Palin’s smarter than people think, says — Ralph Nader

posted at 3:25 pm on September 19, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Almost two weeks ago, I noted that the New York Times seemed shocked, shocked that Sarah Palin had suddenly turned into an anti-establishment conservative populist in a Labor Day weekend speech in Iowa.  The Gray Lady wasn’t the only media outlet who missed, well, almost all of Palin’s political career.  Salon’s Justin Elliott was so stunned by the speech that he turned to Ralph Nader to analyze the sudden new direction taken by Palin.  Nader pronounced himself impressed:

We decided to call the longtime left crusader about a speech Palin gave in Iowa earlier this month, one which seemed to mark the transformation of Palin from a standard-issue movement conservative to something more independent and more reformist. And Nader told us he liked what he heard.

“I think she’s a lot smarter than most people credit her,” says Nader. “Judging by her comments, she is squarely in the camp of conservative populism, opposed to corporatism and its corporate state.”

Palin delivered the speech in question in Indianola, Iowa, on Sept. 3. As Anand Giridharadas later observed in the Times, the media responded primarily by “ignoring the ideas she unfurled and dwelling almost entirely on the will-she-won’t-she question of her presidential ambitions.”

What were the “new” ideas again?

But there was also some refreshingly new material. She described a “permanent political class,” one that is hypocritical and devoted to personally profiting off of government. (“Seven of the 10 wealthiest counties are suburbs of Washington, D.C.,” she noted.) She spoke of “the collusion of big government and big business and big finance.” And she took aim at both parties for governing in service of their big campaign contributors.

This sounded to us like Nader. And Nader agreed.

Er, new? Only if one’s attention to Palin was restricted to the relative costs of tanning beds and her 2008 campaign wardrobe.  Palin has not just talked about fighting the establishment, she has done it throughout her political career.  She fought corruption in the Alaska GOP, and she defeated one of the state’s political dynasties, the Murkowskis, to win her term as governor.  Palin did that while talking constantly about breaking the bonds between big business and big government.

Bear in mind that Palin drew an avalanche of media attention in the summer and fall of 2008, with dozens of reporters descending on Wasilla looking for background on Palin.  Actually, “background” is too nice a word for it; they were looking for dirt.  More than three years after getting named to the GOP ticket in 2008, the national media is just now getting around to noticing that Palin isn’t just some rube, but is a grassroots activist with years of both rhetoric and accomplishment in fighting the establishment.  So much for a vibrant, objective national media, eh?

And just like when the NYT suddenly discovered Palin’s anti-establishment cred, I suspect that the newfound respect from Nader and Salon doesn’t have much to do with surprise as it does with trying to take a few indirect shots at the Republicans running for President.  If Palin does toss her hat in the ring, don’t expect this late media infatuation with Palin as a smart crusader to last very long.

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Buy Danish on September 20, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Face it, BD, your faux affront is just that – A FRONT – that most of us have seen through.

1. Given Solyndra, GE, and all that is coming out — it is a perfectly legit question to ask of ANY candidate…

2. Given the questions about Perry — it further proves it both a legit and telling question for at least SOME of the GOP candidates…

3. Your resorting to ad hominem attacks on me shows your desperation… the snarkiest I’ve EVER been to you personally is the WEAK “golf cart” line above.

Give up this line of defense, and salvage what credibility you have remaining.

OnlyOrange on September 20, 2011 at 9:46 AM

Listen up, Jackass. I have been over and over this with you and you have not provided ANY evidence that GOP candidates in the plural are crony capitalists.

Buy Danish on September 20, 2011 at 8:59 AM

And you have not provided any evidence that Palin said they were.

darwin on September 20, 2011 at 9:47 AM

idesign on September 20, 2011 at 9:23 AM

Hey, do you have something germane to add to this debate? Some evidence about crony capitalism among the GOP candidates (other than Perry who is one candidate in the singular)? How about some means to answer Palin’s allegation in the form of a question? A pledge? A confession? Anything substantive to add? No? I didn’t think so.

Buy Danish on September 20, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Hey, do you have something germane to add to this debate? Some evidence about crony capitalism among the GOP candidates (other than Perry who is one candidate in the singular)? How about some means to answer Palin’s allegation in the form of a question? A pledge? A confession? Anything substantive to add? No? I didn’t think so.

Buy Danish on September 20, 2011 at 10:02 AM

What you continually fail to see and admit is that Perry alone legitimizes the question.

