Souring on Sarah

When Sarah Palin was selected as John McCain’s running mate in 2008 I was interested. When she gave her acceptance speech I fell in love (politically speaking). Here was a sharp, principled conservative who breathed life into John McCain’s campaign. The more I found out about her, the more I liked her. I read her book and was impressed. I started to think that she might have a chance to run for president. She had a history of winning as an underdog and a political outsider and impeccable conservative credentials. This is what I wanted in a president. Could Sarah Palin be the next Ronald Reagan? Okay, I guess I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

This election cycle is revealing some things about Palin, though, that are giving me concern. First of all, she is supporting John McCain over J.D. Hayworth in the Arizona senate race. Now I understand the importance of loyalty, especially in politics. I don’t expect her to betray her friend, especially the one who was responsible for her big break into national politics. But she should recognize that John McCain is not very conservative. J.D. Hayworth is clearly the better candidate. She should state her support for John McCain and then stay out of the race. But that isn’t what she’s done. Instead, she’s actively supported McCain, campaigning and fund raising for him.

What has really soured me on Sarah, though, is her involvement in Idaho’s first congressional district race between Vaughn Ward and Raul Labrador. She met Vaughn Ward during the presidential campaign where he managed the state of Nevada for John McCain. Later on she endorsed him in the race against Labrador which wasn’t a complete surprise but was a disappointment.

You see, Ward seems to be a carpetbagger who moved to Idaho in order to campaign here. He owns a home in Virginia where he and his family live. More disturbing still, he’s received endorsements from much of the Washington elite and the “good old boy” Republican establishment here in Idaho. He doesn’t have a legislative record and has made one campaign blunder after another. So far, he has shown himself to be a poor politician who won’t stand a chance against Walt Minnick in November. (See Tea Party Boise’s Labrador endorsement for more details.)

His opponent, Raul Labrador, was one of the strongest conservatives in the Idaho house. With four years of legislative experience, Labrador has built a great conservative record and has made enemies of the political establishment because he hasn’t been willing to compromise on conservative issues. According to what she has said about herself, this is the kind of candidate that Sarah Palin should be supporting, right? Apparently not.

Still, I could understand Sarah Palin supporting her friend. This Friday, though, she will be coming to Idaho to campaign for Vaughn Ward and against Raul Labrador. She’s fighting against a “common sense conservative,” the kind of candidate she claims to support. It’s not just Idaho: she’s done the same thing in Arizona and California and this makes me question her reliability. Can I trust her judgment at all?

A political leader (and especially a president) is only as effective as the people with which they surround themselves. It would not appear that Sarah Palin has displayed very good political discernment and it seems to be a continuing trend.

Sarah: be a champion for conservative values and keep an open mind. Choose the best candidate every time. Your intense loyalty to your friends seems to be blinding you to political and ideological flaws that are pretty obvious to the rest of us. I want to like you, but I don’t trust your judgment any more and that is crucial.

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