Posted by: Nate Nelson | November 19, 2009

Sarah Palin and the Judgment to Lead

Sarah Palin is making news everywhere over the past few days, promoting her new book Going Rogue: An American Life through a series of interviews and a national book tour. Many are looking to her most recent interviews to examine whether or not she is in fact qualified to run for president in 2012. She has made a number of eloquent, red meat policy statements in these interviews and there is a lot to examine. I’ll leave that to others.

While finding out where Palin stands on policy is important, I think there are other ways one can discern whether or not she is qualified to lead our nation. Over a year ago, Palin gave her speech at the Republican National Convention as the GOP vice presidential candidate. I think now is the appropriate time to look back on that speech and see just how prescient Palin’s claims about the future of America under an Obama administration have turned out to be.

More beneath the fold…

Sarah Palin on September 3, 2008:

Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown. And, since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let  me explain to them what the job involves: I guess, I guess a small town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.

The situation today: Over a year ago, Sarah Palin highlighted in general that she was the only candidate in the election who actually had executive experience. Specifically, she questioned the leadership ability of a man whose longest job title was not state senator or U.S. senator, but community organizer. More than a year later, has Barack Obama proven that he is ready to lead?

The clear answer is no. Sarah Palin was right. He has not led our economy into recovery, as unemployment climbs to 10% and the so-called stimulus has only created jobs in congressional districts that don’t exist. He has not made our country more fiscally sound, as the bailouts have only positioned the country for a repeat of our previous crisis and out of control spending has brought our deficit to $12 trillion. Nor has he led on health care reform, the supposed centerpiece of his domestic agenda. Rather, he has played basketball and gone golfing while abdicating the job voters gave him to do to the most radical Speaker of the House in history and a weak-kneed Senate Majority Leader.

On foreign policy, his inability to lead is even more grave. Iran and North Korea remain obstinate. He spits in the faces of veterans who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam as he shows the world a weaker kinder, gentler president who bows to emperors and dictators. He refuses to acknowledge an ongoing war on terrorism, and when that war once again returns to his country via a radical Muslim army psychiatrist he refuses to accept responsibility for the first terrorist attack on American soil since September 11, 2001. He is giving the 9/11 mastermind a civilian trial and all of the risks that come with it. But maybe most seriously, his dithering on Afghanistan threatens greater harm to our troops and ultimately the victory of a resurgent Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Sarah Palin was right: Barack Obama is not ready to lead.

Sarah Palin on September 3, 2008:

I might add, I might add that in small towns we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they’re listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening. No, we tend to prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.

The situation today: Sarah Palin pointed out that Barack Obama didn’t really respect working men and women; if anything, he looked down on them with a condescending sense of pity. In Obama’s worldview, working Americans don’t need freedom; they need government.

This is so clearly true today. The government take-over of the health care industry is really a statement that Americans need government to manage their health. Rather than focusing on free-market solutions that would give Americans more choices, the Obamacrats would rather mete out health care as they see fit. They know what’s best for you. In the process, they’ll tax you and tax you again. They’ll even put a tax on soda and juice drinks to try to control your behavior.

And by the way, because you’re too stupid to know what’s going on, they’ll promote ideas like the “fairness doctrine” to regulate what is and is not said on television and radio, and “net neutrality” to introduce the greatest increase in internet regulation in American history. But don’t worry, all the taxes and regulations — they’re just doing what’s best for you, because you can’t be trusted to do it yourself.

Sarah Palin was right: Barack Obama has no respect for working Americans. He sees them as lesser human beings who need government to take care of them.

Sarah Palin on September 3, 2008:

Our opponents say again and again that drilling will not solve all of America’s energy problems, as if we didn’t know that already. But the fact, the fact that drilling though won’t solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all. Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines, and build more nuclear plants, and create jobs with clean coal, and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources.

We need, we need American sources of resources, we need American energy brought to you by American ingenuity and produced by American workers.

The situation today: As Sarah Palin predicted, Barack Obama has not moved forward on energy independence. His “climate change” proposals have virtually nothing to do with energy independence; they’re more about imposing artificial government restrictions on business, and the largest tax increase in American history. We’re still not drilling for more domestic oil or natural gas. We haven’t built nuclear power plants. We’re not doing anything with clean coal (in fact, cap-and-tax will destroy the coal industry). There has been no progress on alternative energy sources like solar, wind, and geothermal.

