One of my senators, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), was quoted in a USA Today article yesterday sharing his thoughts on Governor Sarah Palin’s resignation:

I would think, if you want to run for president — and I’m not sure that’s got anything to do with what she’s doing — that the forum of a governorship would be a better forum than just being a private citizen.

Now Senator Grassley is certainly entitled to his opinion, and I don’t see anything unfair in his total remarks about Governor Palin.  No, what I take umbrage with is the phrase, “just being a private citizen.”  This has become a meme the last few days.  I would just like to remind Senator Grassley, and those who disparage private citizens, at least three potential GOP candidates are now private citizens – Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich.

I don’t think anyone would diminish their chances because of their current position as private citizen.  Taking Governor Palin out of the picture, because I think this is really a larger issue than a potential Palin presidential campaign, is the thought that one can only bring change if they are in government service.

This is ludicrous, and it is a meme that needs to get stomped down in the GOP right away.

Jim Prevor at the Weekly Standard is spot on with his assessment:

Is it necessary to say that the good senator, now 28 years in Washington, D.C., has it precisely reversed? That Republicans believe that the bosses are the private citizens, that the people who work in D.C. and the state capitals are employees who the private citizens have hired to manage their affairs for a period of time.

Such aggrandizement of governmental office is unbecoming a conservative.

Senator Grassley who is known for visiting all 99 counties in Iowa every year (unlike his counterpart, Senator Tom Harkin, who only seems to visit when he is fundraising or campaigning) should have a better feel for the base.  If he doesn’t then it is time to retire.  Private citizens are the ones who put elected officials in office.  Private citizens are the ones who push government to change (Tea Parties anyone?).  Private citizens are responsible for most watershed moments throughout not only U.S. History, but World History as well.

Prevor continues reminding us of something that Ronald Regan said that those in government service should never forget:

But the base of the Republican party does not believe that one can only serve the public good by being a government employee.

When Ronald Reagan explained that “government can’t solve the problem, government is the problem,” he was not expressing some kind of “the state, my enemy” philosophy, he was just explaining that the solutions to our problems will not come, cannot come, from the government; it is only the imagination and industry of the citizenry that can build our future.

Not to diminish the role that governors can play, but let’s not disparage the role of private citizen.  Government typically causes more problems than it solves, and private citizens have to deal with the consequences and help to provide the solution.

Senator Grassley, you should know better.

8 comments
  1. I am interested in how you would respond Shane to this comment left by Bill on my post about Palin's resignation:

    “I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt unless she proves otherwise. I suspect she became burned out and frustrated over the fact that she has lost a lot of popularity amongst Alaskans and she is now a lame duck Governor. Only one of the 12 bills she has introduced in the Alaskan legistlation has passed since the National Election. Apparently both parties within her state have turned against her and her popularity amongst Alaskans has dropped 30 points in the polls in the last eight months. I bring this up, in part, because, Palin and many of her supporters frequently assert that her problems are primarily due to the “liberal media” but apparently it isn't only the media that questions her qualifications.”

  2. Well he cites factual information that I can't dispute. She has dropped in the polls, but she also fell from an usual high of 85% (thereabouts) approval rating (that was bound to drop). She still has a approval rating on par with what President Obama has. She was still favored to win re-election if she decided to run – her's was considered a “safe seat.” What really changed between July, 2008 to when that last poll was taken? Nothing. Her agenda was the same. Her commitment to the state was still the same (she hardly left, and when she did she was always plugging Alaska). The thing that changed was suddenly partisan politics entered the mix. Democrats who once supported no longer felt they could because she had been the VP candidate. There is a wing of the GOP in Alaska that has never supported her, and they were positioning themselves. The local media kept painting her as focused on national politics too much, but I can hardly see how that is the case, especially when comparing her to other governors.

    Also, there was some fallout over her refusing some of the stimulus money.

    Essentially I don't see her changing as much as the atmosphere in Alaska changing. I agree that her decision to resign was the right thing to do for her state. She had a friend who was interviewed that said with all of the FOIA & ethics charges that “the state was essentially paying her to defend herself.” How you could possibly get anything done in that environment is beyond me. So having her Lt. Governor step in who will pursue the same policies and isn't a political lightning rod will be a good thing I think.

    So regarding qualifications – how does one become less qualified to be governor serving eight more month? She also is in the crosshairs from DNC as well. Anyway, that's how I would respond.

  3. LOL, yes but I mean in a good way for both her and the state. I really do think she resigned because she thought it was in her family and state's best interest. I really don't think presidential politics factored into this at all.

  4. As I said on my blog today, I think that it was great that she left on her own terms.. after all it is only a job.. Alaska will do just fine with a new leader.

  5. Never know.. he may be much more effective than Palin.. or not.. guess we will know in a year or so. Maybe he will run for the presidency in 2012 or 2016.. stranger things have happened.

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