Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why Sarah Palin Should Go All in to Win

When the chips are down, go all in. I’ll see your bet, Mr. Ziegler and I’ll raise you.

Unsubstantiated rumors are swirling that a Sarah Palin presidential run announcement is coming soon. It could be wishful thinking or it could be that she may be forced to show her hand now if what John Ziegler is claiming is true. He writes on The Daily Caller that “in spite of being approached by Sarah’s husband Todd only a month ago and specifically discussing the possibility, I won’t be working on any Palin presidential campaign.” After he interviewed her for Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted, he told her then “you can’t beat Obama in 2012. The media won’t let you. They won’t let him lose and the narrative about you is too negative to correct in three-and-a-half years.” There’s nothing new about Ziegler’s argument. We’ve heard this before and we’ve heard the converse arguments as to why she can win as well. There is only one way to prove which argument is right.

The electability arguments have been screamed across dinner tables, on twitter, in blogs and in media publications for the last two years. We can argue it until we’re blue in the face. The fact of the matter is no matter which side of the argument you are on, it is strictly an opinion.

If we decided everything based on opinion, we would be crowning the Miami Heat as NBA champions today. The 2008 Super Bowl could have been handed to the New England Patriots in much the same manner.  Left to the naysayers, the Soviet Union would have defeated the USA hockey team in 1980 and the Berlin Wall would still be up (since Reagan wasn’t electable, President George H.W. Bush would have never written the line into his speech).

There’s only one way to settle this question. Only a Palin run can answer this for sure. It’s why they run the primaries.

We can try to disagree agreeably as conservatives to the extent that while Palin supporters are adamant about her running, it’s not always necessary to rhetorically slit someone’s throat if they disagree (unless they’re some loony left wing writer or some Republican establishment type of course). There are legitimate arguments as to why she won’t or shouldn’t run, but there aren’t legitimate arguments as to why she can’t.

Ziegler is already quite aware of how Palin supporters will respond because he was one of them. He knows the online army of Palinistas with their blogs and websites respond with laser like precision when it comes to return fire. Toned and trained by nearly three years of taking incoming fire for Palin, her “ad hoc” army is a lean mean fighting machine capable of filleting even the most established writers at the slimmest sleight. Ziegler knows what he’s facing by publishing his article.

The Palin army is understandably conditioned to react to any Palin diss with a full frontal nuclear strike. One would expect them to rip Ziegler’s lungs out and throw his carcass on the decomposing mountainous heap of mainstream writers who have been skewered by the Palinista sword. Ziegler will hear from them, but he won't feel their full collective wrath since, for the most part, he is being ignored by both the media he once stood up against and now by the Palin camp.

No one begrudges the man his opinion. How many times have we not scratched the lottery ticket because we thought spending the dollar would be a waste of money or in Ziegler's case we've spent way too much money and we haven't won? Palin and her supporters are not unreasonable people. They understand people have different opinions about her chances to win. It would have been okay for Ziegler to give them his opinion. But to put it in writing on the Daily Caller is a definite burning of a bridge.

The best way to analyze his piece is to understand motive. It’s not about money (he turned down payment for the article). It’s not about hatred (he loves Sarah Palin). It’s not about any skeletons or new information that has surfaced that would make him change his mind about her (he still points out there’s nothing there that warrants the unfair attacks on her). So what is it about?

For Ziegler, this is about hurt. He’s hurt because Sarah Palin didn’t mention him in Going Rogue. He’s hurt because her people didn’t get back to him on faxes, voice mails and emails about important issues. He’s hurt because he has been “taking bullets” for her and he’s not being appreciated. It’s understandable that he could have had some souring issues with the way she and her staff interacted with him. But why harpoon her potential presidential campaign by going public with these complaints at a time when Frank Bailey’s book had been beaten back by a successful bus tour, an upcoming movie and a blow up in your face email wild goose chase on the part of the mainstream media?

If he’s looking for sympathy, he can find it from those of us who think he just turned down the biggest opportunity of his life. If there were any concerns about dysfunctional staff or people who were not looking out for Palin’s best interests, these concerns could have been better addressed from within a campaign than by a parting shot after he declined the offer.

