“Mind what people do, not only what they say, for deeds will betray a lie.”–Soul of Fire by Terry Goodkind
Now some liberal critics have wanted to criticize Sarah Palin’s recent speech to the Tea Party convention as a reactionary form of conservatism reminiscent of Barry Goldwater. Now I have to problems with this assessment: (1) that Goldwater’s Classical LIberalistic belief that government is evil is somehow reactionary, and not, you know, common sense (2) that a hypocrite like Palin is someone compared to Goldwater.
Why do I call Palin a hypocrite. Well you can judge a leader far more by the actions they perform and the company they keep than by the words they say. Now sometimes I think Palin says the right things (although I’ve yet to hear anything of depth that goes beyond a talking point, but that is something that applies to 99.9% of all politicians), but she does the wrong things. Am I talking about her behavior as Governor of Alaska? Partly. Now she seems to have done some good things as executive of that state, but she also was one of those people who supported the famous bridge to nowhere piece of pork spending (then very much like a politician changed her position when it was politically convenient). I would not make the case that she’s dumb or an ineffective executive, there is no proof of that. But she is a politician, she may not have been at it for very long…but she is not the outsider she would like to portray herself as.
But is that the only piece of proof I have to her hypocrisy? No far more damning than anything she did during her term in Alaska is her behavior since leaving that position. What has she done? She’s endorsed John McCain. Now if you want a man who represents everything against the value of Classical Liberalism (maybe with supporting a bill that limits first amendment rights known as McCain-Feingold) and man who is the definition of a politician (in his obsessive-compulsive need to be approved of by the liberal elite) that man is John McCain. If the Tea Party movement is supposed to represent a return to Classical Liberal ideals (and I have my doubts that any populist movement is motivated by ideals of right and justice as much as it is motivated by a short-term focus on their taxes. And don’t get me wrong taxes are important, but if you could convince most of the tea partyiers that we could pass health care without raising their taxes they would stop opposing it, because they don’t think about the fact that any entitlement program is an affront to the nature of natural rights and humanity, they only care about their checkbook…right and good and true be damned), but if the Tea Party is supposed to be the representatives of these ideals then no man is more opposed to those ideals than John McCain. And who supports McCain and his always compromise on ideals methods, that’s right Sarah Palin! She cannot be the supporter of the ideals she says she supports and support a consummate Washington insider like McCain in the same breath and not show she stands only for her own political advancement not any actual ideal.
Now if she really believed in these principles she would distance herself in a heartbeat from her former running-mate. But she hasn’t. So we are faced with a contradiction. Either she doesn’t understand what she stands for or she doesn’t care. Either way is hypocrisy.
Now there is no doubt that most liberals attacks on Palin’s skills or intelligence is nothing more than dressed up version of institutionalized misogynism. They pull out the flubs that anyone on camera that much makes and portray her as a ditz. This is not the case. The article that compares her to Goldwater suggests she has no respect for civli liberties…not mentioning her complaint is that we are giving civilian civil liberties to terrorist, a policy that offends the vast majority of Americans because terrorists are the jurisdiction of military tribunals not the civil courts. Thus this again is an outrageous attack, and it’s disingenuous to not put the critique in context (but being disingenuous is not exactly new for the left). But just because she is the target of grossly sexist and unfair criticism, does not mean that she is perfect. She is a hypocrite and your every day standard politician who will say what she thinks will lead to her gaining political power.
If the Right is looking for a leader who will bring about principled Classical Liberal/ Constitutionalist/Free Market reform, it’s not Sarah Palin.