Wanting Sarah Palin To Succeed

There are a couple kind of “friends”: There are those who kiss your ass, but behind your back say nasty things. There are those who kiss your ass and are opinion-free cheer leading no-minds. There are those who say that you a re friends and you ask, “Who?” I would suggest, that in this world of “friending”, most of these people are not your friends.

This post is in relation to a piece I wrote for Pajamas Media titled: Why Is Sarah Palin Associating with the For-Profit Tea Party Nation?

There are a couple kind of “friends”: There are those who kiss your ass, but behind your back say nasty things. There are those who kiss your ass and are opinion-free cheer leading no-minds. There are those who say that you a re friends and you ask, “Who?” I would suggest, that in this world of “friending”, most of these people are not your friends.

A true friend, whose value is above rubies, is one who loves you and loves you enough to tell the truth. A true friend is the iron-sharpens-iron kind.

Now, in politics, finding a true friend is difficult, indeed, but the best politicians have the best friends. They trust them and are open and don’t worry about betrayal. They know, of course, that betrayal is always a possibility. People are human, after all. (Et tu, Brutus?) But they are not obsessed or hide in fear over it. And the best politicians bring around them the best, most trust-worthy advisers. The worst, surround themselves with yes-men.

I was thinking last night about President George W. Bush and his relationship with Karen Hughes. He was strengthened and fortified by her feedback. You could tell even by the pictures that they argued issues and talked through difficult situations. She seemed to be a wise and trusted adviser and friend. I thought his presidency was worse for her leaving. And I wonder how much he lost by not having her around. Who knows?

On Beck last night, Sarah Palin and Glenn talked about trusting people.:

Glenn wonders if “this is the woman who can lead us” and not lose her soul. He reads from his diary and says:

“I don’t know yet if she’s strong enough, if she’s well enough advised, or if she knows that she can no longer trust anyone.”

And then, Sarah says to Glenn, “That trust thing. You nailed it with that question. Trustworthy people surrounding us, leading us, we’ve got to be able to trust, but it’s very, very dangerous to trust people in this business of politics, Glenn.”

And that is definitely true–even liberal journalists see the problem with gossip journalism relying on disaffected insiders. The other day, I read a Politico article about the Clintons being “alone”; they have been abandoned by their inner circle:

While the low-key response to a brutal portrayal of Clinton in part reflected a decision to keep a prominent face of the Obama administration’s foreign policy above the fray, it was also a recognition of reality: The same senior aides who had leaked damaging gossip could hardly be expected to rebut it.

These people have violated the Clinton world’s final taboo: After savaging one another in the press for more than a year, the former aides finally turned on the principals.

Well, there will always be people in it for themselves…Scott McClellon comes to mind. And Steve Schmidt, too, for that matter. Both have revealed themselves to be untrustworthy people unworthy of respect. Their criticism seems born of personal gain not of sincere concern for the person they vilify.

And yet, in this nasty pit that is D.C. politics, a politician has to be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. If he or she lives with integrity, the chance of unseemly characterizations diminishes greatly. Still, even the most silly of sources will be given credibility (hello Levi Johnston) if it fulfills a political purpose. I get all this. This is a part of the national political scene, unfortunately.

However, a politician does need to trust people. He or she needs good advice and fair feedback. Otherwise, the politician is surrounded by boot-licking sycophants and is harmed by an environment of fear that pollutes judgment. (See Richard Nixon.)

Not only that, differing points of view must be sought. The first criticism should never be from an enemy. A friend should always bring it up the possible criticism first, so the person can decide the arguments ahead of time, if nothing else. I remember reading some fashion editor saying that a woman should have a magnifying mirror because no one should see her flaw before she sees it herself. That is, ruthless self-awareness is necessary.

And a true friend cares so much, he will share difficult news. Who wants to hear it from enemies?

Now, specifically regarding Sarah Palin, a cult-like following is NOT what the conservative movement needs. It will do to the conservative and Republican party what Barack Obama is currently doing to the Democratic party: destroying it from within.

If someone disliked something Barack Obama said, he was damned by Obama and his followers. Even if it was friendly advice, the commentator, reporter, etc. was, and probably still is, marginalized and ignored. Now, some of the press coverage of Sarah Palin has been so egregious and unfair, that I don’t believe she should reward those news outlets with ratings on the back of her fame. Fine. Still, there are some honest information brokers who want to report the truth. And the truth is not always going to be comfortable.

Erick Erickson talks about this problem today:

But there is a serious problem developing among some of Palin’s biggest fans.

Unfortunately, given the nature of some of the people who are going to read this, I have to stop here and say I’m a big Palin fan. I like her a lot. I’d gladly support her. I want her in federal office of some kind. And I think John McCain could have picked no finer person to be his running mate. Frankly, the results of 2008 might have been different had the positions been reversed.

Got that? Unfortunately this statement of support is not good enough for some of Palin’s most ardent supporters and I think that is harmful to Governor Palin and to having a real conversation about the GOP, conservatives, and where we head politically in general.

I understand that a great many of Palin’s supporters, myself included, have felt on the defensive for a while. The media genuinely hates this woman. The left is more revolted by Palin than they ever were by Bush.

I get that.

But I also get that there are Republicans who like – even love – Sarah Palin who think some of her handlers might not give her the best of advice or think she should or should not do one thing or another. And i’m finding, both from personal experience and the experience of friends, that when those points are brought up, the person raising the point is often inappropriately attacked as a Palin hater.

He goes on to say this:

It will be Governor Palin who is attacked by the press if my fears turn out to be true. I am concerned about her in this particular instance.

But that hasn’t stopped a number of shell shocked supporters still in their bunkers from firing both barrels because I suggested something Governor Palin is doing might need to be reconsidered.

His concerns, of course are well-founded. Already, posts like this and this are popping up. More are sure to come as the event draws near.

And no, I don’t care what the left-wing media says. I do care about the success of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement. I do care about Sarah Palin walking into a mess of a situation. I do care about the Tea Party movement being co-opted by a local megalomaniac and being sold as representative of the Tea Party movement in general. I do care about new activists being disenchanted by profiteering.

But that message will be lost because no one wants to hear concerns related to Sarah Palin’s actions. When her friends shut up about potential pitfalls, she’ll be more likely to be blind-sided.

So with this very long post, I give you a link to my article at Pajamas Media. It is already inspiring vitriol among Palin supporters. That’s too bad. I really like Sarah Palin and the whole of my writing about her has been very positive.

Blind adoration should be left, though, for God and Jesus. True friends of Sarah Palin speak the truth as they see it…no doubt, their perspective is human and flawed too. Who has perfect vision? But in a multitude of counselors there is safety.

In a multitude of cheerleaders, there is Barack Obama. I don’t think the conservative movement wants that.

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