If Ziegler loves Sarah Palin and he declined the offer because he doesn’t think she can beat Barack Obama, does that mean he isn’t confident in his own abilities to help her overcome that? Getting Sarah Palin into the White House is not about people quibbling over whether her staff is handling their emails properly, but rather an issue of getting as many people as possible to be the battering ram that helps Sarah Palin break through the gate into the once shining city so that we can restore and renew it.

Once one of the Palin army’s biggest guns, Ziegler has chosen to pack up his weapons and walk away from what will be one of the greatest contests in American electoral history because he’s hurt, feels unappreciated and frustrated that the Palin's won't believe him when he tells them they can't win. It's a shame because he was a great defender of her, and would have had a great future in the movement.

Whether Ziegler believes she can win or not should not be the deciding factor. It's hard to understand how he or anyone else can really believe that Sarah Palin, or any other Republican candidate for that matter, can’t beat Barack Obama with this economy. But it's their opinion, and unless she runs the issue can never be put to rest.
John Nolte at Big Government writes:
What Ziegler and those who agree with him need to understand is that the MSM doesn’t intend to let anyone beat Barack Obama. They intend to pull a “Palin” — to decimate and salt the earth behind — whoever threatens the re-election of Their Precious One. Barack Obama is a failed president. Period. If 2012 is what it should be — a referendum on the incumbent — he loses in a landslide. Therefore, the White House and their MSM allies intend to do everything they can to ensure 2012 is all about toxifying the GOP nominee — regardless of who it is — into someone who cannot be elected. Anyone who thinks the MSM will take it easier on a nominee not named Palin hasn’t been paying attention.

The bottom line is that whoever our candidate is, beating Obama is not the existential problem — our candidate must beat the media...
Ziegler loses his argument when he says “her just getting in the race greatly reduces the chances of an electable conservative, like Tim Pawlenty, getting enough traction to win the nomination.” With all due respect to Governor Pawlenty, why would he have any better of a chance going up against Obama’s media minions and the entrenched establishment than Sarah Palin would?

He loses his argument again in the paragraph immediately following the Pawlenty one.
Her supporters will tell you that such heresy is just what the media wants you to believe. That I am naively falling into their trap. That an energized base is all we need to win. In this case, no matter what the great Rush Limbaugh says, that is all absolute hogwash.
Ziegler is wrong again here. But who am I to say he’s wrong unless Sarah Palin runs? Who is Ziegler to say he’s right if she doesn't? This isn’t a hit to Palin’s candidacy. This is simply John Ziegler’s opinion.

Based on Ziegler’s argument, Ronald Reagan could never defeat Jimmy Carter. Yes there are differences in that Reagan never resigned his governorship – and under normal circumstances without the mitigating circumstances surrounding it I would cede Ziegler’s point – yet the outcome will be decided by the American people, not the media or Obama operatives.

It seems like John is packing up his weapons and leaving the Palin army quietly. It's sad to see him go. He's done some great work in the fight against the mainstream media, which is what this is really all about. If there's any sympathy here toward Ziegler, it's because he allowed his own personal feelings to stop him from positioning himself to be a hero in the movement.

William Jacobson writes:
His article is all about him, his feelings, and his imagined facts. There is little substance, in fact almost no substance, to many of the negative conclusions he reaches. Here is a good example, in one of the sure-to-be quoted passages from the article:
There’s also the fact that Sarah’s entire operation is increasingly managed like a CIA field office; that she’s adopted a bunker mentality; that she’s trusting the wrong people, some of whom I know are simply exploiting her.
Yet what actual evidence does Ziegler cite; what quotes from people are included; what substance is there in the article other than the fact that Ziegler himself is offended that his opinions that Palin should not run may not be resonating with Palin (in fact, that's not even clear).
This shouldn't be about whether or not Sarah Palin didn't return your phone call. It should be about what you want for the country. One should never walk away from a fight, even if it's a disagreement with one of your own. Sarah Palin's vision for the country is far beyond whether John Ziegler thinks she's electable or not.

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