Sarah Palin…”Constrained,” But Maybe Not How You Think…

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

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…

23 Responses

  1. It is true, I fear. That Palin is essentially “Obama in a dress.” Meaning that she could be a ruse for her party…. a sort of puppet.

    However, I do not believe she is an “empty suit” in the way that Mr. Obama is. I do believe she has some guiding principles. The vision that human beings are flawed… and that the world is far from perfect strikes me as…. well, necessary.

    I guess my belief in utopian dreams was shattered in 2008. And it continues to be so… in 2009.

    So much to think about.

    • Sure, we’re flawed…but it’s how it affects real people through policy that is the core issue!!!!

  2. Yes, SYD, there is so much to think about and I’m sure a lot of people will be thinking. After so many jumped on the Obama bandwagon without even knowing if this was really an American they were rallying around , it is only natural that they will want to be sure before to look before they leap this time around.

    At least we know where she was born, what she’s been doing with her life, etc. , and who she has been associating with these past years.

    As a disheartened long-time democrat, I’m willing to take a chance, and for now at least I’m with her all the way.

    As for her quitting her term as governor early, I think that for her this was a good move. At least she wasn’t forced out due to a scandal about an extra-marital affair.

    How often have some of the rest of us dropped an interest in something because of outside influences?
    Or if not dropped an interest, just refrained from pursueing that in which we were deeply interested because of the danger of antagonizing some segment of the society.

    I don’t consider that Sarah quit, she just re-tooled and refocused and felt that she could get her message out there unhampered without involving the state of Alaska.

    I don’t know who else will be running, but I’m sure she will be. I do not profess to agree with the Republican party and their usual choice of candidates nor am I in agreement with their beliefs. No longer do I buy into the Democratic party, its candidates or its beliefs. This Democratic party now in charge is an alien concept as far as I’m concerned and I want no part of it.

    For now I’ll keep an open mind but I see nothing wrong with Sarah Palin.

    • My problem with her quitting is that things were getting tough with the Alaska economy (oil revenues, etc. down) and she didn’t stick around to deal with the problems.

      To me, this is not a good sign…no track record at all about how she would act to fix state finances, unlike many governors who are doing their jobs…or trying to, facing budget cuts, etc.

      Her popularity was sinking as well…to me, it MAY have been smart politically, but doesn’t cut it with me in terms of her willingness to fight the really tough fights of governing. “Retooling” is what she’s doing for herself PERSONALLY, but it’s still QUITTING after 2 years in terms of doing the job she was elected to do.

      It sounds so familiar to me…and I see it as an opportunistic act, a la Obama.

      As for her “message”—there’s nothing special there. It is pure Republican. She’s pandered to the far right very well and she’s is exactly NOT what I like in terms of her philosophy! She’s using “style” to put lipstick on a pig. Frankly, if she’s doing a cover-up of the real stuff behind her, then she’s just as much of a liar as Obama! She can go “barracuda” somewhere else, as far as I’m concerned. I’m not impressed by her politics that much to hook up on her bandwagon! Again, so familiar….

      • IA, I may be dense but I can’t see any cover-up in Sarah Palin’s life at all. It seems to me that she has been open and transparent with every aspect of her life. The good and the bad. That is one of the reasons I admire her. She has opened up her private life much more than many other candidates have done.

        As for her popularity dwindling, I think it has just been the opposite. And as for leaving Alaska in a tough spot I suppose every state is in a tough spot right now, as are most American Citizens, but I wasn’t aware that Alaska’s predicament was such that it made any difference if she stayed on or went, since the new guy was on the same page with her.

        I think your opinion just surprised me because I thought it wasn’t long ago that you had the same opinion of her as I do.

        As for the newspaper article, I sure don’t put much store by that. Anything to sell newspapers seems to be the motive these days, and he’s never met her, didn’t go to the book signing (like the thousands of others who did). He just used his collumn to dis her without ever having met her.

        She really IS getting the Joan of Arc treatment isn’t she? I think this was discussed in the comments section on one of your other posts.

        I really enjoy your posts as a whole, IA, and value your opinion, but on this one we differ completely. But I will continue reading because I respect what you have to say.

    • I tend to agree with you lee,

      And further… I’ll say… that as a Family Scientist, Mother/Baby nurse, and Lactation Consultant … as sure as hell would like to see some babies in boardrooms. And in the White House.

