There is no graceful way of saying this , so I am just going to come right out with it. I have a problem with Sarah Palin. The fact is, politically speaking, I have had a problem with her for quite a while. Let me be clear however, it has nothing to do with her intelligence, her personality, or her gender. It is actually hard to explain. Each time I hear her speak, I am impressed by her candor, I laugh at her wry jabs at the President, and agree with almost every political position she espouses. Yet, for some reason, when she is done I walk away wanting something more. Many times I have tried to jump aboard the Palin Train like so many of my like-minded friends, but something in my gut keeps telling me to stay clear of the tracks. The most frustrating part of it though, is that I have never been able to stick a pin into the source of my angst. Not until today that is…
Having only a half hour for lunch between meetings today, I dove into a local diner for a fast bite to eat. I am a regular at this place, and love their home cooked specials. The owner is a fairly outspoken conservative, and will happily offer his opinions to you if you even look like you might be of a left leaning persuasion. He is a big burly fellow who smells of recycled french fry grease, and regularly tears the fingers out of his food prep gloves so that he can poke your food to feel if it is ready. His self-described ‘grub’ is so tasty however, that both sides of the aisle brave his political monologues, as well as the ever present threat of Hepatitis A, to eat lunch there. For the purpose of this post, I will call him Bob, because…well…that is his name. Every day Bob comes up with a new lunch special for $7.99, gives it a catchy (usually political) name, and posts it on a marker board by the counter. It is usually something brown that has been slow cooked in a large pot all morning, and is inexplicably delicious. Today when I walked in, hoping for his famous Irish Stew, I gazed at the board to see:
The saliva ducts in my mouth went into overdrive. I had been running on nothing but coffee for most of the morning, and the thought of ground beef smothered in juicy caramelized onions and rich brown gravy was simply too much to bear. As delicious as it sounded however, I just could not connect the special’s name to its contents. I thought about it without revelation as I stood in line to order and, by the time it was my turn at the register, I had given up on all but my most primal eating instincts. I nodded to Bob, flipped him a 10 dollar bill, and ordered a Palin Platter of my very own. Speed is the name of the game with Bob’s lunch specials, so no sooner had I found a place at the counter to sit, than my steaming hot plate of gravy soaked sirloin appeared before me. True to form, it was absolutely delicious. I wolfed my meal down in about 7 minutes, dropped some change on the counter, and headed for the door. As I exited, Bob was standing outside talking to some other lunch patrons. “How did you like the special?” he inquired as I passed by. “It was great,” I lauded, “best lunch plate in town.” He smiled and began to say thanks, but I cut him off. “What I don’t understand is how you came up with the name,”I mused. “How in the heck did you think up Palin Platter?”
At that moment, Bob’s entire demeanor changed. His smile dropped into an intense glare, he looked around to ensure no one else was within earshot, and leaned toward me as if he were about to tell me a dirty joke he had just heard.
“Did it taste good? he ask.
“Absolutely. It was delicious.”
“When you were done did you want more?”
“Yeah, I could have had a little more meat.”
“All in all, was it anything that special?”
I paused for a moment, “well not really.”
Bob’s smile reappeared instantly. He threw his head back and started laughing. “You got it my friend!”
“Got what?” I queried in confusion.
“You got something that tasted good, left you wanting more, and wasn’t anything very special!…A Palin Platter!”
With that, Bob slapped me on the back and headed into the diner. I could still hear him laughing as the door clicked shut. At that moment I realized why Bob was so amused. He had just fed me a steaming hot plate of onion smothered political satire for lunch….and I had eaten it up. It was truly brilliant. With each plate of hamburger, he was not only dishing out a tasty meal, but an essay on the perils conservative populism as well. He had also unwittingly helped me to pinpoint my problem with Sarah. She sounds good, but leaves you wanting more and, at the end of the day, she really isn’t anything too special.
Now I know that this last statement is going cause blood vessels to burst in some of your eyes, but hear me out. We are at a time in our nation’s history when, more than ever before, we need a conservative leader that will not only inspire us, but lead us back to greatness. We need an Abraham Lincoln, a Ronald Reagan, or a Maggie Thatcher to stand before a broken party and knit it back together with vision, resolve, and courage. We need someone who will unify the base, reestablish a conservative agenda, and restore hope for all who believe in freedom and self-determination. Now, do you really see Sarah Palin filling those shoes? As much as I would like to, I most certainly do not. She is intelligent, driven, articulate, and funny but, in the end, she seems to be little more than populist ground beef. To put her into the White House would be settling for a hamburger when our nation desperately needs a steak.
For those of you who are yelling angrily at your monitor and trying to decide how many points to refute in your comment, let me suggest that you are ‘really’ angry about two things. First, you understandably like Sarah because she is so refreshing and delicious, and second…you know I am right. In fact, I will dig my hole just a bit deeper by suggesting that, if we do not release the notion of her becoming President very soon, it may spell the complete demise of the Republican ticket in 2012. The zeal that so many have for her could backfire, fracturing Conservatives into Tea Partiers and Republicans, and all but ensuring a 2012 loss. This would not only be devastating to our party for years to come, but to our country as well. “Oh, but Sarah would never let that happen,” you protest. “She would never let the Conservative movement implode so horrendously.” I would like to think this as well but, the truth of the matter is, it may not even be up to her. If the Tea Partiers, who she so readily feeds, decide that her brand of hamburger conservative populism is what they are looking for, then even she may not be able to stop the rush to a third party. Mainstream moderate Republicans would then be forced to nominate their own candidate and, instead of hamburger, we will all be eating snake for another four years. You can tell yourself, that this could never happen, but are you willing to bet your country on it? I’m not.
The bottom line: We need to get past the idea of President Palin and start finding a ‘Presidential’ leader without delay. If we do not, this great Conservative march we are seeing may well be headed for a cliff. We need someone who will forgo the nicely packaged political bromides that have become so popular, and offer up an unabashedly conservative vision for our nation. We need someone who will command the world stage, earn the trust of our friends, and instill fear in the hearts of our enemies. Ronald Reagan, God rest his immortal soul, is dead and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. We cannot have him back, but we sure as hell had better find someone who can fill his shoes and, once again, it just isn’t Sarah…admit it. Sarah most certainly has a vital role to play in the GOP but, no matter how tasty, Palin Platter politics will most assuredly leave Americans wanting something more.