Some media commentary on Sarah Palin continues to amuse me quite a bit.
There are those who love to talk about how irrelevant she is — usually in the midst of a lengthy blog post or column that obsesses about something Palin recently said or tweeted.
There are those who continue to distort her record, despite the surplus her policies afforded Alaska and a list of accomplishments that includes substantial spending reductions, incentivizing and expanding drilling for oil and natural gas, investing in state savings, and a commitment to transparency, ethics reform, and tackling corruption.
And there are an array of “tell-all” books soon to come out that will attempt to discredit both her character and her record. They will try their hardest to reinforce pre-existing media-fed hype about who Palin is, what kind of a leader she was as governor, and what kind of a leader she could be for America. Some of the authors are ideologically driven. Others are driven by the hope that having the words “Sarah Palin” in their books’ titles will put money in their pockets.
Palin’s plans with respect to a 2012 presidential run remain to be seen, but rest assured that plenty of haters are already working overtime to distort and deceive. Their hope is to tarnish the attributes Palin appears to possess that have resonated with so many Americans — a down-to-earth authenticity, an expertise with respect to energy issues, an unshakeable faith in God and an equally strong commitment to her family, as well as a genuine concern for the struggles of regular, hard-working Americans, to name just a few.
Some Palin-haters will twist and turn the truth in an effort to promote and solidify the caricature of Palin that so many on the left, in the GOP establishment, and in the media elite have worked so hard to perfect. Others will continue to ignore her written and spoken commentary on matters of supreme national and international importance, opting instead to cling to any word or phrase she utters that can somehow be generated into a traffic-grabbing — and image-busting — headline.
And as many of us have come to learn, there’s a separate set of rules for Sarah Palin. If she ignores deceptive attacks against her, her family, or her record, some will say she’s weak or guilty as charged. If she responds to the attacks, they will insist she’s thin-skinned or playing the victim. You know the drill.
But the passion on the part of some to try to tear her down is like nothing I’ve seen in my lifetime. I don’t always catch a glimpse of the woman who scares the daylights out of them. But every now and then I do.
I caught it during my telephone interview with her in November. She was bold, but approachable, completely unapologetic about her principles, and spontaneous in her responses. Despite her success with respect to 2010 candidate endorsements and otherwise, she was decidedly humble and unwilling to take credit for so many of the victories she played an enormous part in. That humility, coupled with a refusal to spew preset talking points, must be awfully unnerving to those who are pre-programmed to say this or that and/or are driven by a “me, myself, and I” mindset.
I also saw a glimpse of the woman who terrifies some when I met her in person at the Long Island Association’s February 2011 Annual Meeting and Luncheon. There’s absolutely nothing about her — from the way she greets you to the tone of her exchanges — that fits into the mold of “conventional politician.” I suppose that must be terribly frustrating to those who struggle so hard to stand out, but don’t … because when it comes down to it, they’re not all that different from the rest.
And, perhaps most significantly, I saw a glimpse of the woman so many fear when I recently revisited her 2007 State of the State Address. If you haven’t watched it, you should. There’s a passion she possesses to cut through the garbage and get things done, as well as an ability to connect with people without even trying. She’s not telling you what she thinks you want to hear. She’s simply telling you what she thinks.
A liberal Manhattan acquaintance of mine recently hit the nail on the head: “The thing about Palin that’s so scary is that she actually means what she says. She actually believes it. And she’ll do it. She’ll make it happen.”
To borrow the words of the first female governor of Alaska, “Game on.”
Jedediah Bila is a conservative columnist, television commentator and author of the new book Outnumbered: Chronicles of a Manhattan Conservative. For more information on Jedediah, please visit jedediahbila.com. Follow Jedediah on Twitter.