Sarah Palin was in New Mexico a few days ago pushing her book out in Roswell a few days ago. (I have to admit, I find the title “Going Rogue” a bit odd, considering she’s not all that rogue in MY book…shaking off public office to run around the country seems pretty much in vogue…see John Edwards and even Barack Obama, who abandoned the Senate to run for President right quick…and, pols with higher aspirations all write books before their runs these days, don’t they?)
Anyhow, a writer for the Albuquerque Journal came up with a very interesting piece regarding Palin in Saturday’s paper (December 5, 2009). Although it’s behind the subscriber firewall (but try the link below, you might be able to access it) I do want to share some of this, because it really is a serious piece about Palin in that it tries to really figure out WHO she is.
Last year I was dazzled by Palin and didn’t enjoy seeing her trashed anymore than I liked seeing Hillary Clinton trashed. However, I’ve been off the Palin bandwagon for quite awhile now. While I admired her spunk, I always felt a bit uncomfortable with her politics. I really left the train when she quite her job as governor of Alaska. Frankly, that’s when I saw the “quite and run” thing kicking in, which leaves a sour taste my mouth these days. She doesn’t seem much different than Edwards or Obama on that score.
But this piece by Thomas J. Cole, entitled “The Constrained Vision, Palin-Style” is quite thought provoking. Cole didn’t attend the book signing Roswell, but he did buy the book and read it…and thought about it. As he opens his piece, ” I went in search of Sarah Palin this week.” (I’m guessing the “unleashed” Sarah Palin…)
Cole says he wanted to gain a deeper insight into Palin’s views and found it on page 385:
I wanted to know what informs her positions, the ideas that are the building blocks of her politics, the philosophies that would guide her in making the serious decisions required of these serious times.
I found what I was looking for on Page 385.
Palin wrote: “I do believe in a few timeless and unchanging truths, and chief among those is that man is fallen. This world is not perfect, and politicians will never make it so. This, above all, is what informs my pragmatic approach to politics.”
She then hitches her wagon to the “constrained” political vision as explained by economist and commentator Thomas Sowell in his book “A Conflict of Visions,” first published in 1987.
Politicians with the constrained vision believe that human nature is flawed, that war, poverty and crime, for example, are inevitable and that our flaws cannot be fixed.
Those politicians believe in building institutions that constrain the flaws of human nature and in leaving it to the public to express their interests in free markets.
On the other hand, as Sowell tells it, politicians with the “unconstrained” vision seek to explain our flaws and believe that institutions can cause them. They believe that government can decide what it is in the public’s interest.
“Commonsense Conservatives (that’s what Palin calls herself) deal with human nature as it is with its unavoidable weaknesses and its potential for goodness,” she wrote.
“We don’t trust utopian promises from politicians. The role of government is not to perfect us but to protect us — to protect our inalienable rights.”
MMM…so, we’re all “fallen.” This “constrained” viewpoint makes me shudder. “Constraining the flaws of human nature” makes me think of a lot harsh things…including the Republican Party, which is back to their “purity” testing again these days…Sounds pretty “perfecting” to me. The language, the word “fallen” makes my mind immediately wander into religious territory, a la Adam and Eve. Sort of give me the creeps, but maybe that’s just my own bias?
Cole then muses on how this sort of thinking would apply to current issues:
Let’s take the health care debate.
Politicians with the constrained vision believe that if Americans wanted more affordable health care, they would get it by expressing that interest in the marketplace.
Politicians with the unconstrained vision believe the public interest lies in reducing health care costs, having more Americans covered and not forcing people into bankruptcy because of medical bills.
On the issue of the economy, there would be no more Chrysler or General Motors under the constrained political vision. Through the marketplace, the public had decided it wasn’t in its interest to save the companies and their tens of thousands of jobs.
Politicians with the constrained vision don’t believe in addressing the abuses on Wall Street that led to our financial crisis or in stemming the tide of home foreclosures.
On the evening of Palin’s book signing in Roswell, President Obama addressed the nation on his plan for Afghanistan.
Palin wrote on her Facebook page that evening that she supported Obama’s action, although she wanted him to commit more troops.
Her position wasn’t surprising, given that politicians with the constrained vision believe making war is unavoidable and rational because that’s just what countries do.
This article is an interesting jumping off point from which to examine Palin’s views. For liberals who seem to have jumped on her bandwagon, it should give pause.
Beyond the folksy demeanor and “common sense” image, there ARE ideas. And these ideas must be scrutinized just like those of any politician. It’s a mixed bag, of course.
I probably agree with about 10% of the “constrained” views discussed in the above quote. But most of it…the blind faith to “the marketplace” (abuses and all) and the “war thing”–well, that just seems to be the same old Republican bit that I really can’t stomach.
So, “Going Rogue” sounds catchy, but it rings as false as “Hope and Change” to me…Lots of things to think about…
Filed under: Current Politics | Tagged: "A Conflict of Visions", "Commonsense Conservatives", "Going Rogue", Adam and Eve, Barack Obama, constrained vision politicians, flawed human nature, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, pragmatic approach to politics, Republican Party purity test, Sarah Palin, the Albuquerque Journal, Thomas J. Cole, Thomas Sowell | 23 Comments »