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Welcome to Palinland | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

Welcome to Palinland

With a nod to Rick Perlstein, Welcome to Palinland. Atop Palinland's Mount Rushmore are Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater. Palinland's Bill of Rights has been edited and redacted, reordered and revised with red ink: in Palinland, the Fifth and Sixth Amendments that ensure due process and the rights of the accused are merely suggestive measures to be administered based on the emotional whim of a carefully-harnessed fear and a fervently-stoked anger. And in Palinland, the Tenth Amendment's reservation of power for the individual states is paramount, a necessary protection for a people whose government is supposedly hell-bent on destroying them.

Though Sarah Palin's National Tea Party Convention keynote garnered more robust bursts of applause when she invoked birthday boy Ronald Reagan (he would have been 99), the real sage behind her speech was Barry Goldwater. Careful to sidestep some of Goldwater's more piquant rhetoric, Palin nonetheless delivered a speech steeped in the late Arizonan's extremist brand of conservatism. In his 1960 manifesto The Conscience of a Conservative, Goldwater wrote, "I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden." Palin took an equally extremist anti-Washington/anti-government stance, fulminating against the 2009 Recovery and Reinvestment Act by condemning the "fat strings attached" to federal stimulus dollars and by accusing the Obama administration of baldly using the stimulus as a power grab that "disrespect[s] the Tenth Amendment of our Constitution." (Never mind the denunciation of Miranda Rights that she herself had made minutes earlier.)

Palin continued to further explicate the tenets of Goldwater, Version 2.0, as she spelled out her "common-sense conservatism" platform: "The government that governs least governs best...The constitution provides the best road map towards a more perfect union...Only limited government can expand prosperity and opportunity for all." In Palin's universe, Obama hates the American system of government and represents a threat to American security, prosperity, and freedom.

Welcome to Palinland. You do not have the right to remain silent.

 

 

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