If YOU want to take the next step, tell us your candidate of choice (it appears to be Mittens), disclose his big $$ supporters in the past, and show that it does not apply to him. Show him to be innocent and help differentiate your candidate of choice…

Instead, you keep crying “it’s not a fair question” — when it clearly is, if applied to both Perry and Obama.

OnlyOrange on September 20, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Blah blah blah. I don’t despise Palin. I loathe populism, and I loathe people who make accusations with out evidence. The fact that your comrades are keen to indict Romney for being a crony capitalist despite the fact zero evidence has been presented by Palin (or any of you) is proof that Palin’s words are damaging, and that I am right to be appalled by her reckless words.

All politicians are cronies to a degree, the capitalist/socialist label seems to be a bigger sticking point.
Cindy Munford on September 19, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Well then, I guess that makes Palin guilty of cronyism, so perhaps she should be more circumspect when she uses that word in the future. That being said, to allege crony capitalism is a serious charge and I am seriously bothered by her cavalier use of the phrase.

Buy Danish on September 20, 2011 at 8:59 AM

From reading your posts, I know you are a smart woman, which makes your knee jerk response to this particular issue very strange. I cannot see how you interpret Gov. Palin’s speech to be casting specific charges of cronyism on other GOP candidates. It didn’t. She merely asked the question, shouldn’t we question the fundraising of Republican candidates as well as Democrats and what is owed to these donors?

Loathing populism is interesting. All politicians attempt to be populists to a degree, particularly when running a national campaign. They are trying to appeal to a wide swath of voters, not a specific segment. I think your comments in this regard would hold more weight if you were willing to recognize this. Even Romney plays the populist card occasionally, though it is more disingenuous coming from him because he has always had the benefit of an upper middle class background. I don’t care for populist rhetoric myself, but I disagree with you that Palin’s recent speech reeks of populism. She has perfectly illustrated why Americans, regular business owners and Main Street folks all across the country, distrust and even despise politicians and it is because most of us do see politicians as “for sale.”. Remember what Marco Rubio said in his acceptance speech? He asked people to pray for him that he would not be sucked into the culture of Washington, that he would always remember the people who sent him there. It was very eloquent and it was a perfect parallel for Palin’s comment on cronyism.

I really wish you well and I do hope that if Palin wins the nomination, you will consider voting for her. She represents what a lot of Americans believe about opportunity in this country, our role in the greater world, and our hope for the future.

piglet on September 20, 2011 at 10:11 AM

If Palin Murkowski runs third-party, for any reason whatsoever, she, and all who claim to follow her, will be exiled from the conservative movement GOP for a decade. Of this I have no doubt.

If she doesn’t want to play by the rules, she doesn’t deserve the support of the team.

KingGold on September 19, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Yep. That’s exactly how it played out last year. Oh wait…
Murky is a classic GOP cronyist and clawed her way back into DC by running as 3rd party and the GOP rewarded her by letting her keep her seniority, perks and standing.

If you want the govt to clean its act up, you have to be willing to take all slimeballs to task, regardless of party etc. The GOP establishment is full of people like Murky, the Maine Sisters etc. Change will not come until we insist on cleaning the rot from within. The fact that Murky has a feud with Palin over her cleanup of AK political machine is all the proof that any conservative needs of who is on the right side of the debate.

All the anti-palinistas are nothing more than traditional republicans that are fine with the status quo, as long as it is the GOP in the driver seat. They claim they want reform, but unwilling to push for it, lest their chosen be considered “unelectable”. Phooey on you all. The next cycle or two will determine whether the GOP survives or be eclipsed by a new party. Simply put, this country can not survive much longer with both parties seeking to fatten themselves at the public teat. Debt 100% of GDP is not sustainable and the establishment has no real plan to reduce it. Not even Paul Ryan nor Jeff Flake for that matter!

If it turns out that you CINOs hold the majority votes, so be it. Just don’t look for my support to continue this Red/Blue charade.

However, if it just so happens that there are enough conservatives like me willing to break this cycle, the wailing and lamentations of the CINOs will be loud but futile. By the same token, if we “broke it”, we’ll be the ones fixing it while the GOP gets relegated to the ash-heap of modern progressive history.

AH_C on September 20, 2011 at 10:22 AM

I’ve got to say–the picture of Palin that you use on the front page is my favorite. It captures her gentle beauty in a striking way. Really spectacular.

*sigh*

;-)

nukemhill on September 20, 2011 at 10:24 AM

However, if it just so happens that there are enough conservatives like me willing to break this cycle, the wailing and lamentations of the CINOs will be loud but futile. By the same token, if we “broke it”, we’ll be the ones fixing it while the GOP gets relegated to the ash-heap of modern progressive history.

