I live by a rigid, inflexible rule. Whenever liberals attack a conservative politician as a dunce--amiable or stupid--I pay attention. I mark that conservative politician as a rising star, perhaps even called to greatness.
So I am naturally drawn, as many others have been, to Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK). Given how vigorously liberals have demonized and stigmatized her, I suspect that she is truly marked out for great deeds.
Here's the latest Palin moment. The former governor has urged the president to fire Rahm Emanuel for his recent comment about liberals being "eff-ing retarded." Writes Palin: "Are You Capable of Decency, Rahm Emanuel?"
Now, let's see, that sounds familiar. Rewind back to the Fifties and the Army-McCarthy hearings. Counsel Joseph Welch to Senator Joseph McCarthy:
Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?
Golly. Who thought that Palin was a student of history? Does she even know how to read?
Notice the real brilliance here. Palin is not going after Emanuel for dissing a Republican. That's the usual political shtick. But Palin is doing something different. She is complaining because Emanuel is acting disrespectfully towards people in his own party.
How smart is that? Do you think that President Obama could think of such a brilliant move, intelligent as he is?
Sarah Palin is moving deftly into the electorate's sweet spot. She is not just talking about lowering the squabbling in Washington, she is doing something about it. She is establishing a record as a true "post-partisan," the darling of the moderates and independents who, we are told, just hate the bickering and back-biting of day-to-day politics.
Now. If you were an advisor to an up-and-coming politician, would you be smart enough to think of that? To criticize a Rahm Emanuel for trashing people in his own party?
There's no doubt that Sarah Palin was unprepared for the national stage back in the fall of 2008. But let us understand what being "unprepared" really means. It means not yet having a carousel in your head full of focus-group and poll-tested sound bites on national issues. Not yet having a quick retort to put Katie Couric in her place.
Sarah Palin may not be prepared as a national politician. Not yet. But she is a skilled politician who has worked her way up in electoral politics from city councilwoman to governor. That means something, even if her experience is in Alaska. Politics is still politics. An old hand like Pat Buchanan has written: "Of Sarah Palin it can be said. The lady knows how to frame an issue."
Think of this. Is there any skill more important for a poltician in electoral politics than framing an issue?