Calvin Freiburger

NEWS FLASH: Governor Palin Knows Stuff About Governing

Posted on April 28 2010 4:00 pm
Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College. He also writes for the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.
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Did you know that Sarah Palin can discuss policy competently?  If you’re a NewsReal regular, the answer is probably “yes,” but seeing the governor as substantive still seems to surprise folks like Frances Martel at Mediaite (who was on the same beat last week). Today’s example: Palin’s appearance on last night’s “Hannity” to discuss immigration and media bias:

PALIN: There is no ability or opportunity in there for the racial profiling. And shame on the lame stream media again for turning this into something that it is not. Governor Jan Brewer did what she had to do as the CEO of that state. To help protect the citizens of her state she had to do what the federal government has refused to do, and that is help secure the borders […] this is quite the illustration of President Obama not understanding the 10th Amendment to our Constitution. Here he ignores the 10th Amendment when it comes to something like Obamacare where he is mandating, he is forcing the state and the state citizens to take action in the case of Obamacare to purchase health care that may be some people aren’t desiring to purchase. He’s making them do that anyway in violation of the 10th Amendment. And yet not respecting our Constitution when it comes to the rights, the responsibilities, too, of the federal government and making a state takeover a national security issue like protecting our borders. He has no concept, it seems, of that 10th Amendment.

(Part 2 here.)

Palin is right—as the Byron York column she and Sean refer to explains, under the law police can’t check a suspect’s immigration status until an officer is “already engaged in some detention of an individual because he’s violated some other law,” and the law’s “reasonable suspicion” provision rests upon well-established case law and cannot solely be justified by race or ethnicity.  But then, if Barack Obama can’t even wait until the Department of Justice reviews the bill before trashing the people of Arizona for supporting it, I guess reading reporting on what the bill really says is also above his pay grade.

Martel agrees, but in doing so, condescendingly says that being the CEO of a state is the “only one aspect of politics, empirically, that Sarah Palin knows about”:

Compared to the folksy buzzword soup she usually cooks up, this was conservative policy at its finest. Who knew the governor had it in her? I didn’t. But last night she proved that her two years in office didn’t pass in vain, and that she does know a thing or two about borders and the Tenth Amendment… She backed up her eloquent points with experience and facts and appeared formidable in her discussion.

I’ll concede that during the 2008 campaign, Palin seemed a little out of her element when it came to issues she never encountered as governor of Alaska, such as the Supreme Court and foreign policy.  But that hardly translates to being an ignoramus—governors deal with almost every aspect of public policy that national politicians do (in fact, if we were still following the Founders’ way of doing things, state leaders would actually have more on their plate than national ones).  I don’t know where Frances Martel has been all this time, but Palin has never been a stranger to substantive policy analysis.

I’ll cut Martel more slack on her other complaint, that Hannity “didn’t let her continue talking about the things she knows,” instead directing the conversation back to the “Palin vs. the Media” narrative, in this case Joe Klein’s (Time Magazine’s Joe Klein, not ours) pitiful attack on Palin as borderline seditious.  It’s unfair to suggest that Palin is obsessed with MSM criticism—how many of the Palin dust-ups over the past couple years have been initiated not by the governor, but by Palin merely responding to someone else asking her a question?—and the media needs to be vigorously fought for their propagandizing, but I can see how the same beats popping up in Palin’s every TV appearance could feed the perception that there is an obsession.  Sean may not be doing her any favors in that regard.

So it turns out Sarah Palin is a politician who knows stuff about politics.  Who would have guessed?  I mean, other than people who aren’t still content to let the mainstream press spoon-feed them their daily dose of “truth.”


Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College.  He also blogs at the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.

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