Byron York wrote at the Washington Examiner of the recent controversy surrounding John McCain’s upcoming memoir, gently admonishing those who might lash out and encouraging all to focus on the good that came of McCain’s service to his country. His conclusion offers this bit of advice, “So which to emphasize in what might be McCain’s final days? Here’s a thought: Why not dwell on the good, especially since it was so good? When someone dies, it really is fitting to look at the best that person did.”
That’s good advice. A report that McCain regretted picking Sarah Palin as his running mate came out in the middle of the news cycle last week. It’s impossible to know if that’s really true. So let’s talk about this good that John McCain did, instead of playing into the media game of wondering whether or not he regrets it.
McCain’s loss to the hopey-changey Obama may have been inevitable, but it would have been far more pronounced had McCain picked Lieberman. With a huge number of conservatives who already were worried that McCain was too friendly with the Democrats, that pick would have knocked all the air out of his campaign. Choosing Palin did the exact opposite. Whether he or his aides know it or not, John McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin was one of the best things he could have done.
John McCain helped a large number of grassroots conservatives become active in Republican politics because he picked Sarah Palin. Palin was the Reaganite we needed to make the ticket viable. Palin was the everymom whom women everywhere in this nation identified with. Those women are still active; they are from Everytown, U.S.A., are now quite wise politically, have incredibly thick skins, and are among the most underutilized and overlooked activists in the nation. Every time Sarah Palin gets punched, so do they.
But we’ve learned from Palin that to be an outspoken female conservative, one will take punches, not from better contenders actually, but from the worst pigs on the lot, because there is no unity in Republican circles, no deference for conservatives, palpable fear of the press, and most of all, no interest in allowing the people to be in charge of their government. The more ordinary people take part in elections, the more flashing red lights go off for the establishment RINOs.
But the good that happened was that we all learned very quickly how the game is played. We all learned quickly that the road of a conservative is always long, hard, uphill, and against the wind. It was a lesson learned while opposing one of the greatest destroyers ever to be elected president, Barack Obama. We did a whole lot, all at once, and are still here.
We also learned that the good press McCain had lasted only as long as he walked the lines the media laid out. His choice of Palin caused a fickle and nasty divorce between McCain and the press. They eventually reconciled, but Palin fought back, coining the term “lamestream media,” and many activists used the shorthand, LSM. She fought back without fear, and they eventually bought property next to her home in order to spy on her! People think the media is obsessed with Trump? She was beaten like a rented mule every time she opened her mouth and twice on Sundays! She was treated like dirt and worse by the media and by the RINO establishment, even when she no longer held political office!
Now look at what is happening: Journalism is destroying itself before our very eyes, loaded with uncurious hangers-on preferring the beltway bubble over the places in America that don’t center around political power and television appearances. We can see them for who they really are because of what they did to Palin and, by extension, to us.
If it wasn’t for our history with Palin, would a Jeb Bush have been kicked to the curb so quickly in 2016? Would the conservative themes Donald Trump used to get elected have been as available for him to speak freely without Palin breaking the trail?
The truth is that picking Palin turned a whole lot of regular folks into super-activists who have not lost their focus and have changed Republican politics for the better — that is, working in every way to take power from the political elite and put it in the hands of the informed public.
Yes, John McCain did some good, and picking Sarah Palin is near the top of the list.
Jen Kuznicki is a contributor to Conservative Review, a blue-collar wife and mom, a political writer, humorist, and conservative activist, a seamstress by trade, and compelled to write. Follow her on Twitter @JenKuznicki.