What's the deal with Sarah Palin?

In Peggy Noonan's WSJ column today, "Palin's Failin'", she is critical of Mrs. Palin saying things like:

"But it's unclear whether she is Bushian or Reaganite. She doesn't think aloud. She just . . . says things."


"She is a person of great ambition, but the question remains: What is the purpose of the ambition? She wants to rise, but what for?"

I would argue that she should ask that question of each of the four candidates under consideration. Allow me to speculate on the answers, from my decidedly non-elite perspective, though I should probably warn you that sometimes I just 'say things'.

John McCain's purposes and ambitions, I believe, are closely tied to his sense of duty and his family tradition of service to America. There may be some feeling of vindication and justification for the time he spent in a Vietnamese prison, but who can argue that he has not earned the opportunity? Of all the candidates, he is the most deserving.

Barack Obama's purpose and ambition is quite simply "fundamental change" in America. All of his arguments, policies and concepts center on "fairness". He believes America is unfair and must be changed, regardless of the potential damage to American principles such as individual freedom, personal responsibility and unlimited opportunity. He feels we must be fair, above all else, regardless of the impact that philosophy has on our economy, our international relationships and the psychology of the citizenry.

Joe Biden's purpose is to keep his job. He has no greater ambition that I can see. How else do you explain 30 years in the Senate without a single major accomplishment outside of continually being re-elected? It's a job with great perks and social standing, but in the end he's just selling good ol' Joe, like he's the latest model from Detroit, to the voters in Delaware.

Sarah Palin's purpose and ambition is possibly the most ambitious of them all. She wants to serve. That's it. Perhaps Ms. Noonan didn't catch it in her acceptance speech, which is odd considering who she specifically addressed the comment to. She said:

"But here's a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country."

Since that speech, what has she said or done to make anyone think that's not a sincere and truthful answer? Perhaps you don't understand the concept of serving others, but Sarah does, and that's why she resonates with the people.

Sarah understands service to others through her public service, her roles of wife and mother and, perhaps most importantly, through her Christian faith. The American people understand service to others, therefore we understand Sarah.

We get it. Do you, Ms. Noonan? What are your purposes and ambitions? What do you do to be "of service"? Does your writing reflect that? If so, then you should understand, too. If not, then perhaps you should work on that, if only to help you understand the answers you've already been given.


  1. Interesting thought. I hadn't heard the "I want to serve" quote before.

    As I'm reading the post, it makes me think about the 7-whys philosophy of a CEO I used to work for (or every conversation I've ever had with a 5-year old)... every time someone makes a statement, ask "Why?". When they reply, ask "Why?" again... and again... and again.

    I think you got down to the deep, honest "Why" of John McCain and that's one of the reasons I like him so much. He wants to do what he feels is right for the country (I can't say I agree with him on what is right for the country, but that's a different discussion all together).

    I think you also got down to a fairly deep level of "Why" for Barak Obama in seeking fairness. While not always the best for us as a nation, it might make the world a better place (again, a completely different discussion). Again, this "Why" is an admirable thing to me.

    When Palin says "I want to serve", I've got 7 layers of whys to ask her. To me, it's a very shallow answer. Is the answer "I want to serve because service gives me power and power allows me to exact revenge on those who I don't like"? (see ongoing ethics violation in Alaska re: firing of her ex-brother-in-law) Is it "I want to serve because I feel a driving need to help the unfortunate?"... Honestly, with Palin, I'm not sure that I know what is driving her.

    I've gotta say the same thing for Joe Biden. I can't discount his 30 years as a legislator so easily just because he doesn't have his name on some major piece of legislation as it takes many cogs to make a machine run smoothly, but he does seem much more of a career politician (as you suggest)... I'm not convinced that it's a good or bad thing... just not as inspiring a base 'Why' as McCain or Obama.

  2. Thanks, Aaron. Good feedback.

    My point is that it is 'service' itself that drives her; I don't perceive an agenda. Is that a bad thing?

    To make a sports analogy, I think she's a team player ... a role player ... the one who is committed to winning and will do whatever is asked of her to help the team achieve their goals ... with the goals being security, prosperity and the protection of our guaranteed freedoms.

    And to stretch the analogy a bit further, yes, I think, if she's called upon, she can lead the team.

    I should, however, have been more clear about my thoughts on the other candidates.

    I think McCain is the most capable candidate for executing the oath of office successfully ... he has the ability and sincere desire to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." I disagree with him on some things, too, but he is the most capable of executing the job requirements.

    I think Obama is an un-vetted radical socialist who has the ability and philosophical will to seriously weaken our country, our constitution, and our safety. At best he is an opportunistic politician. At worst he is an unprincipled fraud committed to remaking our country into a socialist state.

    I think Biden is a paid, professional partisan politician with no ideals, no common sense and no concept of everyday Americans (regardless of how many times he says "Scranton"). He is the perfect symbol of everything that is wrong with congressional leadership today.

    And just to demonstrate that I, too, can 'reach across the aisle' ... John Cornyn is in that same category, and yet, I will be forced to vote for him because we cannot afford to have a Democrat controlled Congress.

    Oh, and as for "troopergate" ... I would have done the same thing, or worse, so who am I to judge?

  3. Ok boys I can tell you why... because she is female, and any married man should not have to constantly be reminded "Don't ever tell a woman she CAN'T do something. She will sneek up and play a trick on ya."