- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Why is the left still so fixated on Sarah Palin? It has been well over a year since her unsuccessful run for the vice presidency. She has since resigned as governor of Alaska and now no longer holds any political office. Yet the left continues to act as though she were but a step away from the White House. Why?

It’s certainly not because former unsuccessful vice presidential candidates have a long record of further political successes. In the last 100 years, only two have gone on to win their party’s nomination. The last to do it was Bob Dole in 1996, 20 years after being Gerald Ford’s running mate. The only one to win the presidency in the last century was Franklin Roosevelt, who shared the 1920 ticket with James Cox.

No matter. The left’s hysterical hypocrisy continues unabated.

Liberals vehemently insist Mrs. Palin is unqualified for the White House. Yet, if this were in fact so evident, wouldn’t they want her to be their opponent in 2012? A patently unqualified nominee should be a guarantee of their success.

The fact is that American political history is replete with people of limited government experience. America is a private sector, not a public sector, country. Much to the left’s chagrin, we make heroes of businessmen and women and can tick off the names of the early captains of industry, as well as today’s.

Politicians, on the other hand, are treated just the opposite. America has always been distrustful of politicians. Today, America actively dislikes them. Politicians, even career ones, don’t run as “politicians.” Instead, they extol their nonpolitical experience.

And the lack of political experience is particularly notable within the ranks of the left. In fact, the further left one moves, the less experience the candidate usually has. Ralph Nader, the ultra-left’s quadrennial candidate, has never held any elective office. When it is the left’s candidate who has been less qualified - the more common scenario - never a peep is heard about it.

As we all know, this is really an exercise in subjectivism. For the left, what really “qualifies” candidates is that they think and act as the left itself does.

The substance of the left’s problem is that Mrs. Palin is not in the “business of victimhood.” She neither presents herself as a victim, nor is she in the business of creating and then urging government assistance for new “victims.”

While Huey Long, and before him, William Jennings Bryan, sought to make “every man a king,” today’s left would have every person a victim. The left is a perpetual industry of their manufacture.The reason is simple. Victims create clients for more government, and government is the means the left wishes to see order society. Victims also are a refutation of the private sector, which again justifies the need for more government. To be neither victim nor seek to extol them is to undercut both the end and the means of the left.

The left’s cultivation of victims makes it a grouping of extremes - a Marx and Engels phenomenon. On one hand, its victimizing message appeals to those who see themselves as disenfranchised from mainstream society - like the impoverished and embittered Marx. On the other, it resonates a guilt in those at the top - like the wealthy capitalist Engels. The latter condition is particularly common in those who themselves did not earn the wealth they enjoy. It is no coincidence that so many leaders of the left are in fact extraordinarily rich themselves.

Mrs. Palin is doubly menacing here. As a woman, her conservative stance is particularly threatening. Women rank high in the left’s pantheon of victims. That Mrs. Palin has proved very successful without the left’s embrace and its offer of special assistance endangers the resonance of its message.

Mrs. Palin is also solidly middle class, and the middle class has always terrified the left.The middle class is not disenfranchised from society, and it does not possess a guilt about the wealth they themselves have earned. This makes the middle class largely impenetrable to the left. For the left, Mrs. Palin inhabits the middle, not their two extremes, so to them she is truly “not one of us.”

In sum, Sarah Palin, by who she is, where she comes from, the values she holds, and the life choices she has made, is a living rebuke of the left.

However conservatives may feel about her as a potential leader, they should embrace who she is and what she stands for. Conservatives will have ample opportunity to make their own choice about her, should she even pursue such a course. And Mrs. Palin has every right to do so - not the least of which being the left’s insistence that it be denied to her.

J.T. Young served in the Treasury Department, the Office of Management and Budget and as a congressional staff member. He is a registered lobbyist.

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