's on-line edition of the Washington Times and ran across a story with the headline "Palin Plans to Stay in Politics." As I went through the story, I was surprised to find the governor say that she would stump for conservative issues and for Democrats who "share her values on limited government, strong defense and 'energy independence.'"
Why did I chuckle? Because I'm waiting to see if the GOP will end up treating her exactly as they did Colin Powell.
Within minutes of General Powell announcing that he would be endorsing then-Senator Obama in the 2008 presidential election, the howls of protest from the far right started. "Powell is a RINO!" "Powell is a traitor!" "The Republican Party doesn't have room for folks like him!" Never mind that the record clearly showed that Powell had, in addition to voting for Presidents Nixon, Reagan, and Bushes 41 and 43, voted for Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter - yet no one seemed concerned about that in previous years. Now, we have a new situation - a superstar in the Republican Party who has given up her seat as governor, presumably to run for president again in 2012, and who will be devoting her time to conservative causes and conservative candidates.
Wait; and Democrats who share like opinions? Let's review: Democrats who share her opinions on fiscal policy and limited government make up the Blue Dog Coalition in the House of Representatives. The Blue Dogs, while voting against Democrat leadership on such issues as the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, are still Democrats who help Pelosi, Hoyer et al. hold the majority in the House by a pretty sizeable margin. Hypothetically, any like-minded Democrat for whom she campaigns could conceivably help the Democrats hold the majority.
So where is the outrage on this one? Palin has been ordained by many as the savior of the Republican Party - never mind the Mike Huckabees and Mitt Romneys and Bobby Jindals of the world. When she resigned as governor before her term was even finished she was defended by conservatives who said this move would give her more time to focus on the 2012 race and buttress her national credentials. Now she's saying she'll possibly campaign for some Democrats; what will the defense of that be among the hard-right wing of the GOP? I've had one person say that this will allow the Republican Party to increase in strength while loosening the death grip of hardcore liberals on the Democratic Party.
But for me, that opens up another point to consider. There are some who want the hardcore liberals out to make the Democrat Party more moderate - and yet they want the moderates out of the GOP so that they can make it more conservative. Using that logic, wouldn't that make moderates and independents more inclined to move to a place where they see they are more welcomed? Even more, wouldn't that greatly increase the likelihood of a third party?
This article ran on a Sunday, a traditionally slow news day. I just wonder how things will look on this by Wednesday.
Counterpoint: Liberal Sister
Firstly, I don't necessarily have a counterpoint for this topic, because I don't think this topic falls under the typical debate format.
Secondly, a message to Sarah Palin: Keep your hands off my Party!
In regards to the treatment Colin Powell received from his own party after endorsing Barack Obama (despite his aforementioned voting record), in my opinion the backlash he received for his endorsement was due to a sense of betrayal felt by members of the Republican party. I seem to recall a time (pre-2000 election) when many Conservatives looked to Powell as a potential savior of the party. He was, and still is, highly respected on either side of the aisle, and had he run for President, I suspect many Democrats, particularly the moderates, would have cast their ballot for him. (I probably would have.) Therefore, his endorsement of Obama may have seemed like a slap in the face to so many Republicans who, perhaps mistakenly, believed that Powell agreed with all Conservatives, all the time - an idea that, regardless of one's political leanings, is hardly ever the case. As for Sarah Palin, I think that since so many Conservatives have already written her off, and perhaps blame her for losing the 2008 election, her offer to help out the Moderate-Lefties probably isn't seen as a betrayal at all, but rather a welcome gift. Perhaps they are thinking: "YES. Stay away from our Party! You've done enough damage!"
Palin's willingness to campaign for Democrats could have a number of explanations. I think she has a tendency to demonstrate what I like to call "A.S.B.", or Attention-Seeking Behavior. Campaigning for Democrats would undoubtedly garner oodles of attention for her, and I think we all know how much Palin loves the spotlight. It could be a brilliant idea - she does draw in tremendous crowds, but I can't see any Democrats, Blue Dogs or not, turning up for their candidate's rally solely because they connect with Palin's "folksiness".
And maybe this idea of campaigning for either side is an attempt to draw Democrats closer to her in an attempt to secure their votes for a 2012 run at the Presidency. I think that is unlikely to happen on two fronts: 1.) There is no way she will ever secure a nomination for President, and 2.) No matter how moderate or fiscally conservative a Democrat is, Palin isn't going to get those votes.
Or perhaps this gesture of campaigning across the aisle is something else...something far more sinister.
(Cue scary Vincent Price music.)
What if, behind that perfect smile and adorable winking, lies a plot so dastardly that no one would ever see it coming? What if, by campaigning for Democrats, she intends to destroy the Democratic party from within? It seems so far-fetched and yet...so completely plausible. It is the stuff of nightmares for this Liberal - but it's such a silly idea, right? Right???
And so I say again - Sarah Palin: Keep your hands off my Party!