The Palin Manifesto
I'm sorry to ruin your weekend, but I should mention that Sarah Palin, undeniably the greatest and most amazing living American, has posted "An Open Letter to Republican Freshmen Members of Congress" at Facebook, her usual outlet (which, like Fox News, her other haunt, does not allow for disagreement or dissent) -- because, of course, her not-even-one term as governor of Alaska and ability to regurgitate right-wing talking points without so much as having to blink make her an expert guide not just to Capitol Hill but to American politics generally. Here's a taste:
Your victory was hard fought, and the success belongs entirely to you and the staff and volunteers who spent countless hours working for this chance to put government back on the side of the people. Now you will come to Washington to serve your nation and leave your mark on history by reining in government spending, preserving our freedoms at home, and restoring America's leadership abroad. Some of you have asked for my thoughts on how best to proceed in the weeks and months ahead and how best to advance an agenda that can move our country forward. I have a simple answer: stick to the principles that propelled your campaigns. When you take your oath to support and defend our Constitution and to faithfully discharge the duties of your office, remember that present and future generations of "We the People" are counting on you to stand by that oath. Never forget the people who sent you to Washington. Never forget the trust they placed in you to do the right thing.
I'll pause while you rinse and spit -- and repeat.
I've already given the whole thing a read, but to spare you the misery our friend BooMan has helpfully listed Palin's priorities -- all 17 of them:
So, this is what Palinism stands for. It does not appear to deviate in any way from the policies of George W. Bush. Excepting earmark reform, increased hostility toward Latinos, and an even more Likudnik-friendly position towards Israel, nothing in Palin's proposals would change how the country was run between 2001 and 2009.
Yes, Palinism is (far) worse than Bushism. What's amusing, though, in a not-so-very-funny sort of way, is that Palin is calling for "reining in government spending, preserving our freedoms at home, and restoring America's leadership abroad," Palin is (inadvertently and unintentionally) drawing attention to the the fact that Bush exploded government spending, trampled all over freedom at home, and destroyed America's leadership, credibility, and moral standing abroad.
She asserts that "so much damage has been done in the last two years," blaming Obama for anything and everything, but it is Obama who has sought to get the budget under control (including through health-care reform), revive Americans' constitutional rights at home, and restore America's image and standing around the world. To the extent that Obama hasn't done enough on civil liberties (for example, by maintaining elements of the Bush-Cheney national security state and by refusing to move forward on gay rights), he has actually found himself criticized vehemently from the left for being too much like Bush -- and shouldn't Palin like that?
As for her interpretation of the election results, Palin is just plain wrong. Republicans' success owed primarily to factors other than Republicans themselves -- to the lousy economy, to Democrats having to defend seats in predominantly conservative districts (won in the '06 and '08 "wave" elections), to Democrats failing to present a compelling case to voters (largely because they ran away from themselves and their achievements), to rabid anti-incumbent sentiment largely connected to the state of the economy, etc. It is a gross mistake to read too much other than that into the results, but of course Palin, basking in unwarranted triumphalism, does just that.
Simply, the election did not provide Republicans -- Palin's Tea Party Republicans, that is -- with a mandate to govern, or to impose their (highly unpopular) right-wing ideology on the American people, let alone to "leave [their] mark on history." The American people don't trust the Republicans and certainly didn't put their trust in them "to do the right thing." And the election certainly was not a victory for Palin's opportunistic combination of neoconservatism on foreign policy, theocratism on social policy, and libertarianism on economic policy -- even if this internally inconsistent insanity is currently what is holding the GOP together.