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Monday, May 10, 2010

How to Ride an Elephant and a Tiger at the Same Time

-from Patrick's World

Sarah Palin has straddled the border between party loyalty and political purity since the first day of her political life. When a political purist gets sucked over to the other side, they lose their soul. When a political purist stays on their side, they lose elections. So how do you find a way to keep your soul and win elections?

Sarah Palin takes a lot of unjust heat from the left. They manufacture lies about her. They make stuff up about her family. All in all, their discussions of Sarah Palin are worthless. They neither provide any intelligent political thought nor do they represent Palin properly. But when she takes it from the right there are other reasons for it. For some unknown reason - I don't know, maybe we're just grown ups and know how to communicate with each other - we can have a more lively and vigorous debate about Sarah Palin. And we can do it with real issues, too!

Sarah Palin bucked the Republican party and endorsed Doug Hoffman in New York's 23rd. She supported Scott Brown. She endorsed Rand Paul. These are not your garden variety Republicans. People in Republican circles were saying that she couldn't become president because she didn't have the support of party insiders. She's too extreme. She's too closely aligned with the Tea Party.

Then she backed John McCain and Carly Fiorino. The GOP establishment that once hated her now started liking her and started pouring money into those campaigns like crazy. Some folks in the Tea Party who loved her for bucking the establishment on the other hand got upset with her. I wonder if they would say she couldn't become president because she's too much of a party insider. She's a RINO. She's too closely aligned with the GOP establishment.

Well, which is it?

It's neither.

Sarah Palin is Sarah Palin. Today she may endorse a Carly Fiorino. Tomorrow she may endorse another Rand Paul.

One thing I have learned is all the poli sci stuff I took in college doesn't apply to Sarah Palin. I'm not going to tell you I definitively know what she's doing. Pissing off a wing of the base is not textbook political science. The textbook says zip it and don't get involved in California. But Palin is not textbook.

In evaluating the Carly Fiorina thing today, it may look like a disaster. But if history dictates anything, whenever Palin appears to show symptoms of political illness it usually turns out to be an optical illusion that is better explained in hindsight after figuring out that it's another one of those outside the box things that keeps making more sense the further out you go. We're mere mortals. Palin is a long term thinker.

Today she's breaking conservative hearts and everyone is asking "why Sarah, why?" Who knows. Tomorrow we may all look back and call her a genius when she carries the state of California in the 2012 election. Look at her resignation. We all asked "why Sarah, why?" In hindsight we realize now that it was a stroke of genius, her Kobayashi Maru.

I understand how some in the Tea Party and conservative movement feel. I, too, was a little taken aback by the Fiorina endorsement. Like with Palin's resignation, I will come to understand it in time. I know this because I believe in Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin is building the big tent that we are going to need to take back the shining city on a hill. Sometimes some of the people she invites into that tent are not going to like some of the other people she invited into that tent and vice verse.

Our job is to go sit at whatever table we want to sit at and don't worry about those "Ronulans" over there or those "GOP Insiders" or those "Hucksters" and so on. You see, our real political enemy is Barack Obama and the Democratic machine.

Sarah knows she cannot sell her soul. But she also knows that alienating the doormen is not the best way of getting into the castle that sits atop the shining city either - even if some of the troops behind her are upset that she would fraternize with such "types."

I know purists are upset at Sarah Palin. I understand that. I believe in the Tea Party movement and see what it can do if it infiltrates and becomes the establishment. I believe in conservatism and see what it can do as a guiding philosophy for political leaders. I'm also a Reagan Republican. I believe in the Republican party and what it can do under the right leadership as well. The intended outcome should be a benefit to all these things.

Ronald Reagan may have been one of the unwashed masses; but every once in a while he had to don the tux and go sit with some party big whigs. It's an inevitable part of doing business. We're going to have to govern some day. While getting there may start with clinging to your dogma while waving Gadsden flags in a field, ultimately how you form coalitions and enact policy on the electoral playing field and in the halls of Congress requires a balancing act between purism and pragmatism.

If you wanted to run your company better, would you piss off the people on the board of directors or would you try to infiltrate them, mingle with them and eventually win them over to your side? It's better to improve the elements of your own company rather than to alienate them if you are trying to beat your competitor.

Somewhere along the way we are going to have to realize that the tent starts over at John McCain on the left and goes all the way over to Ron Paul on right. Obama's got a big army and we need numbers.

You can't please all the people all the time. If you do, it means you're either being all things to all people or you're just hanging around with a small base. Is that what you want Sarah Palin to do?

If Sarah Palin can ride the Tea Party tiger and keep it invigorated and ride the Republican elephant and keep it going in the right direction at the same time it will be political gymnastics on the purism-pragmatism balance beam the likes we have not seen since Ronald Reagan.