Sarah Palin’s Facebook column in response to this week’s State of the Union speech is excellent. Not merely because she argues from a perspective I embrace, but also because it is simply good writing. To whatever level the words are hers and not her copywriters’, and to whatever level she can use the same kind of language without a script, she is a great communicator.
Twenty percent of the public would never agree. In advertising, one of the commandments is to speak to your audience. That implies that your message doesn’t have to be tailored to people not in your audience. Political talking heads like to chatter about how rhetoric might influence the middle people. But their analysis usually takes the form of pointing out how the message will be regarded by staunch opponents. That’s irrelevant.
Of course the people in the middle aren’t on board with Palin’s arguments. Not yet. They’re the undecided, the swing voters. They’re sitting out in suburbia waiting to be persuaded.
Budget cuts won’t be popular, but they are vitally necessary or we will soon be a bankrupt country. It’s the responsibility of a leader to make sure the American people fully understand this.
As it is, the American people should fully understand that when the President talks about increased “investments” he’s talking about increased government spending. Cut away the rhetoric and you’ll also see that the White House’s real message on economic reform wasn’t one of substantial spending cuts, but of tax increases. When the President talks about simplifying the tax code, he’s made it clear that he’s not looking to cut your taxes; he’s looking for additional tax revenue from you.
To fully understand, one must look for the unseen. And acknowledge there are no solutions, only trade-offs. In a democratic republic the people eventually get what they want. The wiser the people, the better the government.
A leader who is not a dictator must point out what is hidden, and explain the trade-offs. Palin’s rhetoric is putting trust in the people. She wants them to understand and then to agree. The rhetoric must have a base in substance, because some folks will actually do some thinking. Unlike the current President’s message:
He offers a vision of a future powered by what he refers to as “clean energy,” but how we will get there from here remains a mystery. In the meantime, he continues to stymie the responsible development of our own abundant conventional energy resources – the stuff we actually use right now to fuel our economy.
As I saw somewhere on the intertracks, Barry is applying the Underpants Gnomes formula for success:
The middle step is the technology problem I like to write about. The resources exist; we only have to figure out how to use them. But is Obama offering the best way to work that out?
This isn’t just old-fashioned big government liberalism; this is crony capitalism on steroids. In the interests of big business, we’re “investing” in technologies and industries that venture capitalists tell us are non-starters, but which will provide lucrative returns for some corporate interests who have major investments in these areas.
It’s fascism. The trains run on time, but there is a moral and human cost to that kind of efficiency. If free people—the venture capitalists—are not willing to stake an idea with their own money, why should that idea suddenly become worthwhile by using somebody else’s
stolen tax money?
Palin lays out what might become the ideological line that will separate all the factions into two camps:
Despite the flowery rhetoric, the President doesn’t seem to understand that individuals make America great, not the federal government. American greatness lies in the courage and hard work of individual innovators and entrepreneurs. America is an exceptional nation in part because we have historically been a country that rewards and affirms individual initiative and offers people the freedom to invest and create as they see fit – not as a government bureaucrat does.
The commoners and talking heads who cling to the idea that Palin is stupid and/or un-Presidential are being outmaneuvered. They’re mostly not in her audience. She doesn’t need them.