TO RUN FOR Prez, Drew at Ace of Spades HQ manages to get it right while simultaneously leaving me some daylight for a run up the middle.
Sure, all the advice Jonah Goldberg gives is sound, but it doesn’t touch on one reason for Ronaldo Magnus’ success: his intellectual attainment.
Beginning in his days as host of General Electric Theater and carrying through his post-White House years, Reagan wrote copiously, on all manner of subjects. He worked and refined his message. You don’t do that and not get good at it — regardless of the idiotic canards of the Left.
Reagan estimated he had visited 135 GE research and manufacturing facilities, and met over a quarter-million people. During that time he would also speak at other forums such as Rotary clubs and Moose lodges, presenting views on economic progress that in form and content were often similar to what he said in introductions, segues and closing comments on the show as a spokesman for GE.
Remember that THE Speech — the one that thrust Reagan into the vanguard of the conservative movement — was delivered in 1964 and Reagan didn’t ascend to the Presidency until 1981. A long time waiting in the wings. And, to some extent, I would argue he had more and greater influence on the American conservative movement in the years before his administration than during or after.
As Rush says, if we in the Right want to see our principles once again hold sway over America, then we need to espouse them, loudly and well, with full voice and no RINO cavils. Please stress that well. As delightfully refreshing as Sarah Palin is to her natural constituency, there is that about her speaking style which grates on the ear. The twin examples of Reagan and Buckley teach that, if you want people to respect your principles, you have to respect them yourself. And talking them down, as though the American people are somehow too dumb to appreciate ten-dollar words, complete sentences that parse, and proper grammar and syntax, does not, in my not-so-very-humble opinion, demonstrate that respect.
So I would echo what Goldberg is saying: Sarah, dear Sarah: get good at espousing your beliefs. Polish your delivery — not to make it slick like the glib prevaricators on the Left — but to make it clear and strong, like Reagan.
Update: Between the writing and publication of this post, Sarah Palin announced her resignation from the office of governor. I’m still digesting the news, but I have several quick reactions:
1) This is not the way pols usually handle the kind of low and dirty attacks Palin has endured from the Left. The leftists pressing the attacks probably expected some kind of a phyrric battle, in which they — as a pack of jackals — would eventually wear down and pull down the lioness governor. Instead, Palin appears to have given them the slip. I’m not entirely sure how shedding the power and influence of a gubernatorial office can aid in such a fight, but… well, we’ll see.
At this point, I’m betting on the lion. As I believe Winston Churchill said on the question of whether it’s better to be a live jackal or a dead lion, “I prefer to be a live lion.”
It occurs to me that this might prove to be a brilliant, game-changing tactic. After all, what’s the political scandal truism? “It’s not the sin, it’s the coverup that gets you.” In every case I can think of where a political figure was accused –rightly or falsely — of manifst sins against the body politic, and fought bitterly until the end, nobody won. The accused came out bloodied and vastly weaker. The accusers gained notoriety, but also something of a pariah-noid reputation, even among their own co-partisans.
So, now, here’s Palin, so beset by petty, ankle-biting, SLAPP-type tactics that she can only devote 20% of her attention to her office. I’m sure that she hasn’t side-stepped them all by this maneuver, but her opponents, if they pursue this, will appear petty, vindictive, and mean. And her private-citizen status certainly leaves her free to use tactics being a holder of public offers might bar her from using.
2) Although her stated reasons for her resignation could (and probably will) be cast by an evil mind as self-pitying, they also do not reflect well on the character of her opponents. Of course, said opponents can and probably will remain nameless and faceless — shadowy figures — unreported by the legacy partisan (scorn quotes) “mainstream” press. (To the extent that they are not themselves members of said press.) If they can be exposed to scorn, ridicule, and opprobrium, perhaps some of their effect can be blunted. While it may be unseemly for a governor to attack a private citizen accusing her of ethics violation, there is no such let on a private citizen. Additionally, having “hounded her from office,” the dirty tricksterss can be all too easily portrayed in the public mind as — as I say — mean, petty, and vindictive — which, of course, they are and have been all along.
If the press is unwilling to make such an exposure, you might well ask, how, then, is it to be made?
Well, here’s how — in blogs. On the Internet. With viral videos and vlogs. If there is enough grassroots support out there not only for a conservative candidate willing to espouse those principles in the Right and do so unashamedly and without reservation, but for those principles themselves, I suspect that the whole sordid mess can be thrown back in the faces of the leftist machinators. And, though they may not care themselves whether their slime comes back at them, having the public see them thus revealed in their true faces can only be good.
Cross-posted at Eternity Road.