Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Canada: Palin the anti-Reagan

Ottawa Citizen

Ronald Reagan was the master

"Palin is the nation's self-appointed critic-in-chief these days; she just can't help herself. We could say of her what candidate Reagan said to the tiresome Jimmy Carter in 1980: "There you go again ..."

"These days Palin and other Republicans eyeing the presidency in 2012 are laying claim to the mantle of the 40th president. The centennial of his birth, on Feb. 6, 1911, provided her with a prestigious platform to declare her allegiance to personal freedom and small government.

"She studded her remarks to the faithful with the usual red-meat references to the assault on liberty and the threat of national bankruptcy. And while she hasn't said she will run next year, she likes to associate herself with Reagan's legacy.

"Of course, our Sarah is more poseur than pretender. She still utters the greatest of falsehoods with the greatest of confidence. She remains somewhere between not yet and not ever.

"In a primary of presumption, she is the early front-runner. In an election of ego, she is the surefire winner.

"It is particularly galling that she reminds us, even obliquely, that she receives the same derision as Reagan when he declared his principles in a much-noted address in 1964. As The New York Times reported Sunday, "she reminded her audience that he, too, was 'mocked, ridiculed and criticized'" before his world view became conventional wisdom.

"Say what you will about Reagan, he entered politics as a conservative in an age of liberalism. He had thought about limited government and individual freedom for years as a speaker and commentator."

"He became governor of California in 1966 and was re-elected. Unlike Palin, he didn't decamp halfway through his first term to make money. Unlike Palin, he could speak English. And unlike Palin, he had stature, a presence, shaped by a self-made ascent from lifeguard on the Rock River to radio announcer in the Midwest to screen actor in Hollywood.

"Reagan would have been appalled by Palin's disrespect for public office, her lack of serious reflection and her evangelism. While he was a man of faith, he didn't proselytize."

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