Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

That my child may have peace

Jerry Stratton, July 14, 2010

Secretary Sarah Palin

The Republican machine’s Palin fantasy. Yes, it includes the costume. I’m thinking Newt is the guy with the beak (Hawkman) and Mitt is the guy who can’t think of anything but running (Starman). And for extra credit, discuss Hawkman’s power touch.

“For every social force,” writes Elliot S. Maggin in Last Son of Krypton, “there is an equal and opposite social force to balance it… when the United States teetered on the brink of collapse, a socio-political genius named Lincoln appeared to steer the potentially disastrous forces in the direction of positive reform.” Maggin put this idea into the mouth of supervillain Lex Luthor, but while Luthor was arrogant, Maggin made it clear that Luthor was also correct.

This last weekend I attended a meetup for readers of the Conservatives4Palin blog. It was a blast. We capped the day with a dinner with Tammy Bruce, and after dinner she talked about why an independent ex-NOW officer supports Sarah Palin, comparing her with George Washington—her choice for most important person in American history.

Unlike Lex Luthor, Bruce doesn’t put it in scientific terms, but rather spiritual ones: God, or fate, responds to the needs of man with men of genius. In the American Revolution, when a young America was looking for a king, God sent us George Washington, a soldier with the military skills to outlast and outwit the greatest military might of the period, and a man with the moral fortitude to turn down a lifetime of political power. Washington’s example lasted until FDR, after which we had the presence of mind to write it into the constitution.

And when an America in the midst of a mid-life crisis began thinking, with the help of a strangely sycophantic media, that perhaps rulership by an elite isn’t a bad idea after all, God convinced John McCain to choose Alaska’s Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate—a successful politician, yet one who isn’t in politics simply for the sake of being in politics.

Bruce’s comparison to Washington is apt. While many politicians try to frame their resignations in terms of “best for the country”, it’s usually pretty obvious that it’s to avoid a scandal. George Washington’s refusal to seek a third term wasn’t like that; and neither was Sarah Palin’s resignation from Alaska’s governorship. As I wrote almost a year ago today in Truly principled politicians don’t split the baby:

While I was mulling over this article, Palin retweeted Thomas Paine that “if there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace”. That’s the opposite of what politicians today think; they’d rather push trouble off for others to deal with. The rule of the day is borrow now, and let the next generation pay for it. That’s the “sacrifice” we’re being asked to make: someone else’s future. Political sacrifices are for the voter, not for politicians.

Palin’s “child” in Thomas Paine’s words and in Solomon’s story is Alaska and Alaskan reform. Democratic and Republican partisans said they were willing to damage Alaska in order to get to Sarah Palin. Palin said she wasn’t willing to save her own career if it meant Alaska had to suffer.

Yes, leaving office before a single term is up reduces her chances of success in national politics. But at the same time that Palin reduced her own personal chance of success, she increased the possibility of lasting reform in Alaska. Even leaving office, she’s still an effective reformer.

Bruce understands the twin importance of aggression and humility necessary for a successful politician and a good public servant.

She also recognizes what the call for Palin to be Republican National Committee chair really means.

The RNC is there to help everybody else get elected. You become their election secretary. That’s what the girl is for. That should be dismissed immediately. Sarah Palin is not building this up to make sure that Mitt Romney gets his job.

Wistful Wonder Palin

“No, that’s not gonna happen.”

That’s what inspired the Wonder Woman riffs on this page.1

When a woman threatens the machine, the machine responds with a carrot and two sticks. The sticks are sexual attacks and attacks on intelligence. The attacks against Nikki Haley in South Carolina weren’t about policy; they were unsubstantiated attacks by her opponents, using themselves as witnesses and no other evidence, as if somehow just being part of the old boy machine meant they were more trustworthy. The carrot is an out-of-the-way job where they can retire, unattacked, in obscurity.

Nikki Haley’s going to win despite those attacks, and she succeeded with help from Sarah Palin. Palin’s already escaped one such carrot before running for governor; it’s unlikely she’ll accept another one.

All of these pasty white men wandering around, thinking they’re going to be it. — Tammy Bruce

Tammy Bruce is an amazing speaker. After hearing her at the meetup, I’m wondering if she can be convinced to run for office, say, against Dianne Feinstein in 2012.2

The idolatry of politics

One of the speakers at the meetup referenced Psalm 37,

    • Fret not thyself because of evildoers,
    • neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
    • For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
    • and wither as the green herb.
    • Cease from anger, and forsake wrath:
    • fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
    • For evildoers shall be cut off:
    • but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.
    • But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord:
    • he is their strength in the time of trouble.
    • And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them:
    • he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them,
    • because they trust in him.

I’m not personally very religious, except in unusual situations3, but my go-to bible quote is:

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. — Psalms 20:7

The most fascinating—and reassuring—worry discussed at the meetup was how to avoid the idolatry of the 2008 elections. Yes, there was a thrill when Palin called us around lunchtime, but the thrill was in the upper part of our bodies—the heart and the head—rather than a shiver down the lower parts. We support Palin for a shared vision of a uniquely American liberty and for the courage of her convictions, rather than for a well-creased suit and tight swimwear. We don’t look to her to lower the seas, heal the planet, and buy us a house; we don’t look for her to give us anything, but rather for the opportunity to work like hell to create something of our own. The promise is of blood, sweat, toil, and tears, rather than a weakly illusory peace in our time.

“If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”

More than anyone else I pay attention to, today’s journalists seem to want saviors. Chris Matthews said what he said about Obama because he was looking for an idol, and he wasn’t alone. No human can match those expectations. As Obama’s pedestal crumbles, some of those people will turn to someone else. I expect some of them to turn to Palin, and that’s going to be something to be wary of. Those who trust in the latest idol are forever looking for the next one. But those who remember core principles need not fear idolatry.

I leave the Atom and the Spectre’s secret identities up to you.

  1. Yes, Wonder Woman was the Justice Society’s secretary, and kept their books. See All-Star Comics 12.

  2. As a movie, it would have a nice frame: Bruce helped put Feinstein into office back in 1992.

  3. Take-offs, landings, and public speaking, none of which apply here.

  1. <- The Crossdressing Congressman
  2. No free shots ->