      Cuz when we see more babies in boardrooms… we will also see more mommies as CEOs.

      And, ya know what? Sarah Palin is about the bravest mommy I know. I actually saw a photo of her nursing Trig while signing legislation in Alaska! Now there’s a real American hero, as far as I am concerned.

      And quite frankly…. I don’t have to agree with every word she utters to see she is one of us. One of the hundreds of thousands of mommies who get up every day and make hard decisions about whether to stay home with the kids or go to work…. weighing the trade offs of each.

      • How is Nancy Pelosi working for you lately?? Mother of 5, I think…

        Really, isn’t it all about power? Much discussion around how women who manage to get in “the club” become like the male members of the club, not the other way around.

        I’ve written about a few women leaders in the world who haven’t been so hot. at the top….

  3. I enjoy reading this blog and put it on blogsurf list. This post was interesting, it shows how much public discourse there is to follow. Now, I have not read the Albuquerqu article, but have read both Sowell and Palin. The article seems to be a faint echo of my post last month on Sarah’s book excerpt – “I am an Independent woman”

    Interesting, no?

  4. Sorry, I meant column.

    • What’s wrong with Palin is that she is a Republican. She is not an independent, which I had hoped for when she quit! If you see nothing wrong with most of her vision, then you are becoming a Republican, it seems to me! I didn’t vote for Obama, but seeing what will happen when Republicans return to complete the hatchet job on us, means I probably won’t vote…I can’t condone Republicans with THEIR track record! If Palin ultimately garners the support of the GOP leaders, then what does that mean??? It means she’s just not what you may have thought she is!

      By “coverup”I mean that she has a glossy image for public consumption….but basically is a true conservative Republican under that folksy “common sense.”

      She’s just a POL….she is no different from any of them! And, her popularity in Alaska WAS dropping before she quit!!!

      My opinion has evolved over several posts, so it’s taken awhile to completely leave the Palin fold. But it’s complete now. Particularly when you see her “vision” on page 385. It sounds like the same old same old to me, in a new package?

      As for her private life–much of it could have stayed private…it’s all part of the new way to package and sell a candidate…there’s a certain new “celebrity” type of politician that seems to be our fate.

      Not buying it any more…I am not in the mood for another “pied-piper” candidate. Look what we’re stuck with in the White House now!!

      Forget the “newspapers” if you like…she now has a track record of repeating the same path of typical “aspirants.” Nothing different there!

      Ultimately, she will disappoint many people as Obama has done.

      PS…I hate shooting wolves from planes, don’t you? Sounds like the Cheney way of “hunting”…

      • “What’s wrong with Palin is that she is a Republican.”

        And what’s wrong with Obama is that he’s a Republican with a (D) after his name. He made great headway in his run for the nomination with his “Just Words?” shtick. And no one ever bothered to respond with “Talk is Cheap” and “Actions Speak Louder than Words”. The difference between Palin and Obama is that Palin is honest about who she is and what she believes. Obama says one thing and does another.

        So who do you want to deal with? Someone with whom you can have an honest disagreement? Or a chameleon who changes color depending upon who he’s talking to at the moment?

        Me? I’d prefer “none of the above”. Presently, I’m in favor of working outside the establishment party system to create a flood tide of “t’row da bums out” energy. Only when we little people become the biggest, most cohesive and forceful interest group to be reckoned with will anything change.

  5. Ho-hum just another Palin bashing.

    She’s a Republican? Is that news? She believes in the “fallen” as do many/most Christians?

    How awful! With all the idiots in office why the angst over Sarah Palin?

    And Obama in a dress? Not even close.

    • I don’t think this is “just another Palin bashing thread.” I think it is a PUMA thread. And as usual, PUMAs are split on the Palin dichotomy.

      The important thing is that we are still listening to one another here. I think that is good. Because even if we split on Palin 2012…. we still need to stick together and NOT vote for Obama the caucus thief and pretendent.

      I have no angst over Palin. I like her. And I plan to vote for her if I ever, again, get the chance.

      But…. one must admit that there are many more qualified persons we could elect to the highest office in the land. Alas, we won’t. Because the MSM has turned the Presidency into “American Idol.” And as such… we need a powerful personality. Like Obama’s or Palin’s … to sway a new generation of voters.