AH_C on September 20, 2011 at 10:22 AM

This is an enormously risky move, as it increases the likelihood of a Democrat hegemony for the near future. But it may be the only possible move we have that has any chance of actually breaking the current system and allowing true Constitutional Conservatives the opportunity to rebuild this country in a manner befitting what the founding fathers envisioned.

In the end, it may simply be our way of “Going Galt”. Removing our votes from the two-party monopoly will eventually force it to implode from its own weight of corruption and ineptitude. Let the Rs and Ds feed on their own bile until they choke on it. Then we get to come in and clean up the mess.

nukemhill on September 20, 2011 at 10:30 AM

I am, by the way, listening to 2112 by Rush. Pure chance, as I’ve got my iPod on random. But fitting none-the-less.

nukemhill on September 20, 2011 at 10:31 AM

AH_C on September 20, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Awesome comment.

hawkdriver on September 20, 2011 at 10:40 AM

This is an enormously risky move, as it increases the likelihood of a Democrat hegemony for the near future. But it may be the only possible move we have that has any chance of actually breaking the current system and allowing true Constitutional Conservatives the opportunity to rebuild this country in a manner befitting what the founding fathers envisioned.

In the end, it may simply be our way of “Going Galt”. Removing our votes from the two-party monopoly will eventually force it to implode from its own weight of corruption and ineptitude. Let the Rs and Ds feed on their own bile until they choke on it. Then we get to come in and clean up the mess.

nukemhill on September 20, 2011 at 10:30 AM

THIS. I’m tired of the insanity of voting for the lesser of two evils and hoping that the Overton Window will inch by inch move rightward. The GOP status quo is to play nice with the progressives as they relentlessly move us leftward. The new center today is inconceivable to even the traditional democrat of 30 years ago.

As for 2112 by Rush, most excellent — the benevolent GOP elites constantly tell us to forget the old ways and just leave everything to them (Screw That!!!):

[II. Temples of Syrinx]

…’The massive grey walls of the Temples rise from the heart of every Federation city. I
Have always been awed by them, to think that every single facet of every life is regulated
And directed from within! Our books, our music, our work and play are all looked after by
The benevolent wisdom of the priests…’

We’ve taken care of everything
The words you hear, the songs you sing
The pictures that give pleasure to your eyes
It’s one for all and all for one
We work together, common sons
Never need to wonder how or why

We are the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx
Our great computers fill the hallowed halls
We are the Priests, of the Temples of Syrinx
All the gifts of life are held within our walls

Look around at this world we’ve made
Equality our stock in trade
Come and join the Brotherhood of Man
Oh, what a nice, contented world
Let the banners be unfurled
Hold the Red Star proudly high in hand

We are the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx
Our great computers fill the hallowed halls
We are the Priests, of the Temples of Syrinx
All the gifts of life are held within our walls

The Constitution IS our inalienable gift of life, not gifts for our politicians to parcel out for votes.

AH_C on September 20, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Awesome comment.

hawkdriver on September 20, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Thanks!

AH_C on September 20, 2011 at 10:51 AM

AH_C on September 20, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Hah! Another Rush fan. Gotta love it.

nukemhill on September 20, 2011 at 11:07 AM

How about some means to answer Palin’s allegation in the form of a question?
Buy Danish on September 20, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Hilarious. She didn’t make a bald assertion that the current crop of GOP candidates were undeniably corrupt…

so let’s just move those goalposts a few yards to an “allegation in the form of a question” so we can bash her for it, mmmmkay?

(shakes head)

Are you seriously trying to assert that acknowledging the fact that corruption in both parties exists, and that attempting address this reality via the ballot box, is unhelpful?

cs89 on September 20, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Are you seriously trying to assert that acknowledging the fact that corruption in both parties exists, and that attempting address this reality via the ballot box, is unhelpful?

cs89 on September 20, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Many of the reactions to what Palin is saying arise from denial, fear and loathing. Corruption not only exists but has reached the awful threshold in which everything is at stake, the whole country in spirit and flesh. Not everybody is able to absord this or its consequences. Many long for the familiar bromides and safe harbor of RINO self-deceits. Those days are gone.

The Solyndra hearings will go nowhere because Republicans are equally — if differently — implicated in the corruption and crony capitalism. Palin is the only one pointing it out, the only one with a life history of confronting it, the only one with the clarity and purpose and confidence to address it.

We take it on in a new way with a new kind of leader or we’re done.

rrpjr on September 20, 2011 at 11:32 AM

If Palin does toss her hat in the ring, don’t expect this late media infatuation with Palin as a smart crusader to last very long.

