Monday, May 04, 2009

An Interesting New Puzzle Piece

Sarah Palin joins GOP rebuilding effort

Rush Limbaugh is an incredible ass.

Limbaugh is such an incredible ass that he all too often fails to understand who is on his side, who isn't, and generally what's really going on.

Such must have been his shock when he learned that former Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin has officially joined efforts to re-brand the Republican party, mere hours after Limbaugh insisted that the GOP leadership is afraid of her.


"Something else you have to understand is these people hate Palin too," Limbaugh had mused. "They despise Sarah Palin, they fear Sarah Palin, they don't like her either. She's, according to them she's embarrassing. McCain said, 'I was there with Ronald Reagan'…. No Reagan voter ever believed McCain was a Reaganite."

"And I think… a lot of this is aimed at Sarah Palin," he continued. "When you strip all the talk — It's 'the Reagan era is over, stop all this nostalgia and stuff.' Clearly, in last year's campaign, the most prominent, articulate voice for standard run-of the mill good old fashioned American conservatism was Sarah Palin. Now, everybody on this [NCNA] Speak to America tour has presidential perspirations [sic]. Mitt Romney there, he wants to be president again. Jeb may someday. Eric Cantor, some of the others, McCain — I don't think he does, but you never know. So this is an early campaign event, 2012 presidential campaign, primary campaign, with everybody there but Sarah Palin."

Now, the National Committee for a New America -- a committee name that seems to oddly ring of Preston Manning's The New Canada -- has contradicted Limbaugh in delicious fashion, and added some level of intrigue to the affair.

Palin, after all, is held up by many as an example of the antiquated social conservative policies the Republican party has become so closely associated with. Even though her stances on most of these issues aren't nearly as extreme as many of her opponents insist -- for example, her views on abortion actually promote the kind of alternatives to an abortion that pro-abortion activists often insist they would support -- Palin's participation in the NCNA will allow the party's detractors to denounce the process as putting a new shade of lipstick on a pig.

But if a rebranded, rejuvinated Republican party is to be successful it will have to find a place in it for those who hold socially conservative values. While that place shouldn't grant these individuals the dominant position over policy making that they've previously enjoyed, their ongoing participation in the Republican party will remain important.

Certainly many social conservatives -- especially proponents of the religious right -- would reject a Republican party that didn't grant them an extraordinary amount of influence over party policy.

Moving away from these particular social conservatives is one of the most important things the new Republican party could do for itself.

For those social conservatives who are willing to collaborate with those who don't share their views in order to establish a consensus that more effectively reflects the modern-day values of the American people, Sarah Palin's influence on the Republican party will be important in terms of maintaining the Republican party as a party they, too, can call home.

It will be a party that Rush Limbaugh probably won't like very much anymore. Then again, that alone will be of immense value to the new GOP.

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