Since Deb Fischer won the Nebraska Republican Senate primary on Tuesday, the discussion of the power or intent of Governor Palin’s endorsement has been discussed by many in the media. Some have tried to pass off Fischer’s win as the result of the fact that her opponents turned their guns on each other, and she escaped unscathed. In other words, Governor Palin’s endorsement had little to do with the victory. The folks at Breitbart, and even some at the New York Times, have recognized the power of Governor Palin’s endorsement. Heck, even, Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post, gave some backhanded credit to Governor Palin for Fischer’s win. However, there are those who are questioning not only the power of Palin’s endorsement, but the intent. They are trying to imply that Governor Palin primarily endorsed Fischer because she is a woman, when so much of the support for Fischer extended far beyond that.
It’s easy to recognize with Deb Fischer’s win that Governor Palin endorsement played a big role in Fischer’s campaign, alongside a big grassroots effort in Nebraska. This is the kind of boost that Governor Palin provided that helped Nikki Haley win her gubernatorial primary in 2010. Governor Palin’s endorsement is powerful, but it isn’t solely about getting the candidate over the top to win. It’s about changing the way the game is played. It is not about gender, though Governor Palin definitely wants to see more conservative women in politics. Remember too that Governor Palin endorsed Rick Perry over Kay Bailey Hutchison and Deb Medina in the Texas gubernatorial primary and Joe Miller over Lisa Murkowski in the Alaska Senate primary in 2010. Really, those two endorsements tell quite a bit of the story when it comes to the meaning of her endorsements.
When Governor Palin released her congratulatory note about Deb Fischer’s victory, she noted:
As recently as a week ago, Deb Fischer was dismissed by the
establishment. Why? Because she is not part of the good old boys’
permanent political class. The message from the people of Nebraska is
simple and powerful: America is looking for real change in Washington,
and commonsense conservatives like Deb Fischer represent that change.
This is what Governor Palin’s endorsements are about–real change and ridding Washington (or the state halls) of the permanent political class.This is not better seen than her recent endorsement of Richard Mourdock in Indiana to replace veteran Senator Dick Lugar, nor in her endorsements opposite the Bush endorsed Kay Bailey Hutchison and coattail riding Lisa Murkowski. While many questioned her 2010 support for Christine O’Donnell, her intention was to send a message to the Establishment and to the permanent political class–which extends beyond those who hold political office. The message echoes Reagan’s — “those voices don’t speak for the rest of us”. Suffice to say, Governor Palin is the Expo eraser to Karl Rove’s dry erase board. It’s about the principles of the party, not the party itself. While the Roves of the GOP want the tent to get bigger, the Palins of the GOP want to ensure that the tent–no matter its size– has its stakes driven into solid enough ground that it won’t collapse.
It’s not solely about opposition to Rovian-Schmidtish political strategy though. Governor Palin views politics and policy in a way that very few in politics do– both politics and policy must revolve around the people, not the party. Governor Palin recognizes that politics is not just a battle between right and left; it’s a vertical battle between top and bottom–both within the party structure and as a matter of policy. Governor Palin is the political Galileo ( with Ronald Reagan as Copernicus). You may recall that Galileo was an astronomer who pursued the ideas Copernican heliocentrism–the concept that the earth revolved around the sun, rather than the other way around. The Catholic church declared him a heretic and put him under house arrest where he continued his work, and of course, he was eventually proven right. This Galileo-Palin comparison may not be perfect in its entirety, but it shows an important point. Those in the permanent political class wish to believe that all political power revolves around them, when it really revolves around the people–the people who vote, not those who pontificate. The same concept is true for policy. The big government views of the Left and the “pro business” views espoused by many in the GOP think that government exists to do things for the people or for businesses. Governor Palin is pro market. Who is empowered in a pro market economy? The consumers (the people). The people determine whether or not a business fails or succeeds by their purchasing power–not by the special loans of the big government Left or the special tax breaks of the pro-business GOPers, but of the the Galileoan pro-marketers.
This is what makes Governor Palin’s speech in Iowa late last summer so compelling. She laid out a vision of a pro market economy–no corporate taxes, but no corporate welfare, no special tax breaks or subsidies either. In other words, let the people decide what business fail or succeed by their purchasing power. Also, as Governor Palin wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, echoing Peter Schweizer’s book Throw Them All Out, let there be no more crony capitalism and no more special treatment of politicians. This is the very thing that Deb Fischer espouses too. If you look at her campaign website, Fischer notes specifically “reform Congress and Washington D.C.” as one of her policy plans. As example, Fischer mentions some of the very same things in this policy plank that Governor Palin did in her WSJ op-ed:
Tighter Ethics Laws
- Prohibit Members of Congress and federal employees from trading
stocks based on information obtained on the job that is not publicly
- Prohibit Members of Congress, their staffs and federal employees from disclosing nonpublic information for investment purposes.
- Prohibit Members of Congress, their staffs and federal employees
from purchasing land based on inside information that is not public
- Require Members of Congress to be subject to the same laws and privileges as every citizen of the United States.
This brings everything full circle. Whether it’s an endorsement or policy driven speech, Governor Palin’s influence is powerful and so is her impact on ridding the political system of the permanent political class and replacing it with what the Founders stated at the very beginning-“-We the People”.