Return of the ‘Den Mother on Steroids’

‘Sarah Palin’s uncanny ability to shape the entire health care debate using only a computer and a Facebook page could prove a turning point in the former governor’s political career

Tonight, President Barack Obama will address a joint session of Congress and, by all accounts, will put forth a detailed description of what he wants from lawmakers in terms of health care reform. Obama, however, isn’t the only one getting specific.

About a month after turning the health care debate on its ear with a well-researched, impeccably cited note on her Facebook page regarding Democratic Party plans for health care reform and end-of-life care for seniors, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has once again picked up the pen and weighed in, this time in an op-ed piece entitled Obama and the Bureaucratization of Health Care in today’s Wall Street Journal.

In the piece, Palin pokes holes in the health care plans bounced about by Democrats and the president, warning of promises that Washington cannot keep, and arguing that the proposals currently being considered would provide unelected, unaccountable group of government officials with life-and-death health care rationing powers. An excerpt:

Let’s talk about specifics. In his Times op-ed, the president argues that the Democrats’ proposals “will finally bring skyrocketing health-care costs under control” by “cutting . . . waste and inefficiency in federal health programs like Medicare and Medicaid and in unwarranted subsidies to insurance companies . . . .”

First, ask yourself whether the government that brought us such “waste and inefficiency” and “unwarranted subsidies” in the first place can be believed when it says that this time it will get things right. The nonpartistan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) doesn’t think so: Its director, Douglas Elmendorf, told the Senate Budget Committee in July that “in the legislation that has been reported we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount.”

Now look at one way Mr. Obama wants to eliminate inefficiency and waste: He’s asked Congress to create an Independent Medicare Advisory Council—an unelected, largely unaccountable group of experts charged with containing Medicare costs. In an interview with the New York Times in April, the president suggested that such a group, working outside of “normal political channels,” should guide decisions regarding that “huge driver of cost . . . the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives . . . .”

Given such statements, is it any wonder that many of the sick and elderly are concerned that the Democrats’ proposals will ultimately lead to rationing of their health care by—dare I say it—death panels? Establishment voices dismissed that phrase, but it rang true for many Americans. Working through “normal political channels,” they made themselves heard, and as a result Congress will likely reject a wrong-headed proposal to authorize end-of-life counseling in this cost-cutting context. But the fact remains that the Democrats’ proposals would still empower unelected bureaucrats to make decisions affecting life or death health-care matters. Such government overreaching is what we’ve come to expect from this administration.

Way back on February 12, 2008, less than a month after I established America’s Right and to an audience of only about three dozen people each day, I wrote a piece entitled Inevitable Democratic Party Nominee is All Sizzle, No Steak. That day, primary polls had just closed in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, and I stated that “America’s Right–with all of its staggering credibility–is calling those three primaries, as well as the Democratic [Party] nomination as a whole, for Illinois Sen. Barack Hussein Obama.”

I deemed Obama “truly the perfect political weapon for this time,” a time “when cosmetic surgery is the norm, when the latest exploits of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan and Heather Mills and Simon Cowell lead news broadcasts,” and I openly worried that “the increasingly superficial nature of the country will lead people to dismiss steak in favor of sizzle.”

Back then, when Obama’s soaring rhetoric was lofty and eloquent enough to leave even this hardened conservative awestruck, I encouraged people to tear his speeches apart and “find the facts within the phrasing, the policy within the promises, the actual means to Obama’s wonderfully described, idealistic end.”

“Everywhere you look,” I wrote, “people seem to be more and more enamored by the impassioned yet empty rhetoric employed by the Illinois senator, yet even the most ardent supporters I encounter on a daily basis do not seem to know what is behind the flawless curtain. Others simply don’t care – Obama connects with them on an emotional level, and that’s all that seems to matter.”

I pointed out how he caucused “left of just about everybody in Washington, D.C.” and highlighted some of the decisions he had made in the seventeen seconds he had spent as a junior senator from Illinois, including a vote against the renewal, for six months time, authority pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which would provide our government to review communications of suspected terrorists without a court order. (Interestingly enough, just yesterday we learned from the folks at Wired.com that e-mail correspondence intercepted because of that authority–which Obama voted against–helped to convict, in British court, the would-be bombers of several intercontinental flights.)

