At least since the 2008 Republican National Convention, where I had the good fortune to be present, when the then-Governor of Alaska, our party’s nominee for Vice President gave a stem-winder of a speech, I have compared that good woman to the Gipper.
Like that great man, she has a natural stage presence, a certain dynamism, an appreciation and affection for the ideas which define our nation, and a heart-felt optimism about its future.
Unlike Reagan, however, she lacks an education in the depth and breadth of conservative political philosophy. Before his famous speech on behalf of then-GOP presidential nominee Barry Goldwater in 1964, he had spent years reading widely and reflecting on what he was learning. Only after he had educated himself did he launch himself onto the political scene.
And now Palin, with great energy and incredible effect, is so launching herself. She is doing a lot of good for the GOP, but she is also delaying her own return to a position of leadership. She inspires us, she motivates us, but she needs better educate herself before she can lead us.
But, maybe that’s not her goal. Maybe she relishes her role as the Reaganite rallying the rank and file around his ideas and vision. Commenting on her appeal in his list of influential Republicans, Chris Cillizza writes, “There simply is no bigger figure in the Republican party than Palin. Where she goes, crowds and enthusiasm follow. But, there is a difference between enthusiasm and influence.”
I’m glad she’s out there, stumping for our team. She is helping promote the ideas of Ronald Reagan. But, if she wants to follow in his footsteps, she’s got some larnin’ to do.