Sunday, September 12, 2010

Steve Chapman Doesn't Know Much About Sarah Palin

Steve Chapman, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, wrote an article (also posted at Townhall and RCP) this weekend titled, "If Palin runs for president." After reading it, I have to wonder why Mr. Chapman felt qualified to write such an article. The piece is filled with nothing more than his distant, uninformed, condescending opinion. However, I gather 'professional' columnists are paid to do just that these days. It would help if these writers did some research before penning articles, but that is clearly not a requirement, especially if the target of your condescension is Governor Palin.

He starts his piece in an effort to build up Governor Palin, but only in certain areas and giving her snarky titles. He begins:

It turns out Sarah Palin left the governorship of Alaska for a better position. She's become king -- King Midas, to be exact. Everything she touches turns to gold.

Her memoir, "Going Rogue," was the best-selling hardcover nonfiction volume of 2009. She's got a TV gig with Fox News that reportedly pays $1 million a year. She commands $100,000 for a speaking appearance.

But it's not all about the money. Palin has also become the fairy godmother of the Republican Party. In the Aug. 31 primaries, all five candidates she tapped with her wand came away victorious -- including Joe Miller, who upset incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Those she passed over turned into pumpkins.

Referring to Governor Palin as both "King Midas" and a "fairy godmother" is nothing more than his attempt to simplify her role within the current political atmosphere. Giving her the attributes of characters from fairy tales, has no basis in reality. She simply "touches" best-selling books and constitutional conservative candidates running for office, and they 'turn to gold.' No credit is given to the hard work she, her staff, and her supporters put in to each accomplishment. He also doesn't give any credit to the winning candidates who she has lent her support too. No, just pixie dust and the 'Midas touch' provide Mr. Chapman his explanation for Governor Palin's success. His article continues (emphasis mine):

All that looks like the perfect prelude to something even bigger. After steadfastly refusing invitations for political gatherings in Iowa, site of the first presidential contest in 2012, she's going to Des Moines Sept. 17 for the Republican Party's annual Reagan Day dinner. To run for president, one local GOP official was quoted saying, "she needs to be here -- and she's doing that with a big, high-profile event."

If she enters the race, Palin will have the inside track. A recent Gallup poll found that among Republican voters, she's more popular than Abraham Lincoln, with a 76 percent favorable rating -- higher than any other potential GOP presidential candidate listed by Gallup. The nomination is starting to look like it's hers for the asking.

But appearances are deceiving. Palin would more likely be one of those outwardly formidable candidates whose campaigns peak on the day they announce. The qualities that have made her a media star threaten to make her a dismal candidate.

Mr. Chapman is operating under the presumption that Governor Palin is more like Barack Obama than who she actually is. She is not a "media star," although the press is certainly fixated on her. She is not an empty suit that can merely give a rousing speech, yet lacks substance on the issues. Quite the opposite in fact. While she can give a great speech, that is because her message (when received unfiltered) resonates with Americans. She is deeply patriotic, preaches constitutional standards, and believes that public service should be just that. She agrees with most Americans on most issues, and she has a record of reform no other political figure on the stage today can touch. These are not the characteristics of someone whose campaign (if she so chooses to have one) would become obscure on the second day. Americans, once they become familiar with the real Sarah Palin, past the nonsense Mr. Chapman's colleagues push, will get behind her. They will do so because of all the things Governor Palin stands for, all the things Mr. Chapman doesn't take into account. He goes on:

What is overlooked is that she would have big handicaps in a Republican presidential contest as well. Palin has made her name railing against Obama, congressional Democrats, mosque-builders, the news media and other conservative targets. In a GOP primary, those positions would make her stand out about like one Cheerio stands out from the others. So other considerations -- competence, experience, temperament, judgment, electability -- would dominate, not to her advantage.

Instead of making the case that she would be an improvement on Obama, she'd have to explain why she would be preferable to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty or former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, among other possible contenders.

It's one thing to Tweet your thoughts about Obama and Nancy Pelosi or endorse candidates on Facebook while hiding from skeptical reporters. It's another to match wits on issues with smart, well-informed, politically savvy conservative opponents who are determined to expose your shortcomings.

If Palin couldn't handle an interview with Katie Couric, how would she handle debates? Those come fast and furious in the primaries -- and both Romney and Huckabee can draw on their 2008 experience.

In that kind of setting, winks and one-liners won't take you far. Her opponents will ask her questions she would rather not answer, such as "Why were you for the Bridge to Nowhere until you were against it?" and "If you walked away from the governorship, how can we count on you not to quit the presidency?" They will also display a grasp of substance that Palin doesn't have and shows no interest in acquiring.

This last reality is a clue that those who want her to run will be disappointed. If she were serious about a White House bid, she would have spent the past two years making herself plausible as president. All Palin has done is make herself a major media phenomenon, as well as a wealthy woman.

Right now, she's a hot commodity that has soared in value and seems destined to get even hotter. But the same was once true of housing. Palin is another bubble, which a race for president would soon burst
There are so many regurgitated memes and false premises listed in that last part, it's hard to know where to begin.

The notion that Governor Palin couldn't compete with the current crop of possible 2012 GOP Presidential contenders is laughable. Especially after you analyze each of their records and then compare them with Governor Palin's record. Something I'm pretty sure Mr. Chapman has never done.

His assertion that she cannot "match wits" with "smart candidates" is just proof to me that Mr. Chapman was stupid enough to fall for the "Palin is stupid" meme. Sexist at its core, exasperated by the left-wing press, and repeated by a drugged up Hollywood, this meme is the one that will bite its believers in the butt. There is a golden rule in sports, war, and politics... "Never underestimate your opponent." They break this rule every time they repeat the lie.

He says "they will also display a grasp of substance that Palin doesn't have and shows no interest in acquiring" about her potential GOP male rivals. Mr. Chapman obviously doesn't spend much time on Facebook. Governor Palin has shown much more interest on the topics that concern all Americans than most of her poll taking fellow republicans. She has weighed in on almost every important issue, yet she doesn't sit there waiting to see which way the wind is blowing before she speaks her mind. She gives you her informed opinion, like it or not, at the given time she feels obligated to speak up. I implore Mr. Chapman to go to her Facebook page. Read the many statements and posted speeches to get a better understanding of who the real person is that you chose to demean in your article.

I could pick apart virtually every sentence Mr. Chapman wrote in those last few paragraphs. The bottom line however, is that this is entire article is nothing more than the uninformed opinion of one man. He is a victim of believing that the only way to run a campaign is through conventional avenues. He believed what the press told him about her intelligence, and he never informed himself about her actual record or opinions.

Governor Palin is not a conventional politician, and she has certainly never been a conventional leader. If she does run for President, I guarantee Mr. Chapman will be proven wrong in every aspect of this over publicized drivel.

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