By ignoring energy independence, Obamacrats have ignored a legitimate economic and national security issue in which the government should have become involved through incentivizing leadership and innovation. The Obama administration has ignored what could have been the single largest job stimulus program we could have achieved, an energy independence stimulus that would have created jobs, reduced our trade deficit, and made us more secure and less reliant on hostile foreign powers.

Sarah Palin was right: Barack Obama has done “nothing at all” on energy independence. We are still as dependent as ever on foreign sources of energy — to the detriment of our workers, to our domestic economy, to our trade deficit, and to our national security.

Sarah Palin on September 3, 2008:

Now I’ve noticed a pattern with our opponent, and maybe you have too. We’ve all heard his dramatic speeches before devoted followers, and there is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs, but not a single major law or not even a reform, not even in the state senate.

This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word victory except when he’s talking about his own campaign.

But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed, when the roar of the crowd fades away, when the stadium lights go out, and those styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot — when that happens, what exactly is our opponent’s plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer, the answer is to make government bigger, and take more of your money, and give you more orders from Washington, and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world.

America needs more energy; our opponent is against producing it. Victory in Iraq is finally in sight, and he wants to forfeit. Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay; he wants to meet them without preconditions. Al-Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America, and he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights.

Government is too big; he wants to grow it. Congress spends too much money; he promises more. Taxes are too high, and he wants to raise them. His tax increases are the fine print in his economic plan, and let me be specific: The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, and raise payroll taxes, and raise investment income taxes, and raise the death tax, and raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars. . . .

Here’s how I look at the choice Americans face in this election: In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers, and then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change. They are the ones whose names appear on laws and landmark reforms, not just on buttons and banners or on self-designed presidential seals. . . .

The situation today: Nearing the end of her speech, Sarah Palin offered what was perhaps the most sweeping indictment that came out of the convention of what America would look like under an Obama administration. She worried about a man who would be Campaigner-in-Chief rather than Commander-in-Chief, a man with radical disdain for our military and radical views on foreign policy, and a man who epitomized tax-and-spend liberalism. She worried about a man who was manipulating change to promote his career, because he had no career in which he had promoted change.

Was she wrong? Was she wrong about any of it?

There are many ways to measure the qualifications of a political candidate or potential candidate. One way is to look at his or her policy views, and over the past few days Sarah Palin has been laying out what she calls “common sense conservative” solutions to American problems. She is leaving little doubt that she knows what America needs to do to restore domestic prosperity and restrengthen our much weakened position in the world.

But there is another way to measure the qualifications of a candidate, and that is by measuring his or her judgment. Does the person seeking your support show the good judgment that is necessary to lead? More than a year ago, Sarah Palin used her judgment to offer a glimpse into Obama’s America. That brief glimpse during the Republican National Convention now seems as though Palin was looking through a window to the future. If she had the good judgment to know exactly what America would look like under President Barack Obama, why would she not have good enough judgment to lead us into a better, more prosperous, and more secure future?

I haven’t decided who I will support in 2012 yet; for Pete’s sake, we don’t even know who’s running. What I do know is that if Sarah Palin runs in 2012 and if her opponents and their supporters try to cast her as too inexperienced to lead, we need to remember that she had the good judgment to know that Barack Obama could not lead and the guts to say so. Maybe, just maybe, we should trust that good judgment to run the GOP presidential campaign in 2012 and, more importantly, the White House in 2013.

Cross-posted to RedState.

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Responses

  1. Nate, if predicting that people who disagree with you as candidates will still disagree with you once in office shows sufficient judgment to lead, then liberal Democrats should have voted in droves for Al Sharpton, who sure enough has enough judgment to be able to predict that conservatives will indeed often prove to be more conservative than Sharpton supporters. I think you need to set your bar a bit higher.