      All I am saying is… given the choice between Sarah and Barack … I’ll take the “powerful personality in a skirt.” Thanks very much. And, if the GOP is intelligent enough to get that… well, they will have my vote on just one more ticket. (I supported MacPalin in 2008 after Obama stoie the primary from Hillary. First time ever to vote GOP.)


      • I hope before you vote for her, then, that you really understand what’s behind her!! Which is what this article begins to discuss and it’s important to really know! We’ve already seen the Obama myth shoved at us…

        Her track record in higher office–governor for 2 years, was cut short….so, what the hell do we really know about how she would handle the hard stuff? LIttle tours around a few countries are like what Obama did in the summer before the election.

        Time will tell….but I don’t want to see her become a continuation of “the plan” that has been playing out for years, that’s for sure. And if the GOP embrace her, then what does that mean?

        That’s the real question in all this, not whether she’s a mommy or not. Heck, so what, we had the Obama is the black guy….how’s that working out?

        It’s the damned policies and how these people fit in in “the plan” that concerns me!!!

      • Just out of curiosity GRL, who is it you think Palin will be running against? You make it sound like there might be a choice other than Obama, and I know you’re not naive enough to expect that on the Democratic ticket. Do you expect a viable 3rd party candidate? Now that would be exciting!

    • Bashing Palin? If I wanted to do that I would call her an airhead or a bimbo… she is neither. She is a savvy politician who needs to be scrutinized like any other!! I may change my views AGAIN as things as unfold, but so far, I’m beginning to see the usual playbook…

      If I follow her blindly, then that makes ME a Palin-BOT,,,,which I will never do (again)!!!!

  6. GG–she’ll run against Obama, I guess. Although Monica Crowley a few weeks ago commented how Obama had said he would be OK with being a one-termer (?)….Don’t recall that during the campaign, but she said it. She also says Hillary will quit over policy and run, but we’ve already figured that was unlikely.

    I can’t even think of anyone who would be a viable 3rd party candidate at this point!! Our system won’t allow for such things!

    Funny thing is, I was hoping that Palin would become an indie…but, I just read an AP story…she’s doing the conservative base thing, stealing thunder from Huckabee who has been having some old pardon come back to haunt him…people with Reagan buttons showing up. John McLaughlin quoted as saying that through his contacts that some Republicans think she’s too conservative and that mayl blow up on them, since she’s now attracting that conservative base and some indies….but that may change as they figure out where she’s coming from (as per above post).

    If I have to I’ll sit out the Presidential vote and concentrate on the local stuff. I won’t vote for Obama, that’s for sure! Nor Palin if she’s doing that appeal to the conservative base then suddenly “drifts” to appearing as a moderate. I have nightmares about that “compassionate conservative” crap doled out by Bush…it was just CRAP! His “humble” foreign policy, etc. etc.

    What’s that song…won’t be fooled again??? Obama didn’t fool me and I’m not going to be fooled by the Palin thing if it plays out the way it seems to be playing out so far…

    • Palin 2012.

      Hillary 2016.

      That is our only hope at seeing a strong, viable, progressive in the White House in the near future. Or maybe even in my lifetime, considering the backsliding we are now experiencing in sooo many of our causes.


      • Oops….look….Mark Penn, Hillary’s pollster got stimulus money…
        Hillary must have worked that deal after the primaries.

        UGH, the whole game is turning me off!!

      • My theory is that we will not get a Dem Presidential candidate UNTIL the GOP runs a woman. That is just my gut reaction to the ingrained misogyny in the Dem party.

        If I had a choice between 0bowma and Palin — I would have to choose Palin — based on the record of both. Frankly I can’t tell the difference between the two parties (which is why I’m an Independent).

        I’m in the process of reading Palin’s book — and it is far more honest than 0bowma’s fiction.

        Which reminds me the BBC has an article about how there is now software which puts an author’s “finger print” on books. Which means that at some point someone will compare 0bowman’s two books with something that is absolutely proven to be written by HIM. Too bad this didn’t happen a couple of years ago.

        After getting halfway through Palin’s book — (and yes some of her views are not what I want to read) — I’d say that this book is certainly written by Palin. There are tiny bits here and there that have been edited or that she returned to in order to clarify a point or add more details — there’s a bump in the narrative.

