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The Reagan/Palin Model for Leadership

August 24, 2009

The healthcare fight is far from over. Barack Obama has invested the entirety of his political capital into his aggressive strategy for passing some form of medical socialism during his term. Yet it is clear that the playing field has changed and the Democrats are now completely on the defensive.

Obama's one-time expectations of passing the bill prior to the August recess seem like a sorry parody. Something has drastically altered the debate and dissipated the earlier momentum that once seemed to make nationalized "healthcare" an inevitability.

Certainly, the drastic deflation in the healthcare juggernaut did not result from a coordinated and passionate counterattack from Congressional and Senate Republicans. While some have pressed back with sincerity and vigor, far too many appear unwilling to mount any serious opposition in the face of backlash from liberals on Capitol Hill or their media minions.

Comments such as those of Senate Minority Mitch McConnell (R.-KY), suggest a general Republican timidity in executing a frontal counterattack on pro-socialized healthcare forces. In an August 10 interview on Fox News, McConnell stated, "We'd like to make a deal, but we'd like to make the right kind of deal. I mean this is not about embarrassing anybody politically. This is about getting it right."

Hardly the stuff of impassioned leadership, McConnell's insipid comment reflects a tired and compliant mindset among too many Republicans on Capitol Hill who seem to have forgotten how to relate to the people of the heartland. They may not like the notion of a government takeover of one sixth of the U.S. economy, but neither do they have the collective stomach for a bare-knuckled brawl to prevent its eventuation.

So Americans at the grassroots have mobilized on their own to take on this battle. The Congressional August "Recess," typically a time of low-keyed hobnobbing with constituents back home, has become a horrendous ordeal for liberal Senators and Representatives who have arrogantly assented medical socialism while among their peers inside the Beltway. Rather than visiting the communities and offering appreciative audiences a few platitudes along with the usual promises of some federal pork for local projects, they are regularly confronted by animated groups of protestors, armed most dangerously of all with facts and quotes from the onerous proposed legislation, leaving public officials unable to dodge the truth.

Again, McConnell summed up the situation in rather bland terms "I don't think either side ought to be trying to engage in disrupting meetings." Such a response cannot be taken as serious allegiance to a valiant cause. On this issue as well as with too many others, those Republicans who should be erecting a firewall against the liberal onslaught are instead making only token gestures to identify their stance as being on the right side of the issue.

Yet past and present, certain fearless individuals who, despite a barrage of media ridicule have been exhibiting the qualities of true leadership, are showing how to effectively confront this issue. And by example they reveal the proper manner by which to thwart all of the other inroads on the American ideal from the left. The strategy is not new, and it has a clear track record of success, both for the issue at hand and for the political benefit of the individuals who champion it. As such it should be considered and embraced by principled officeholders who are not intimidated at the prospect of liberal media derision.

In 1961, Ronald Reagan made an actual LP record of his commentary opposing socialized medicine that is currently being widely circulated throughout the Internet. It is profound in two respects. First, its pertinence, on a point-by-point basis, to the topic in its current form, four dozen years after Reagan discussed it, proves that the principles of right versus left, and conservatism as a safeguard against the liberal deconstruction of America still stand as they always have. Secondly, by his courageous willingness to strike hard at the issue, Reagan contributed to its ultimate defeat.

Fast forward to 2009, and another bold and courageous public figure once again sets the right example. Former Alaska Governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, making good on her promise to carry the torch for conservatism, accurately and bluntly characterized one provision of the socialized healthcare bill as "death panels," to describe bureaucratic boards empowered to make "end of life" decisions for elderly and acutely ill patients.

When making her pronouncement, Palin could have had no illusions about the tenor of ensuing criticism she received. The liberal media punditry did not temper its scorn for her as it sought on numerous occasions to trivialize and even deny her contention. Yet it quickly became evident that such efforts were not advancements of the liberal standard, but defensive reactions. Barack Obama himself responded, insisting that the characterization was false.

Many contended that no such provisions existed in any form of the bill. In the end however, the "nonexistent" verbiage was removed from the existing version of the legislation.

Clearly, Palin's bold assessment of this glaring and dangerous aspect of the envisioned government "healthcare" program has hit its mark. It is obvious that America's senior citizens have heard the alarm she sounded and are responding to it. Sixty thousand seniors have quit the AARP upon their realization of that organization's undeniably leftist agenda, and nobody can credibly deny Palin's educating effect on them.

If real America does not lose heart, and continues to express its righteous outrage, the Congress, despite Democrat majorities, will have to listen to the people and this issue can be defeated. Real conservative leadership is needed to stay the course in defeating this as well as every other clammy tentacle of liberal government expansion. Once again, Sarah Palin has shown the way.

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Copyright ©2009 Christopher G. Adamo

Christopher G. Adamo is a resident of southeastern Wyoming and has been involved in state and local politics for many years. He writes for several prominent conservative websites, and has written for regional and national magazines. He is currently the Chief Editorial Writer for The Proud Americans, an advocacy group for America’s seniors, and for all Americans. His contact information and article archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com, and he can be followed on Twitter @CGAdamo.