Actually, Palin’s endorsement of McCain really does stink
One of my fellow Green Room contributors, CK MacLeod, stirred the pot with his recent post on the topic. Now, personally, I think comments should be responded to with more comments, and not with the bullhorn of the Green Room posting privilege. However, Allahpundit, with his beta wisdom, suggested a response in kind.
My first qualm was with the designation of critics of McCain, and of this move in particular, as “McCain haters”. Apart from being a tactic usually adopted by the left to demonize their critics, it also sounds eerily familiar to the RINO-in-question’s daughter, Meghan, who created the “NO H8″ campaign. It’s a cheap shot, meant to portray one’s opponent as operating on bigotry. Disliking the guy for his statements, penned legislation, policy positions, and campaign decisions does not amount to hate. Unless, of course, you’re talking about Barack Obama(haters!).
Then we get to the meat of the issue: why did Palin endorse McCain? We’ve all got various ideas, but CK’s precis is that she simply supports him.
Gov Palin agrees with Senator McCain close to 100% on foreign policy. She respects and likes him personally. She doesn’t blame him for the actions of some of his operatives during and after Campaign ‘08, and never believed it was his responsibility to play the roll of political Dad and discipline the other kids for her. She was and is quite capable of defending herself and charting her own course, and would have found it condescending and presumptuous for him to play protector.
So he’s a hawk. Good. So is Joe Lieberman, one of his best pals. Will Palin endorse him on that basis alone? Lieberman is a liberal in almost all other ways. Additionally, foreign policy is but one of many factors to consider. I’d argue that it’s far more important to focus on that aspect of a candidate’s philosophy when they’re running for president, not for Congress. If she likes him personally, there’s really nothing to argue. Whether she blames him for the muzzling she was put under in October of ‘08, the post-campaign treatment, or not, is her business.
The key here is that Sarah Palin has been swelling her political influence at an accelerated rate in the last year, almost exclusively by weighing in on domestic issues. CK eventually gets to her compatibility with McCain’s positions:
She has no problem with the main thrust of his domestic views or his overall approach to politics. If she cares much about immigration politics – I’ve seen little evidence of it, though it’s clearly still a big deal to many grassroots conservatives – she’s happy with McCain’s post-”Shamnesty” positioning. I suspect that she cares enough about the Republican Party’s long-term prospects to want to see the issue handled soberly and positively.
Though post-’08 she’s been driven into a conservative cul-de-sac – in part by political circumstances in the US of A ca. 2010, in part by a learning experience that has included attacks on her from the left and from Brooks-Frum moderate/elitist conservatives – her political profile and her actual political conduct when in office, was moderate, bi- and non-partisan, and altogether maverick-y.
The importance of her positions is rather considerable, as people throughout the blogosphere have been casting Palin as the new face of conservatism; a latter day Reagan. If this is the case, let’s do a little comparison.
First up, the one that comes to everyone’s mind: amnesty. McCain authored the bill himself, with none other than Ted Kennedy. What’s Palin’s view on illegal aliens? Well, she’s stated she’s not for “total amnesty“. That’s sufficiently vague. Would it matter more to a Senator from a border state? Yes, but as 2007 proved, it matters to the majority of the conservative movement as well. Boiling it down to “I support his position on immigration” is not comforting, either. Tough call on that one. Perhaps they do agree.
How about global warming? Well, she was one of the first out of the gates after ClimateGate struck. In the same vein, she’s been one of the most outspoken proponents for domestic drilling, including in the ANWR area. McCain, on the other hand? He not only is against drilling in ANWR, but has long partook of the AGW kool-aid. Cap and Trade is another area where McCain and Obama get along swimmingly. Palin begs to disagree.
What about a Hot Air favorite: gay marriage? Well, we’re well aware of the McCain camp’s position, considering Meggie Mac’s approach. Sarah, once again, parts ways on the topic. Evolution? Again, they disagree. Some may say it’s a minor issue, but it’s seemed important to Sarah Palin.
Now, I’m not well known as a friend of birtherism. Hence, JD Hayworth’s membership in that group certainly gives me pause. However, at the same time, he’s anti-amnesty. He’s pro-drilling in ANWR. He doesn’t buy global warming, nor does he like the idea of cap and trade. Gay marriage? Uhhh…yeah. This is by no means an attempt to express support for Hayworth, but on the issues, he does have a more conservative scorecard than McCain.
Overall, my point is this: is Sarah Palin a strong conservative? If she is, why is she endorsing McCain? They disagree on a number of relevant domestic issues. She and Hayworth share more common views. If it’s personal, so be it. If Sarah Palin is a moderate, then very well. Let’s get that out into the open, and stop presenting her as a conservative icon, because there are few left who would consider McCain as such. Some have suggested that she is just being loyal to the man who chose her as his running mate for the presidency. Ultimately, the argument that Sarah Palin supports McCain because of his politics is frail. They’re at odds all over the place. It’s not “hatred” to point this out. Deal with it.