Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Whose party is it, anyway?

Driving back from Pennsylvania tonight, I kept thinking about those thousands of people I saw standing in line -- and I mean, they stood in line for hours -- waiting to see Sarah Palin at Shippensburg University.

Buddy, it was cold. Maybe 40 degrees, cloudy skies and a stiff wind. I walked the length of that line. It stretched on and on, around the corner, and on and on some more. It was amazing. The doors opened more than two hours before the rally, and still they couldn't get everybody through the metal detectors in time.

After the rally was over, the media handler grabbed a bunch of reporters and took us out the back door to another building. I was thinking "press conference," but I was wrong. Instead, we found ourselves in the performing arts center, where about 500 people were waiting -- people who hadn't made it through the line in time to get into the rally. Sarah Palin and her husband Todd came out on stage. Sarah gave a little speech, and then she and Todd shook hands and signed autographs for 15 minutes. It was something they didn't have to do, but they did it for the people who had stood in line in the cold.

Driving home, I thought about the people who stood in that long line and asked myself, "Who were those people?"

The Republican Party, that's who. And they love Sarah Palin. So exactly who the hell is Christopher Buckley? Who the hell is Ken Adelman? Who the hell is Kathleen Parker?

Screw them. It's not their party. The party belongs to the people. And the people love Sarah Palin. So I wrote a post at the American Spectator blog:
If somehow John McCain pulls off a miracle Nov. 4, it will be in no small measure due to the excitement that Palin has brought to the ticket. Let the cynics attend a Palin event and try to imagine those crowds turning out for, inter alia, Tim Pawlenty.
And if Obama wins on Nov. 4, Palin immediately becomes the GOP front-runner for 2012. She'll be the No. 1 Republican fundraiser no matter what happens, and she'll be the star attraction at state-party events.
John McCain might have made dozens of mistakes in this campaign, but picking Sarah Palin was not one of them. If you don't like it, just go to a Palin rally and tell that to the people -- they'll tell you where to go from there.
Anyway, that got linked at Instapundit and Hot Air, and I might as well link it, too, because it's right. There is no substitute in politics for popularity, and if Palin's poll numbers were hurt by all the negative media, so what? The Republican grassroots are crazy about her and four years from now, all that negativity will be a distant memory.

I love Bobby Jindal, but Sarah's been through the fire. She took some of the dirtiest smears the MSM could lay on her and came out smiling. The people are with her. It's her party, and anybody who thinks they're going to take it away from her has got another think coming.

UPDATE: This internecine sniping -- the who's leaking what to whom stuff -- is typical of the professional political operative class. Most of it is coming from third- and fourth-echelon people, who are trying to (a) curry favor with people in the upper echelons, (b) exact some sort of petty vengeance on a perceived rival, and/or (c) make sure they don't get blamed for anything. The organizational dynamics of the official GOP are so catastrophically poisonous, it's a miracle they ever win anything.

Daniel Larison and James Poulos give me down-in-the-country, and I won't complain. I'm just trying to warn you guys: The choices in 2012 are likely to come down to Jeb Bush vs. Please God Not Jeb Bush. I'm thinking Palin is the strongest PGNJB candidate available.

UPDATE II: To show you what I'm talking about with the line to see Palin, here is a photo taken from the head of the line:

You see that building at the upper left? I went around on the other side of that building, turned on my video camera, and started walking toward the end of the line:

Hear the noise that wind made? That was a cold, cold wind, my friend. And I didn't even make it all the way to the end of the line. This was about 4 p.m. -- the doors opened at 2:15, which means that they'd already been admitting people for nearly 2 hours and the line still stretched more than a half-mile.

UPDATE III: Great minds think alike, I guess. Just noticed this article in The New York Times mentioning Morton Blackwell and Brent Bozell as among those who see Palin in similar terms.

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