By Andy Weddington
Friday, 05 February 2010
"Imagination has a great deal to do with winning."
A couple of weeks ago I had a casual visit and conversation with a friend I've known for a handful of years. She is, in every sense of the word, a successful businesswoman. In a male-dominated industry--and still is--she shattered glass floors, walls, partitions, and ceilings to rise to the top of her profession. She worked hard, persevered, and I suspect was handsomely compensated--the old 'reward is commensurate with effort and results' model. Damn, imagine that. Now retired, she busies herself mentoring, helping charitable organizations, sitting on advisory boards, public speaking, and pursuing sundry leisure activities. By golly, I think she even paints. Ah, yes, the good life.
She is outgoing and friendly--strangers are not so for long. You know the flavor. She's well-educated--formally and by the school of hard knocks, grounded, smart, articulate, quick-witted, funny and personable--simply a pleasure to be around. That said, she doesn't hold a candle to my wife. Yep, I know a little about politics. And enough about women to know I know nothing about them.
Our friendship is casual and small talk has rarely broached "heavy" topics like religion (though our background is similar), politics, defense, etc. But during that conversation a couple of weeks back somehow, and I do not recall how (my one beer and her glass of white wine probably the culprits), politics came up.
Minutes into our chit chat, she made an off-hand comment about Sarah Palin. Not mean-spirited but it did not sing (and she can carry a tune) Palin's praises, either. "Wait a minute. What are you basing your opinion on? I'm not so sure you know what you are talking about..." I said, and asked about the sources of information for her position. Suffice to say they were not especially impressive--at least in my book. So, I set about to correct the record--balanced with more information than she had. Then someone else popped in to join happy hour and that was that. Fine with me. Why ruin a good beer with politics.
Now why that background?
Because, here was a bright woman who had faced and conquered many of the same kinds of challenges as Sarah Palin--sprouted from humble beginnings not birthright, privilege, or wealth; worked hard; made good decisions; made a name for herself; and was living a comfortable life--and yet had formed a disparaging opinion of Palin based on nonsense--put out by supposed respectable media outlets (a bit on their credibility in a moment) and entertainment programs (spoofs) choreographed as "news" programs that had been anything but fair--and still aren't--presenting Palin to the public. At least that was my assessment.
Last weekend, though I'd not planned to, I read Palin's book, "Going Rogue--An American Life." I learned still more about the feisty and proud Alaskan who turned politics in her state, and America, upside down. But nothing I read surprised me--the book merely reinforced what I already knew and surmised and touched on in my December 2nd Commentary, "America's Leading Lady--Like Her or Not."
After reading Palin's book and reflecting more on the conversation from a couple of weeks back something dawned on me; purely a hypothetical but interesting to game.
No way was it going to happen--it could not--but what if Palin had headed that GOP ticket? And, Senator McCain had been her running mate?
Think about it. A McCain/Biden debate. Any doubt who would have won that one? And, with no one taking issue with McCain's qualifications for ascending to the presidency had such been necessary.
As for Palin, ticket headliner, she would not have allowed herself to be hamstrung (as she was as the VP candidate) by skittish campaign managers. She has proven exceptional political instincts (e.g., be yourself, tell the truth, engage with the people, and don't take crap from anyone) and a record of winning elections and effectiveness in office. On experience alone she had the upper hand on Mr. Obama. And she'd not have allowed the youngster Senator from Illinois off the hook regarding the seedy, radical characters that shaped his life--including some still present and influential.
My bet, Palin would have methodically dismantled Mr. Obama. Pummeling him with punches as to experience, character, agenda, and credibility--all valid issues--that Senator McCain was too gentlemanly, or whatever--his campaign remains a poser, to throw. As even amateur boxers know, pound the body and the head will die. Sympathetic media or not, Mr. Obama could not have avoided or escaped the inevitable. And voters would have had a clear choice. After all, political ideologies and personal contrast between the two could not be, well, any more black and white.
A Palin win by landslide unlikely. But, the biggest upset in American politics--ever? Certainly probable. The likelihood every bit as much as Mr. Obama's historic election. What if?
As of this writing, Palin's book has been on the New York Times best-seller list for 10 weeks. She holds the number five spot among the top 15. And she's not likely to drop off anytime soon. You can bet enemy fact-checkers have been all over that book--scrutinizing every single word--looking for something to exploit to destroy her. To date, nothing has come forward from enemy camps. And nothing credible will.
