Founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator, R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., explored Sarah Palin’s knack for picking conservative winners in the May print edition of the magazine. Last month’s cover story, which is now available without charge in the digital edition, begins, in substance at least, with the frequently leveled charge that the former Alaska chief executive resigned her governorship too early in her term. While Tyrell doesn’t delve into the reasons why she left office (nuisance lawsuits filed against her had saddled Palin with what eventualy amounted to $600,000 in legal fees, and her yearly salary at the time was just $125,000), he notes that he can’t think of anyone in modern political history who has left such a job and transitioned into freelance politics “as potently as Palin has.”
THAT POINT WAS UNDERSCORED by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who gave CPAC’s closing speech. He made a surprise early appearance in the hall to introduce Palin and used the moment to remind the conservative faithful that she “jumped in early” and supported Rand Paul, just as she had supported Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, and a South Carolina congressman named Tim Scott—who has just been elevated to the Senate by Governor Nikki Haley, whom Palin had also supported.
“And,” Cruz added, “this last election cycle there were three Republicans who won new seats—Deb Fischer, Jeff Flake, and myself. She supported all three of them. Let me tell you something. I would not be in the U.S. Senate today if it were not for Governor Sarah Palin.”
Tyrell points out that this would be old news, if “winners Sarah Palin plucked from obscurity” were not having “an enormous impact.”
“It’s the Rubio and Rand Party, now,” is the way Politico worded the headline over the dispatch [in April] by its own stars, Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen. “Want to know if Republicans finally back immigration reform, stand a chance of picking up Senate seats in the midterms, or get their act together by 2016?” they write. “Instead of the GOP, watch the Rubio-Paul Party.”
They went on to suggest that one could forget Karl Rove and the Speaker of the House, John Boehner. They didn’t mention Palin by name. They didn’t need to. “The real action in the GOP is coming from the newest wing of the party, the one born in the spring of 2009—the offspring of Tea Party activists who almost single-handedly propelled Republicans to control of the House.”
Editor Tyrrell’s money quote is, “Palin’s candidates, it would seem, are ascendant, while the so-called Republican establishment is rushing to catch up.” He also observes that critics of the first woman to be both Alaska’s governor and the Republican Party’s vice presidential candidate hold her to a different standard than any other political figure:
She’s expected to have a 100 percent success rate, at least on the Senate side. (Imagine if such an expectation had been applied to Bob Shrum!) It’s true that a few of Palin’s picks—O’Donnell, Angle, and Miller among them—have ended badly. But her Senate winners—Paul, Cruz, Lee, Ayotte, Toomey, Rubio—are responsible for most of the intellectual ferment in the chamber today.
Tyrrell concludes that “with the possible exception of Ron Paul, no political figure has done as much to sculpt the GOP’s new constitutional conservatism as Sarah Palin” and underscores the obvious: “Rand, Rubio, Cruz…we think it’s safe to say most Republicans would kill to have a rack like that.”
Read the full article at The American Spectator.