How do we know who makes a good President? As the Obama Presidency has demonstrated, holding values and working towards them is not enough. Many say Obama is too ideological.
But Reagan was also ideological, and the country loved him. Why was he successful, but not Obama?
And what does this mean for someone like Sarah Palin, who may be aspiring for the oval office?
When Reagan was running for office, he was considered the dummy from Hollywood, “Herbert Hoover with a smile, a cheerleader for selfishness,” an “amiable dunce.” He rescued the economy, bringing down unemployment, inflation and oil prices, and restored America to a position of strength, ending the Cold War and strengthening our alliances.
Was there any evidence that he would make one of the best Presidents our country has ever had? I think so. His 1964 speech “A Time for Choosing” showed a man who was bold and certain. He was sure of himself, and didn’t need a teleprompter. He had leadership experience too, as governor of California, and as the head of the actor’s guild.
Contrast this to Barack Obama, whose record is that of community organizer and senator. He has never run anything. No leadership experience. All that’s left to look at are his speeches, which lack all substance and are full of meaningless rhetoric and hot air.
If Obama’s downfall was no surprise to conservatives, why were Reagan’s achievements surprising? It’s because nobody expected anything from the Presidency anymore after Nixon’s Watergate scandal, and Carter’s incompetence.
Presidential leadership can be assessed. Inferences can be made. Then how does this relate to the Presidential election of 2012, which Sarah Palin may have her eyes on?
On November 8, 2010, she delivered a speech in Phoenix slamming Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s injection of $600 billion into the economy. It was a well-done speech that explained how increasing the money supply results in inflation, driving up the prices of oil and groceries. She’s learned quickly, using monetary terms like “quantitative easing” and “buyer of last resort.”
More recently on November 29, 2010, writing on her Facebook blog about the wikileaks documents, she said “The White House has now issued orders to federal departments and agencies asking them to take immediate steps to ensure that no more leaks like this happen again.
It’s of course important that we do all we can to prevent similar massive document leaks in the future. But why did the White House not publish these orders after the first leak back in July?” That’s a good question.
Despite this, the liberal media remains determined to shut her down, as evidenced when the show Inside Washington aired a clip with Barbara Bush saying with regard to Sarah Palin that “I sat next to her once, thought she was beautiful, and I think she’s very happy in Alaska, and I hope she’ll stay there.” Who cares? Is that really worth discussing on a panel?
Some say she’s not good to have around because she covers Republicans in a cloud of reactionary extremism. That’s no longer true. She had a harmful influence in the past, as some voters switched to the Obama ticket when she became McCain’s Vice-Presidential nominee, but is helpful today.
Evidence of her influence to inspire conservatives to get out and vote was her success at propelling tea-party favorites like Joe Miller of Alaska and Christine O’Donnell of Delaware through election primaries.
Her reality show, Sarah Palin’s America, will make her more popular among those who like her, and may cause those with an unfavorable opinion of her to at least reconsider. Do all these things mean she would make a good President?
My favorite response to this question comes from Norman Podhoretz: “the criteria by which she is being judged by her conservative critics…tell us next to nothing about the kind of president she would make” and although “she seems to know very little about international affairs,” “expertise in this area is no guarantee of wise leadership.”
Additionally, “What she does know…is that the United States has been a force for good in the world, which is more than Barack Obama, whose IQ is no doubt higher than hers, has yet to learn.”
We know her values: limited government, fiscal restraint, free-market capitalism, American exceptionalism, and the dignity of human life.
Would she make a good leader? It’s certainly possible.