I closed the piece with a few paragraphs which now, eighteen months later, can only be described as eerie:

As much as his liberal—and, in some cases, downright dangerous—stances on just about everything worries me, what frightens me most are the exact characteristics that attract people to his candidacy – his youth, and his natural gift of oratory.

I worry that the idealism which runs hand-in-hand with youth—and not to mention liberalism—will cause Obama to become something that, under other circumstances, would be absolutely welcomed. I worry that, unlike Hillary Clinton, who would use her power to position herself for greater wealth and greater power, Obama would actually work tirelessly to advance his ideals and get things done. If he were a conservative, this side of Obama would have me jumping for joy.

Barack Obama is truly the perfect political weapon for this time. I worry that his natural gift of oratory–he recently spoke to a sold-out crowd of 16,000 in Boise, Idaho, hardly an epicenter of liberal thought–will grease the wheels of Congress and government. Where democrats and republicans alike would automatically scrutinize any and all ideas put forth by Hillary Clinton due to her disingenuous nature if nothing else, Obama’s likable personality and ability to communicate might temper dissent. Furthermore, his ability to create ambiguous rhetoric to advance his ideals without actually saying anything of substance could allow him to take certain issues above the collective heads of Congress and right to the American people.

No matter how much I ramble on about the history and tendencies of the Supreme Court, no matter how much I drone on and on about the threat we face from fundamentalist Islam, no matter how much I try to coherently make arguments about the pending economic downturn or share information about and developments along our porous borders, I cannot adequately convey just how important the 2008 election is to America.

So, why bring this up in a commentary about Sarah Palin’s recent health care-related op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal? Well, the answer is fairly simple — but I can’t say it without coming off like a total prick.

I bring it up because I’m right. When it comes to this stuff, I’m nearly always right.

During last year’s campaign, I predicted not only the outcome of a Democratic Party primary which lasted until June, but I predicted exactly who Barack Obama would pick as a running mate, I predicted exactly how he would use race against John McCain, exactly how McCain could gain even a short-lived “bump” in his poll numbers, and more. I only missed two things in last year’s election: the selection of Sarah Palin, and the winning Powerball numbers. I’m by no means perfect, but when I get a certain feeling about something, look out.

Fast-forward from mid-February 2008 to now and we have President Barack Obama working tirelessly to advance his own ideas and ideals, we have an administration using perceived economic crisis to further its agenda, we have a downright racist, admittedly activist Associate Justice now about to hear her first case at the United States of America, we have the president’s likability tempering dissent, and the White House is banking on his ability to create ambiguous rhetoric without actually saying anything of substance to allow the administration to take the health care debate straight to the American people.

And I have a feeling that we’re seeing a turning point for Sarah Palin. Without a doubt, it was Sarah Palin who singlehandedly shaped the debate over health care during the crucial August recess. Dogged perpetually by those who claim that she is an intellectual dim bulb, Palin got specific about end-of-live provisions in the context of cost-cutting measures, coined a political phrase–dare I say “death panels?”–that could both define and haunt a one-term presidency, and today she’s doing it again.

I’ve liked Palin from the start, and while I was confident in her abilities as a possible No. 2, I wasn’t entirely sure that she had the foreign policy experience and national policy knowhow to compete for the presidency. I stated, over and over again, that if she were to do a lot of reading, do a bit of speaking and maintain her national presence without overdoing it, all the while studying up on the issues and policies she needs to most, she could be a force to be reckoned with in 2012.

After all, if you take her raw political talent, her knack for drawing a crowd and raising money, her ability to relate to everyday Americans, her solid conservative ideals, and her executive experience and combine it with a new-found, deep understanding of the issues affecting domestic and foreign policy, she could be unstoppable. I get the feeling we’ll be able to track her progress based upon the treatment she receives from the mainstream press.

While it’s obviously too early to predict what will happen in that crucial year, I feel comfortable now more than ever saying that Palin’s seat at the GOP table will be bigger than even many of her own supporters imagined just a few short months ago. If her writings, if her ability to do research and make valid arguments on health care reform are any indication, she’s well on her way to doing the right things and reinvent herself on the national stage. And if it’s not her doing the research, making the arguments and putting forth the writings, it means that she has found herself the right people to carry her forth.

