Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sarah Palin: The Return of the Renegade

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 8 17/09

Two words on Twitter by Sarah Palin and the President of the United States is featured on the op-ed pages of the Sunday New York Times in opposition.

It should have been a great week for Newt Gingrich. He was the one who said last week on national television that there should be questions about federal bureaucrats running this thing; there should be questions about something so heartbreaking as the death of a loved one being footnoted in an indecipherable bill hundreds of pages long, there should be questions about euthanasia. Gingrich is their idea man and this was his idea and press has been listening to his ideas and responding now for 20-some years. But this time he was passed over and ignored, because Sarah Palin, Citizen and Renegade, echoed these sentiments in a short, simple declarative sentence on Twitter.

One of the major networks began their coverage of the protests at the town halls with a commentary about Palin’s brief Twitter message, darkly suggesting that these demonstrations were un-American and were instigated by Palin. Then, seen through an airport window night before last, Fox News, which supports Palin and opposes the ObamaCare plan, presented the story with a bright picture of Palin at the upper left top with Obama in a modest scowl to the right and below.

In both cases, for and against, Palin was provided as the original force.

Now she apparently is. In an essay Friday titled, Palin Wins, James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal says that it is clear at the end of this week that Palin has won.

On Thursday the Senate Finance Committee dropped language from its healthcare reform package that Palin and others had suggested would eventually lead to mandated end-of-life counseling sessions for seniors.

Taranto writes: If you believe the media, Sarah Palin is a mediocre intellect, if even that, while President Obama is brilliant. So how did she manage to best him in this debate? Part of the explanation is that disdain for Palin reflects intellectual snobbery more than actual intellect. Still, Obama's critics, in contrast with Palin's, do not deny the president's intellectual aptitude. Intelligence, however, does not make one immune from hubris.

This week I’ve been seeing the world through airport glass and overheard snippets. The on-line press, taking a page from a Leni Riefenstahl propaganda classic and describing Bill Clinton descending from a plane “ . . .like an angel” to free two journalists. Hillary venting wrath at an unfortunate African student. The major networks heading up to Woodstock nostalgia and Obama’s vacation among the royals in Martha’s Vineyard. And in contrast there is Sarah Palin composed by every nuance and aside to be the new Emanuel Goldstein, the state’s official “Enemy of the People” in George Orwell’s 1984. Every state needs an official enemy. It tells you who you are not. An interesting turning as both the Clintons and the Woodstock crowd were it seemed for ages themselves Enemies of the People before they became institutionalized banalities.

Gingrich and Carly Fiorina and others seeking office should take note: If Sarah Palin goes to a baseball game with Rudy Giuliani it remains in the press for two weeks. When Sarah Palin talks, or does virtually anything, people watch and listen. They listen even to her silence, waiting beneath the window for an appearance.

Renegades have a “numinous” quality of the mind which haltingly seeks form. That is why they learn to paint or draw, make music or write. It is the same for an original leader in politics. This is where new eras start. There will not be a better way of insinuating new ideas into the discussion today than by letting them be carried first into the air by Palin. But they need to be followed up on by the eloquent and analytical; Gingrich, Fiorina, Rick Perry even Romney and McCain. Support, clarify, explain, organize and amplify, as Gingrich does this Sunday in the LA Times. They give form to the renegade. There is a symbiotic relationship between these two types and together they begin and advance history.

The world begins again with renegades. There is no longer any question in my mind that if a new political day is to go forward in our country it will start with Sarah Palin, Citizen and Renegade.