Sarah Palin’s Real Accomplishment

How did Barack Obama claim power in Chicago? Why, the old-fashioned way, of course! He used connections, ingratiated himself with power brokers, became part of the machine and was hand-picked for the seat. And then the machine helped make it happen, including by nefarious means. If nothing else, the Chicago mess demonstrates how remarkable Sarah Palin’s success really has been.

In every state of the union, a cobweb of power networks string together. Money, influence and elections are all tied. Oh, it’s not as horrible as it sounds. Networking happens in all businesses. We tend to trust friends of friends based on our friend’s judgment, etc. The only problem is that the circle can become insular, exclusionary, closed minded, paranoid and entitled. People start doing immoral and then illegal things to get and retain power.

This happens in every state. It happens within the national political parties. It can happen wherever two or more are gathered and form a group. In Alaska, Ted Stevens and a bunch of other guys controlled the state, the gas companies and the policy. There are these “machines” just about everywhere.

Sarah Palin managed to find a way around this system and speak right to the people. No wonder the powers that be are terrified of her. She is inspiring the same sort of hate Ronald Reagan endured and that ought to tell you something. From Front Page News:

After recently reading a remarkably unfair Newsweek hit on Sarah Palin, I thought of a piece in Time magazine in December 1986, titled “How Reagan Stays Out of Touch,” by reporter Richard Stengel–a product of a leak by one of the “pragmatists” in the Reagan White House. Stengel wrote this on the dawdling old fool in the Oval Office:

Reagan’s] briefing with his senior staff, which mainly concerns his daily schedule, lasts only about 30 minutes, and Reagan usually remains quiet, except for his trademark [bantering. It is followed by a briefing from his National Security Council staff that is usually even shorter. When National Security Council staffers prepare Reagan for a full-fledged meeting of the NSC, the president typically does not ask any questions about the topic at hand; instead he inquires, “What do I have to say?”….

Reagan’s reading is not heavy…Old friends and cronies have access to a special private White House post office box number and they can send him clippings that they think might strike his fancy. That box number is the source of many of Reagan’s familiar “factoids,” snippets clipped from obscure publications.

Reagan is not notably curious. His aides say he rarely calls them with a question and that he knows in only a vague way what they actually do. He does not sit down with his advisers to hammer out policy decisions. He is happiest when his aides form a consensus, something they try awfully hard to do….

[Reagan] can work only if he is supported by a competent and active staff. During his first term, Chief of Staff James Baker protected Reagan from his woollier notions and helped put many of his ideals into practice.

The article added that when a suffering, heroic James Baker tried to save the Reagan administration by reshuffling the Cabinet, the “typically detached Reagan look[ed] on like a bemused bystander.” The president was confused.

This story was a leak by a moderate Republican, a Reagan aide, trying to impress liberal journalists by embarrassing his president.

Conservatives nostalgic for Reagan have forgotten the problem their favorite president faced with leaks. Judge Bill Clark was brought into the White House in January 1982 in part to try to stem what Reagan called “a virtual hemorrhage of leaks,” which had become “a problem of major proportions,” particularly in foreign and defense policy.

Sarah Palin inspires the same sort of fear and loathing and will have to manage the shark-infested waters of the political hierarchy. The only thing: money talks and the woman can bring in money. Even the good old boys have to pay attention to that.

Sarah Palin’s rise in Alaska and now nationally is nothing short of remarkable. She is a woman who came to power through her ideas and effective communication and with all the power systems working against her.

Barack Obama, for all his talk of being a “new” politician, got his jobs the old-fashioned way. Sarah Palin has been a new politician. No spouse coattails. No press adulation. No machine power brokers. She got her job by hard work.

Cross-posted at

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