I can’t call the 2012 election now like I did the 2008 election back then, but I can say that the same feeling that really made me apprehensive about Illinois Sen. Barack Hussein Obama in February of last year is getting me really excited about Sarah Palin now. If she emerges in the manner I believe she will, it will be Sarah Palin in 2012 that will be the perfect political weapon of that particular time and place.

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Comments

  1. fleur says:

    Sarah is the face of the party and the American people. As a woman I cried at her selection. It's about time that we women in the party had a voice. Romney, Jindal, Huck don't have the same charisma and are conservative lite. She was lead down the path of destruction by McCain's people and finished by the MSM. It's evident that she is much more knowledgeable than given credit for. Believe me Jeff, as a Mom she has always known what's going on overseas. She has her first-born son there. She knows a lot more than she lets on.

  2. ccribbsj says:

    Jeff,
    Great insight.

    But we both know we don't want the GOP in office in 2012. Where have they been this summer? They are just as confused as the Democrats. We need Ron Paul (or someone who "get's it" like he does) in office. I don't think Palin gets it. She may be conservative but she is not for radically reducing the size of the federal budget or the size of the government. She needs Ron's wisdom, experience and intellectual mind. I don't see her playing second fiddle. but I don't think Ron would either. But they would make a great team!

  3. LILly says:

    Jeff! I shared her article on FB this am and got into it with some liberal "friends" about her being "washed up beauty queen that needs to go away" and "dumb" and a "quitter". It was fun! Then I shared the Paglia artcle for my lib friends. Not a peep out of them on that one! Thank you!!! You have helped me to be able to articulate my thoughts and beliefs without getting upset. I remember your article from last year btw! Congrats!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sarah Palin is the future. The more the RAT party attempts to smear her, the stronger she comes back. She's the real deal for 2012!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Jeff – I will make the prediction even if you want to wait a little longer for the inevitable.

    Sarah Palin – Madame President 2012

    MarionN
    Canada

  6. Ian Thorpe says:

    Sarah P won me over with that wink. OK I'm shallow.

    But I still don't get Jeff how you find the President likeable. Several people who were schmoozed by him on the campaign trail have said to me "but Ian, if you met Mr. Obama you'd love him. He's so sincere."

    Maybe its because I was in business rather than politics, maybe its because I have a little stge experience and know sincerity is the easiest emotion to learn to fake, but when I meet someone who is sincere I know they are absolutely not to be trusted. The guy who sold me a did second hand car was sincere. Every guy who tried to sell me a dodgy investment policy or pension plan was sincere. Every con man I ever met was sincere.

    I guess some people did like all these guys until the guys disappeared with their mark's money.

    And Obama has not disappeared yet but he is milking all your money.

  7. momathome says:

    Jeff,

    Don't apoligize for being right! Some of us have been given the "gift of prophecy" and it can get very uncomfortable when people call you arrogant or cynical…but I have learned to just smile and say, "Well, I wouldn't be so arrogant if I wasn't proven right so much of the time!" The truth of the matter is that humans are fallen creatures and the vast majority of the time, they will revert to selfishness, pride and denial (I absolutely include myself in this description). Only when we recognize this truth can we put safeguards in place, as the Founding Fathers did, to protect us from ourselves! Too many, on the left and the right, try to persuade Americans that they are "different", they "care" and too many people fall for it, again and again. Fool me once, shame on you..fool me twice, shame on me. Wake up, people!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Palin 2012
    pale in 2012 (Obama)

  9. carder says:

    I like your arrogance, Jeff. Keep it up. She Who Was Once Governor is creating more havoc from her living room in Wasilla than all her campaign rallies combined.

    Question for Ian Thorpe: If you take "sincerity" for a con, then what convinces you that someone is not taking you for a ride?

  10. Gail B says:

    Jeff, I learned long ago to trust your manatee gut feeling!

    As for Sarah Palin, her actions as governor of Alaska and her tackling her own party's corruption–and winning–told me all I needed to know!

    Yes, she resigned as governor, but she spent longer than "17 seconds" in office! (That was a good one, Jeff.)

    When I first saw Obama/Soetoro campaigning, I thought he was just wonderful! Then one day I was busy doing something–washing dishes, I think–and was only listening. What I heard was NOTHING of substance! NOTHING! He sounded like a high school cheer leader or a motivational speaker, not someone seeking the office of the President of the United States.

