Michael Ryan

Sure-footed Palin speaks for many

By Michael Ryan - Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sarah Palin brought down the house – and the wrath of liberal haters – at the Conservative Political Action Conference March 8.

Palin will ever be regarded as an empty skirt to liberals who arrogantly seem to think they’ve got the market cornered on intellect. Indeed, the UrbanDictionary.com definition of “empty skirt” uses Palin as an example of one.

Yet, no fair observer could come away thinking her performance at CPAC burst forth from anyone but a savvy, sure-footed superstar. She was eloquent, hilarious, pointed and fearless – eruditely savaging not only President Obama, but “establishment” Republican leaders who look down on, and even wage war with, their conservative colleagues.

Speaking directly to them, Palin cited the 2010 Tea Party electoral tidal wave that helped put many of those same Republicans in office, and said, “You didn’t build that!”

The massive audience at the premier conservative gathering of the year showed lots of love to a diverse roster of speakers. But the crowd didn’t just love Sarah Palin – they exploded with enthusiasm for her.

The left, in all their blind and contented condescension, will never understand why, because to do so would be to come face-to-face with a most inconvenient truth: She speaks for a good bit of us.

She’s also right about a lot – including, astonishingly, the fact that Russia would invade Ukraine if Obama were elected, which she predicted before he was, in 2008. Typically, she was mocked for having done so.

Yes, Sarah Palin has had a few gaffes – but truthfully, no more than the sitting president and vice president. The president once referred to visiting 57 of the United States – and only recently misspelled “respect” while talking about Aretha Franklin. He once pronounced Navy corpsman “corpse-man.” The commander in chief!

Now, honestly: Is there any doubt a Palin or Quayle would be excoriated within an inch of their political lives for such mistakes? Democrats get a pass; Gaffemaster Joe Biden has a lifetime pass. Yet, (Insert Name of Any Republican) is dumb, and they’re not.

All that aside, what the left either doesn’t understand or perhaps fears is that Sarah Palin gives voice to what used to be a Moral Majority, and what now might be termed a Principled Plurality: the 40-plus percent of Americans who describe themselves as conservative (compared to the 20-something percent who say they’re liberal), as well as moderates and even open-minded liberals.

She talks about what used to be mainstream American values: honor, duty, rugged individualism, family, faith, strength, American exceptionalism and more. Today, such things are openly mocked by what she calls the “lamestream” media. Today, such words are, in the words of the movie A Few Good Men, used as a punch line.

In contrast, in flyover country such words are, to quote the movie again, “the backbone of a life spent defending something.” To conservatives, such words define America – or at least the America we thought we knew.

But one major thing that makes Sarah Palin as beloved and powerful as she is – she’s helped get a number of people elected, including Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas – is the very fact that the media love to hate her. They disdain her, while tripping over themselves to cover her.

And while their attacks on her may have made her unelectable, since so many voters are so easily swayed by the latest Saturday Night Live skit, paradoxically, they’ve also made her a more potent force.

Sarah Palin is the fetching face of the media’s unrelenting oppression of conservatives and conservative thought. Whatever the self-anointed “cool kids” in the media want to think, not everybody is snickering at their contemptuous cracks. A lot of us are on her side.

Palin has found her footing and is reaching her stride. They don’t get it, they’re afraid of it and they hate it. That only makes a lot of folks love her more.

Many of us can see America from our house. And it looks a lot like Sarah Palin.

Michael Ryan is editorial page editor at The Augusta (GA.) Chronicle, and executive director of the new Morris Civics Initiative, which aims to help create a renaissance of American responsibility and civics.

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