        I don’t particularly like the devotion to the Zombie Jewish Jesus (TC & Reclusive Leftist) and her repeated opinion about abortion tossed in at odd places (to please her base no doubt). But I do know that many with strong religious mind sets — also believe in a strict separation of church and state. She may be able to pull that bit off.

        Right now I don’t see anyone stepping forward in the Dem party to challenge the ONE — he’s got the money and his money bag supporters will be more than willing to toss another billion to get him returned to the white house.

        The only other option with the strength to go up against the ONE — happens to be Palin. And I don’t think she is a puppet for anyone — that just isn’t part of her character — that is why her book is called, “Going Rogue”. A large chunk of my family is like Sarah Palin — my father’s side comes from Idaho — his mother and my dad were born in Idaho. Basically honest, hard working people — who speak from their heart.

        As for Palin quitting the Governorship — after seeing the way people hounded Geraldine Ferraro (and they still do) and the crap that Palin had to put up with to the point that she could no longer do her job — she was wise to quit. Her replacement is doing just fine — carrying out the policies and work Palin started. (This according to folks up in Alaska who keep an eye on Alaska politics.)

        A President Palin would shake the hell out of the Dem party — and only THEN will they consider women in true leadership roles — and only then will they allow a women to run for the office of Prez. The GOP just might be smart enough to run the one person who can take on Mr. EGO.

        My first choice would be HRC — however — it will be a cold day in hell when the Dems would allow her to have the nomination — even if she has the MOST votes ever in a Primary.

        Who knows?? Three years is a hell of a long time with an incompetent narcissistic War Prez in the White House.

  7. The difference between Sarah Palin and Barack Obama is that Palin put Alaska first by making sure it was in good hands upon her departure, and by removing herself as a target of frivolous and vindictive lawsuits that cost the State money under Alaska’s ethics rules. She freed herself up to fight back, set the record straight, strengthen her finances, and engage with the rest of us in the battle to regain the country on behalf of all Americans (excluding the far left).

    Barack Obama, on the other hand, used his U.S. Senate position to rape the coffers of Illinois while accomplishing nothing and campaigning for more than a year off the peoples’ dime. This was in spite of having promised the citizens there that he would complete a national-level term and not run for POTUS right away. Coincidentally, he used every position he previously held in the same manner – as a stepping stone to the next one – none of which was a real job. Typically, he gained office by finding ways to knock his opponents off the ticket before any real campaigning ever took place, thus always remaining untested in any significant forum or by the public at large.

    In contrast, Sarah Palin held a variety of municipal and government positions throughout her tenure in public service, all of which were earned through honest work or by virtue of vigorous campaigning. Each of her positions built upon and was a natural progression from the prior work.

    It is interesting that so few people, especially in politics and the press, seem to be able to take in her explanation, which so many Palin admirers have accepted for its authentic simplicity: Sarah Palin left her position as Governor of Alaska, a job she loved, against her better wishes because to stay was costing the State money and hampering her ability to address the people’s business. Yet it is the complete opposite to the Obama scenario regarding his approach to work, which has always been self-serving, and which too few had noticed by the time he was elected.

    Sarah Palin continues to handle herself adroitly and with grace through the ongoing attacks and criticism, while Obama’s actions are marked by the subterfuge one would expect based on his record.

  8. Yes I’ve seen this kind of thinking. Just enough curiosity about the new concept to heap another layer of derision where it’s already been flung many times before. Mind already made up.

    Yes mankind is imperfect, shall always be so, and maybe, just maybe, as we construct one failed utopia after another, when the whole process starts to erode our freedoms we should stop doing it. Pretty scary stuff, eh?

    Here‘s what I would have recommended you read before hitting “publish” on the above. Both constrained and unconstrained have been tried before. People recoil from the unconstrained vision when they read history and see how these things turn out. People recoil from the constrained vision…well, no offense intended, but they do it while they still don’t understand the facts.

    Once you inspect human behavior, both in history and with the more mundane events we all see around ourselves, you find the most regrettable and damaging decisions made are the ones that are supposed to prove how wonderful such-and-such a guy is. Especially the laws that make the people that guy governs, somehow better…progressive taxes and cushy welfare programs that are supposed to make us generous. Laws don’t make people generous. This has been tried many times before and hasn’t worked yet. Chalk that one up for the constrained vision.

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