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Should Palin be Conservative of the Year?

January 5, 2009

The influential conservative newspaper Human Events has named Alaska Governor and Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin "Conservative of the Year." For embracing the vocation of motherhood and articulating conservative Christian views as a political figure, she deserves the title. But it turns out that she is not so conservative on some critical economic and international issues.

We had asserted during the campaign that "Palin is a target and possibly in harm's way because she is being perceived as someone who can take a bold stand against George Soros and his nightmare vision and turn the country around on such critical [culture of life] issues." Soros is a major funder of the Democratic Party and its causes, including abortion and homosexual rights. Soros also funds groups promoting legalization of drugs and rights for prostitutes and criminals.

It turns out that Palin was in harm's way. Her home church in Alaska, the Wasilla Bible Church, which had been criticized by liberal media outlets as too conservative on matters such as abortion and homosexuality, was badly damaged in an arson fire on December 12. There were no injuries or deaths related to the incident but five women and children were inside the church when the fire started. Agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have joined the investigation but no arrests have been made.

Palin is not easily intimidated and can continue to be a major spokesperson on cultural and social problems. But based on her interview with Human Events political editor John Gizzi on the occasion of her getting the "Conservative of the Year" award, Palin could find it difficult to be taken seriously among conservatives on critical national security and economic matters. These are absolutely important if she intends to pursue a political career on the national stage.

For example, Palin defends her support of the $700-billion Wall Street bailout, even though she admits she was misled by those who promoted it. What's more, she has supported the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty, which transfers oil, gas and mineral resources to the world organization and figures to be a major legislative initiative of the Obama Administration. All major conservative organizations concerned with U.N. and national security issues oppose this dangerous treaty. As President, Ronald Reagan also opposed it.

Gizzi, a veteran reporter who knows the issues of concern to conservatives, got quickly to the point: "In campaigning for Sen. [Saxby] Chambliss, you brought back a lot of conservatives who had been critical of him for voting for the Wall Street bailout [of financial institutions]. Would you have favored the Wall Street bailout and voted as Sen. Chambliss did?"

Palin replied, in part: "I would have done what the GOP [senators] did yesterday and said 'no' to additional bailout efforts of one industry...But back then, weeks ago, when that initial bailout [of financial institutions] was proposed, remember, it was considered at the time a rescue and not necessarily a bailout. Without having as much information as everyone has now, I did support that initial effort that was going to come from Congress."

Palin says she did not have "as much information" as she needed to make a decision. So why did she support the bill? What additional information did she need? With $700 billion on the line, why didn't she withhold judgment? Or else why didn't she oppose the bill until she had the right information?

Support for the bailout was clearly inconsistent with the Republican Party platform that McCain and Palin were supposed to be running on. That platform declared, "We do not support government bailouts of private institutions. Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself. We believe in the free market as the best tool to sustained prosperity and opportunity for all."

Recently, however, Republican President George W. Bush shocked conservatives by declaring that, "I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system." This was the basic problem with the Wall Street and other bailouts. Palin could have broken with McCain and Bush and opposed it. She did not. But she is not yet prepared to admit that she made a big mistake.

Palin did suggest to Gizzi that she had been fooled, and that the "rules" of the bailout were changed after it was passed by Congress. But she did not disavow her support of it.

It is important to note that the majority of House Republicans voting against the bailout had enough information, in their view, to make the correct decision.

Palin also made a strange comment regarding the handling of her campaign as John McCain's running mate. She said, "I was in a campaign in which I did not know the people individually running the campaign. So I had to put my life, my career, my family, and my reputation in their hands. That's kind of a scary thing to do when you don't know the people you are working with."

She may have been referring to the embarrassing spectacle of McCain staffers arranging for Palin to attend a U.N. meeting, rub elbows with people like Henry Kissinger, and have a telephone conversation with rich rock star Bono about global poverty. Or she could have been referring to the badly handled interviews with media personalities Charles Gibson and Katie Couric that were arranged by McCain staffers, who had badly prepared her for the grilling. Indeed, she told Gizzi, "The biggest mistake made was that I could have called more shots on this: the opportunities that were not seized to speak to more Americans via media. I was not allowed to do very many interviews, and the interviews that I did were not necessarily those I would have chosen."

We had said early on that that she should have started her media blitz after being selected as a vice-presidential candidate by going on conservative talk radio shows rather than network evening news programs. But Palin went along with the McCain program.

Right now, Palin tells Gizzi, "my focus is on Alaska and a lot of the energy projects we are working on." But America 's energy projects in this region could be thwarted by ratifying the U.N.'s Law of the Sea Treaty. Palin is a supporter of that treaty, having argued in a September 13, 2007, letter that we need the U.N. document to get access to oil, gas and mineral resources off the coast of Alaska. This view is shared by many Alaska politicians.

But Palin's letter ignores historical and legal U.S. claims to the resources in the Arctic region. American explorers were the first to reach the North Pole in the early 1900s, and our submarines were under the Pole 50 years before the Russians got there. The Law of the Sea Treaty puts a U.N. bureaucracy and court with Russian and Chinese members in the position of deciding whether the U.S. will get access to those resources. This seems like a strange way of safeguarding American interests.

As the late conservative leader Paul Weyrich put it, in one of several columns he wrote against the treaty, "Should Americans place their future in the hands of their enemies?"

The treaty also authorizes the U.N. to charge for access to those resources. As such, it constitutes a source of global taxation for the corrupt United Nations.

Before serious damage is done to Palin's reputation among conservatives, someone should inform Palin about why most conservatives opposed the Law of the Sea Treaty and the Wall Street bailout. My own group has sent a letter asking Palin to reverse her position on the treaty.

As a vice-presidential candidate, Palin took a courageous stand for life and against the Soros agenda for America . But her positions on the Wall Street bailout and the Law of the Sea Treaty could make or break her political career.  

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