    And, the reason I voted for McCain was not "for" McCain; I was voting for Sarah Palin.

  11. goddessdivine says:

    I sincerely hope we see Palin on the national scene….and soon. But like you said, after she's beefed up her resume.

    I still don't understand how people find Obama likeable. He's a schmoozer of the worst kind, and his speeches have as much substance as nonfat milk.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I wrote this on my blog back when Sarah Palin resigned the Governorship. I think it has some truth to it if the democrats continue to ram through legislation that the American people in majority do not want. The title of my post was Dividing a Nation for Good. Here's what I wrote:

    It is no secret that Sarah Palin is a polarizing figure, but a run for President by Sarah Palin could very well prove a healthy catharsis for this nation. I’ll admit my bias. I have absolutely loved Sarah Palin ever since she came on the scene. Last August, I remember sitting here in a political malaise incompatible with the choices selected for us for our Presidential nominees and worried that one of the greatest leftists this country has ever known was about to become President. Then along came Sarah Palin, a lightning bolt, a politician that the American people, not conservatives, not Republicans, but a politician that the American people could rally behind, finally a politician that is on our side. Of course, Sarah Palin has stumbled along the way but that hasn’t made her any less popular amongst those of us across the country whom believe that our country is in jeopardy and needs a strong politician for the people to return this country to its promise.

    If I had my druthers, Sarah Palin would run for President in 2016 or 2020 because I believe that with age comes wisdom, and I have this bias that I want my President’s to be a bit older, a little more life savvy that only age can bring. But we do not have that luxury right now. The founding principles of our very country are at stake, and as much as I would like to wait, as a country, we just cannot wait. Should she decide to run, Sarah Palin is the absolutely perfect candidate to run for President in 2012. We can already see it across the country in the Tea Parties and other protests. The American people are absolutely fed up with the corruptocrats in Washington D.C. Sarah Palin doesn’t represent them. She represents us, the hard working folks living in this nation that just want a fair shake and representation. We do not have it now, but we certainly expect to receive it. And Sarah Palin just may be that great gift that the American people so desire and so justly deserve. God Bless America. And God Bless Sarah Palin.

  13. Rix says:

    I agree with those who posted before me: Sarah Palin is an ideal candidate to run in 2016 or, if things work surprisingly well in three years, 2020. Until then, she must beef up her political baggage, erase the memory of 2008 defeat (even though she wasn't responsible for it), put some of her negative baggage (like Bristol's pregnancy story) behind and recover from the media barrage. But as for 2012, with all my adoration of her character (and looks), I hope she does not run.

    Jim deMint & Ron Paul 2012!

  14. Still a Patriot says:

    Hi Jeff -

    I think you have a gift of reading people & I appreciate very much that you share it. I have learned so much from you & your contributors here at AR.

    Sarah is indeed a force to be reckoned with – she has nerves of steel & a backbone to match. If you consider all she has endured in the past year that would have broken down a less stalwart individual, she has an amazing resiliency. I know the One from whom she draws her strength. I think we have much to look forward to from this incredible lady!

    Susan

  15. Randy Wills says:

    I agree with you, Susan, in all that you said, including from whence she gets her strength.

    But I wonder if most conservatives, including those who visit this site, really understand that we cannot expect a return to the values of the Founders without also returning to their spiritual perspective?

    The feedback that I often get from my writings is that somehow we expect to make spaghetti without the sauce. It'll never happen. People who don't understand and commit to the spiritual essence of the Constitution don't, in my opinion, really support the Constitution itself, so I'm a little confused as to what it is that those folks think they're making such an effort to return to.

  16. sharon says:

    It has always been my belief that until we elect a "regular Joe" into office, we will continue to plagued by the politics as usual antics. Whether or not Sarah Palin decides to run for president remains to be seen. She will be a huge asset to us regardless if she runs or not. Her stumping for conservative candidates will have a huge impact on our chances as well as her ability to tell it like it is.. I believe we would all be better off with an individual, any individual that is more in tuned with the American people. An individual that knows how to substitute ground turkey for the ground sirloin. Like her or not, Sarah Palin is a public servant, not a politician and this American is grateful for any contribution she can make.

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