ESR's Person of the Year for 2008
By Steven Martinovich
The last few years of our Person of the Year Award have seen several strong candidates compete for the honour. I haven't been able to say this for a few years: This year it wasn't even close.
That's not to say we didn't have several credible vote getters. Ron Paul, our 1997 winner, once again received many votes. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, our 2006 co-winner, also ran hard thanks to his saving of a Conservative government from an attempt to form leftist coalition. Canadian writer Ezra Levant also received his fair share of votes for his free speech battle. Heck, even Barack Obama received some serious and tongue-in-cheek votes. And deservedly so since the man did make some history in November and must be given his due.
But the winner wasn't in question after the first few dozen votes were counted and I doubt her win will come as a surprise to you. Our Person of the Year for 2008 is none other than Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
To say that Gov. Palin wasn't a figure on the national scene prior to her selection as Sen. John McCain's running mate would be fair. While there were those in the conservative movement who had been talking her up for some time, the majority of Americans outside of Alaska likely had little idea who the hockey mom turned vice presidential candidate was. Thanks to the mainstream media, they probably still don't.
Gov. Palin was ridiculed by the press but we have a feeling that laughter masked a very deep fear. Few people have exploded onto the national scene as she did to the rapturous joy of a political party. With one stroke Sen. McCain revitalized his campaign, albeit temporarily, and re-earned the support of his base. Gov. Palin became an instant media star, drawing crowds just as large as Barack Obama's. And unlike Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joseph Biden, she could claim administrative and legislative experience. In fact, a lot more than either of them.
And that's probably what the media and the Democrats were so afraid of. After a team of lawyers and investigators sent to Juneau and Wasilla could turn up no scandals, the left resorted to their classic tactic to smear Republicans: intelligence. With the exception of Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush, virtually every presidential and vice presidential candidate in recent memory has been described as ignorant or moronic. With Gov. Palin, they took it to new heights. Even comments made by comedians like Tina Fey were attributed to her. By the time November 4 rolled around, the average American likely thought Gov. Palin couldn't tie her own shoe laces.
And yet they're still in fear of her. They continue to attack her despite the fact that she's returned back to her job as a popular governor of a state most people don't take notice of. They continue to smear her every chance possible because they know that two things haven't changed since she was nominated: The Republican Party remains in love with her and the American people still think she has something to offer. They feel it on an instinctual level because they know that Gov. Sarah Palin is one of them. Not a New York media hound, Washington, D.C. elite or Georgetown dinner party regular, but someone who goes to work every day, is family centered and has faith in both God and her country.
Anyone who can make the political left's head explode as she did, is doing something right. – A voter
John McCain lost the presidential election last year but we can say with certainty that Sarah Palin won the soul of the conservative movement and the Republican Party. We don't know what her plans for 2012 or 2016 are but we do hope that Alaska's bet asset doesn't decide to stay in Juneau for good. Conservatives, and the United States, need her too much.