Why Palin? Simple. She gets it. She gets that capitalism built America and positioned this country as a dominant power. She gets that small business powers and strengthens America. And she gets that competition is a critical variable of capitalism. She gets that businesses--like every living thing--have a life cycle (birth, growth, maturation, decline, and death) and ingenuity and entrepreneurship is what keeps companies competitive and drives the economy. Stagnate then, like everything else, comes irrelevancy and death; making room for new life. And that's good. Palin gets that less government, not more, is the necessary course correction for jump-starting our economy and restoring America's global prominence. And the list of "she gets its" goes on and on.
Speaking of the government and now for that bit on the credibility of media, Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, a respected independent 'opiner'/commentator known for his tough but fair positions, recently wrote an article that included attention-getting figures gathered during a scientific survey conducted by Public Policy Polling--a reputable Democratic outfit. Here's the voice from Americans when asked which TV news operation they trusted:
Fox News: 49% trust/37% don't trust
ABC News: 31% trust/46% don't trust
NBC News: 35% trust/44% don't trust
CBS News: 32% trust/46% don't trust
CNN: 39% trust/41% don't trust
And Mr. O'Reilly, admitted entertainer not newscaster, offered, "According to a new Gallop Poll, 64 percent of Americans believe American media are not watching the Obama administration closely enough." Think about it. Nearly half the country trusts what they are hearing on Fox News while nearly half the country does not trust what they hear on the other networks. And, by nearly three to one, folks believe the media is doing them a disservice when it comes to covering their government. Whoa! And wow!
Draw your own conclusions. Be mindful of what you watch. Even more mindful of what you swallow.
After finishing Palin's book (and I hope my scholarly friend will read it) it occurred to me maybe the title missed the mark. She did not go "rogue." Rather, true to self and country, she went "American." That indomitable Stars and Stripes spirit of unapologetic patriotism that distinguishes Yanks from every other nationality on earth. Our enemies and enviers--sadly, our president, too--see it as arrogance. They are wrong. Dead wrong. It's pride and confidence and strength--and Palin exudes all. Her father, Chuck Heath, Sr., knows. He clarified (when Palin wisely decided it was in everyone's best interest to resign as Alaska's governor), "Sarah's not retreating; she's reloading!" Who would better know? I can think of only one person--her mom. Oh, and her husband, Todd.
Palin rogue? No way.
Fact is, many amongst our populace went "rogue"--floundering and losing their way; retreating. Yet, our star-spangled banner continues to wave. Home fires still glow. The tea seeps. And steadily more and more errant--following whiffs of Earl Grey--are finding their way back. Welcome home.
Palin in 2008? It could not have been. But, what if?
We are living a time when our country hastily took a wrong turn--made a mistake. The nation did not "Lincoln" the election. That is, ignoring the steady hand and deliberate leadership of the 16th president--ironically, a hero of Mr. Obama, many didn't allow displeasure and anger (with the Bush presidency) to subside before making a decision. As such, a cleverly hyped sales pitch for a shallow and wrong-headed platform created and stoked an emotionally vulnerable populace. With time in Mr. Obama's corner and adrenalin suppressing common sense, they bought. Their reckless decision resulting in, as it typically does, disaster--and a doozy at that.
Last week I wrote Mr. Obama would go down in the history books as the president "Elected when America fell asleep." I believe it. Yet I'm encouraged America is awakening. Stand by as she continues to shake off the fog of slumber, yawns, stretches, and clears sleep from her eyes. For no land on the planet is more powerful than a recharged America with clear vision steam-rolling on the core principles upon which she was founded.
The people, now that surging adrenalin has ebbed and rational thought is returning, are moving to correct their wrong turn. There's no denying what is happening. Once Mr. Obama supporters are now voting against him. There's no other explanation for Democratic party defeats in recent key elections.
Palin in 2012?
Coach Krzyzewski said imagination has a great deal to do with winning. Among the most winning coaches in NCAA Division I Men's Basketball history just maybe he knows what he's talking about.
Palin has imagination. Why should anyone be surprised if she wins next time around? No need to answer. Think about it. And look no further back than election 2008 for proof anything is possible.
Attached is the link for the powerful message Senator Scott Brown (R, MA) used to awaken voters. It, coupled with growing suspicion and skepticism of Mr. Obama's politics and abilities, worked. There is no need to create another message. Anyone running for office against candidates party to the current Administration need merely script from the Brown boilerplate. Take 90 seconds to watch--you'll see why. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nEoW-P81-0