Oh yes, they will treat any other Republican candidate with much respect. Do you really think they could dream up anything new? They’ve scratched and dug on her for three years and found nothing. Sarah is the real thing people. Take off your misogynistic glasses and look at the real world.

Herb on September 20, 2011 at 11:44 AM

AH_C on September 20, 2011 at 10:22 AM

And when Sarah doesn’t run and throws her weight behind Perry you will say?

right2bright on September 20, 2011 at 11:58 AM

And when Sarah doesn’t run and throws her weight behind Perry you will say?

right2bright on September 20, 2011 at 11:58 AM

“Perry for President!”, emphatically.

ornery_independent on September 20, 2011 at 12:23 PM

…but I really doubt that’ll happen.

ornery_independent on September 20, 2011 at 12:24 PM

…but I really doubt that’ll happen.

ornery_independent on September 20, 2011 at 12:24 PM

THIS!!!!!

The general is the time to vote ABO. The primary is the time to select the best person to help fix the mess we find ourselves in…

OnlyOrange on September 20, 2011 at 12:46 PM

And when Sarah doesn’t run and throws her weight behind Perry you will say?

right2bright on September 20, 2011 at 11:58 AM

I have absolutely no problem with supporting anyone who calls SS a ponzi scheme and that it needs to be reformed, not a band-aid.

I have absolutely no problem with someone who says the Feds are almost treasonous. Do you have a problem with the Feds bailing out European banks with our $$ and without our consent?

I have absolutely no problem with someone who says we need to secure the border before we can do something about illegal immigration. I have issues with not implementing e-verify or TX Dream Act, but I also recognize that Texas has unique circumstances such that without active support from the Feds puts it in a catch-22 situation for dealing with it.

I absolutely support anyone that is a 10ther. I’d also support repeal of the 16th & 17th

All in all, I agree with Perry 80-85% on everything. Having lived in TX, I’m quite familiar with the good-ole-boy system. What flies in TX may not fly in other States and that Perry used it to his advantage is not necessarily a discredit to him.

AH_C on September 20, 2011 at 2:05 PM

They claim they want reform, but unwilling to push for it, lest their chosen be considered “unelectable”.
AH_C on September 20, 2011 at 10:22 AM

This is it.
And people are still whining about it after you posted this response. Effing incredibly dense.
And this:

AH_C on September 20, 2011 at 2:05 PM

You’ve got it.
It’s why I like Palin.
Both sides are threatened by her.
Bcs her ideas represent a loss in their power.
The GOP & the Democrats are both one & the same.
Party politics was predicted by a founding father to ruin this country.
Parties lend themselves to cronyism.
The Democrats take oaths to uphold the Constitution, which they have no intention of doing.
The Republicans only uphold the Constitution when it suits them.
They both angle for power and influence.
It’s sorta like a car.
I drive a POS bcs I HAVE to.
But what I really want is something better.
At some point, I either drive the POS into the ground & hop into another POS OR I take a chance & trade it in for something new.
I’m tired of the same old pieces of $hit (GOP).
Give me something new (like Palin).

Badger40 on September 20, 2011 at 2:27 PM

I would rather take a gamble on losing the Republic to anarchy sooner than later by taking a risk that could win it back now.
Bcs the longer we wait, the less likely it is that we will eventually win it back at ANY time in the given future.

Badger40 on September 20, 2011 at 2:28 PM

Bcs what we have now SUCKS.
We are not a Democratic Republic anymore.
We are some sort of hybrid Socialist creature.
It has been defiled.
It must be cleansed.

Badger40 on September 20, 2011 at 2:29 PM

We are some sort of hybrid Socialist creature.
It has been defiled.
It must be cleansed.

Badger40 on September 20, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Right on.

rrpjr on September 20, 2011 at 4:12 PM

I have been over and over this with you and you …..Buy Danish on September 20, 2011 at 8:59 AM

When you say this or another favorite “I’m telling you for the last time….” you diminish any point you might have. You are not talking to children here, you are talking to people who disagree with you. And have every reason and right to do so. This just in……you could be wrong.

Cindy Munford on September 20, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Buy Danish on September 20, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Politicians who accept money from companies in their districts and try to work to those companies’ advantage and the constituents that also live there, could be accused of crony capitalism. Gov. Palin did not insult the slate of candidates, you just look to be offended. And when hair style and syntax offend, your mission is easily accomplished.

Cindy Munford on September 20, 2011 at 5:14 PM

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