Sarah Palin is taking the Republican ticket beyond her party’s habitual base, by stating traditional conservative values in language independents have been hungering to hear.
In her colossally successful acceptance speech, she did two things necessary to elect a Republican president, neither of which her presidential running mate had done — and probably never would have been able to do without her.
First, she ignited the hard-core conservatives, convened only wistfully for John McCain. Then, she led them into to a wonderland shared with independents.
Just as Democrats cannot win the White House without enthusiastic support of their base, now heeling hard to the left, no GOP ticket can succeed without similar excitement of its base, now moving toward the center from hard right.
Nor can either party expect to succeed by running to the center. Barack Obama discovered his servitude to leftist fund-raisers and masscomm-manipulators will not allow him to appeal enough to independents. McCain had been unable to build up steam by running more as an independent than as a conservative.
Americans cannot abide a fence-straddler. So both candidacies were teetering and tottering, neither gaining much on the other. Something had to give.
Along came Sarah, who blew the windows out at the GOP convention and popped every balloon left over from the Democrats’.
In a matter of only a few moments, she had reinvigorated and united the Republican conservatives, as no one has done since Ronald Reagan.
If that’s all she had accomplished in those magical moments, it still would have been historic, maybe even enough to salvage McCain’s faltering campaign.
She did much more, however. She reached out and connected electrically with independents who had been dubious about Obama and fretful over McCain.
The trick was, she radiated all that appeal to independents without losing a single conservative vote. How she managed to do that is the true miracle.
There are two ways to present the conservative message: One is to pitch it, unadulterated, head-on at people who are neither conservative nor liberal ideologues. That’s how most conservative purists try it, which is why they aren’t able to get their message much beyond their own picket lines.
The other way is to speak directly to the hearts, as well as the intellects, of Americans who are not politically ideological. When traditional American values are propounded without ideological cant to independents, it works.
How to do that? Apparently no one other than Sarah knows for sure.
However she came by this art, wherever she learned her political ABCs, she got it right.
It works for her. And it’s driving the Obama camp bug-swattin’ nuts. In the few days since Sarah appeared on the national scene, Obama has demonstrated almost daily that he hasn’t the foggiest idea how to deal with her.
He doesn’t seem to get it that it’s not Sarah he’s having to deal with. It’s the American-values voters who really do get Sarah that he is having to deal with.
In a world where everything happens, anything can still happen in this campaign. But if things continue to unfold as they have in the dawning of the new day of Sarah Palin politics, she is going to carry McCain, not he carry her, across the finish line and right into the Oval Office.
The leftist masscomm will do its worst to thwart this, weaving and waving like an immense dancing bear between Sarah and those independent voters.
Politics this year must not be allowed to languish as merely a spectator sport. If this nation is to survive, politics this year must be engaged in as a participatory imperative. Those Americans who cherish their nation’s historic values must become their own mavericks and help round up other mavericks just like them.
Voters need not be predictable, stereotyped herds as Barack Obama cynically sees them. They can become their own independent mavericks, standing apart from the herd. Sarah Palin gets this. So does John McCain, who chose her.
John L. Perry, a prize-winning newspaper editor and writer who served on White House staffs of two presidents, is a regular columnist for Newsmax.com.
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