GRASS ROOTS AWAKEN 'TEAM TO FIGHT FOR' St. Joan of AK rallies a disorganized GOP
September 5, 2008 12:21 am
ST. PAUL, Minn.--Before Ronald Reagan, Republican presidential campaigns were about two things: defense and lower taxes. The only grass roots workers the Grand Old Party had were military veterans. Almost all the funding for campaign advertising came from big American corporations, not individuals.
Because the party was about only defense and taxes, it was virtually impossible for it to control either the House or the Senate, so both remained for decades in Democratic hands. With enough national advertising paid for by Wall Street, the Republicans occasionally won the White House.
Then came Reagan with a coalition that included evangelicals and blue-collar pro-life Catholics. The Republican Party grew and grew, winning everything from judgeships in Texas and mayoral elections in Alabama to most governorships. Soon the GOP, with the help of the evangelicals and the pro-lifers, controlled almost two-thirds of all elected offices in the United States.
Unfortunately, control of Capitol Hill gave the GOP old guard and the K Street lobbyists a green light for corruption. After dumping reformer Newt Gingrich as House speaker, they installed one of their own, Dennis Hastert. He looked away from financial scandals and ignored sexual impropriety--even attempts at homosexual seduction of pages. In 2006, sex and financial scandals made a bleak election year even bleaker for the Republicans, and they lost control of both House and Senate.
It didn't help that President George W. Bush was distracted by a war going badly due to the poor advice of two Nixon-era Republicans--Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Meanwhile, the big corporate types wanted evangelicals out of the party because their country-club cronies disdained the new emphasis on family values.
With the party teetering near the edge, Mitt Romney came on the national stage with his scorched-earth brand of politics. During the 2007-08 primary season, he attacked fellow Republican candidates with campaign mudslinging and dirty tricks, including the use of paid surrogates, at a level never seen before. Virtually every segment of the party was injured, and evangelicals and pro-lifers prepared to sit out the entire election year.
The Republican Party, already in steep decline, was left with a candidate, John McCain, so damaged by Romney that he was unable to raise funds to defend himself against the far-left moveon.org machine candidate, Barack Obama.
Then Gov. Sarah Palin entered the picture.
In August, the McCain campaign raised $16 million on the Internet. More than half came on a single day--the day McCain introduced Palin as his VP choice.
Palin brings in the support of hundreds of thousands of small donors and millions of campaign workers. She is a social conservative and a populist who does not tolerate corruption. Wall Street doesn't like her because she forced Big Oil to pay higher royalties for Alaskan oil, but people love her. In Alaska she has 80 percent approval.
The number of volunteers at McCain's regional offices has doubled since the announcement. Republican phone-bank workers who had not been heard from in years have showed up to help. The mood at the convention here changed from one of "we have to support this guy" to "we've got a winning team to fight for."
On the other side of the political spectrum, the Far Left is afraid of Palin because she is just like the average working mom in America. Her husband is a blue-collar oil worker, and her teenage kids get into trouble just like other moms' kids. She has one son in the Army headed to Iraq and a teen daughter who got pregnant before marriage. Those two kids alone bring millions of voters to the McCain-Palin camp.
Palin can also help the McCain ticket in a way nether Mike Huckabee nor Fred Thompson could: Romney and his surrogates had no opportunity to spend millions of dollars tarnishing her reputation during the primaries as he did theirs. The left-leaning media may try to do that job,
With Palin the Republicans have a chance to stay in the White House for another four years, something that otherwise would be unthinkable with a president of the same party with only a 30 percent approval rating. Thus, the political party that has the image of the "white male party" may well be saved in 2008 by a female governor.
To boot, Palin can shoot a gun more accurately than Vice President Dick Cheney, or most other male members of the GOP.