    • But it was more than predicting that Obama would still disagree with her once in office. Palin predicted:

      1. That Obama was too inexperienced to govern effectively. So far under his watch, we have an unemployment rate of approx. 10%, a $12 trillion deficit, and a mismanaged and ineffective stimulus. That’s just the economy. On national security, we’ve seen the first terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11 and a grand gesture to try KSM in civilian court with the risk that he will be freed on technicalities. On foreign policy, it has been three months since Gen. McChrystal recommended more troops for Afghanistan and Obama still hasn’t made a decision; he won’t for weeks. Obviously he can’t govern.

      2. That energy independence would go nowhere. In fact, it hasn’t. It’s no surprise that drilling for domestic oil and natural gas has gone nowhere; like you said, this is an area in which the candidates simply disagreed. Yet Obama expressed an open mind in regard to nuclear power, but since the election that idea has been DOA. And the alternative energy that was the cornerstone of his energy proposals? That hasn’t gone anywhere either.

      3. That Obama would increase the size of government and raise taxes. This was not simply a matter of disagreement. Obama promised during the campaign that there would be no tax increases on anyone making under $250,000 a year. That clearly already has not been the case, and there are more taxes in store for those making less than $250,000 a year once health care reform and cap-and-trade pass Congress.

      I guess what I’m saying is this is not merely a matter of disagreements between candidates. Palin painted a picture of how Obama would govern with quite a bit of specificity, and that picture has so far turned out to be accurate. Some of what she predicted was mere disagreement, but she also predicted that he would break promises he made — promises like pursuing energy independence and resisting tax increases. I think that shows she had the judgment to see past his rhetoric, and as someone who foolishly believed that Obama would do what he said he would do, I admire those who knew better and weren’t fooled.

  2. New jobless claims have gone steadily down under Obama’s watch. The deficit would have been greater if Obama had left things the way they were under Bush. How can refuse to see that international relations have improved drastically under Obama?
    Palin couldn’t be any wronger if she tried; or maybe that’s what she was doing all along…

    • Ian, I see that you are a member of the “reality-based community”…

      1. If jobless claims have steadily gone down under Obama’s watch, as you claim, why has the unemployment rate steadily increased? It is now at 10%. It is projected to reach 11% next year rather than decreasing. The real unemployment rate, which factors in those who have pretty much given up and are no longer applying for unemployment, stands somewhere around 17%. Explain that in light of your fascinating assertion that jobless claims have declined.

      2. “The deficit would have been greater if Obama had left things the way they were under Bush.” Prove it. Explain how the “stimulus,” for example, has actually kept the deficit from being even greater. I’m eager to hear this.

      3. Give me some concrete examples of how international relations have improved under Obama. Has Iran given up its nuclear program? How about North Korea? Are Russia and China finally cooperating on sanctions against Iran? Are the Israelis and Palestinians any closer to a peace deal? How did Eastern Europeans feel about our abrupt abandonment of missile defense? Did bowing to the Chinese dictator make the Chinese any less angry about our skyrocketing deficit, which they are funding by buying American bonds? Please, enlighten me.

      You couldn’t be any “wronger” if you tried, Ian.

  3. Several of my recent posts address these very issues.

  4. “1. If jobless claims have steadily gone down under Obama’s watch, as you claim, why has the unemployment rate steadily increased?”

    Nate, you and Ian are talking about two different things. Ian is saying that new jobless claims have declined, while you’re talking about the percent of people unemployed. It is entirely possible for the unemployment rate to increase while the new jobless claims decline; that would me that the percent unemployed is still growing, but at a slower rate than before.

    What generally happens with any recession is that the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator; unemployment is one of the last things to improve when a recession ends. So it’s no surprise to me that we’ve hit double digit unemployment; I actually expected something like this to happen when I voted for Obama. I simply expected the recession to be even worse and longer if I voted for McCain (let alone if McCain had died in office and left Palin in charge); for all his length of experience in the Senate, McCain was ill prepared on economic issues specifically (having pretty much specialized in other issues).

    As for the deficit, short term deficits are actually appropriate economic policy during a recession. The problem is, politicians, both Democrat and Republican, tend (in different ways on the left and right) to have a weakness for long term deficits as well, since they all want to spend more than they’re willing to tax. But Republicans are just as bad that way as Democrats.


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