Give ‘Em Hell, Sarah

Posted on 15 September 2010

In 1948, during a speech by Harry S. Truman criticizing his Republican opponents during the 1948 Presidential election campaign, a supporter yelled out, “Give ’em Hell, Harry!”  Truman replied, “I don’t give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it’s Hell.”  Last night in the state of Delaware, Sarah Palin yet again flexed her political muscles and helped conservative candidate Christine O’Donnell defeat liberal Republican Mike Castle in the GOP’s primary for the United States Senate.

As the 2010 mid-term elections rapidly approach, the influence of Palin and the Tea Party Movement on the Republican Party and its slate of candidates has been telling.  From the outcome of a number of tightly contested races between Palin and Tea Party backed candidates against high-profile incumbents and party regulars, it is clear who and what commands the hearts and minds of the GOP’s voter base.

Like the Tea Party Movement, Palin is a study in contrasts, a gun-toting, moose-hunting mom of five, including a special needs baby with Down Syndrome.  She is a former beauty queen and hockey mom turned public servant and political reformer.  Her family exhibits many of the problems and dysfunctions that plague many American families.  Yet, like Harry Truman, she is a plain-talker, straight-shooter, and breath of fresh Alaskan air on the American political scene.

Her plain talk, frequent gaffes, and seeming naiveté in matters of state and international affairs hurt the McCain-Palin ticket in its bid for control of the executive branch of government in 2008.  Yet, her candor, personality, and unwavering support for conservative principles, coupled with vicious personal attacks by her political opposition and many in the liberal media, endeared her to millions of Americans.

Whether one likes her or not, it is inarguable that Palin has emerged as a major force in the Republican Party and American politics.  And, as she accumulates political capital from her support of candidates like O’Donnell, one wonders if Palin intends to expend that capital in an attempt to achieve her party’s Presidential nomination and face off against Barack Obama in 2012 as the first major party female candidate for our nation’s highest office.

One thing is certain: should she decide to pursue her party’s nomination, she will present a unique and formidable challenge to any and all opposing her.  And, if she does, I suspect that, regardless of party affiliation, somewhere Harry Truman will be smiling.

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