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L. Neil Smith's
Number 485, September 21, 2008

"The American Empire, like all empires, is about to end."

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Sarah Palin Needs to Step Aside
...And James Dobson is just a Sorry Religious Hustler

by Doug Newman

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

I commend Bristol Palin on deciding to go through with her pregnancy and her plans to marry Levi Johnston. I also commend Sarah Palin for not rushing her daughter off to an abortionist because a pregnant, unwed 17-year-old daughter might tarnish her political image.

That said, Sarah Palin needs to step aside and let someone else be John McCain's vice presidential nominee.

In a constitutional world, vice presidents would have a simple job with just two duties: break ties in the Senate and hope and pray that the president doesn't meet an untimely demise.

We do not live in such a world. The vice presidency, like every other aspect of the federal government, has grown grotesquely out of control. Indeed, you can safely say that George HW Bush ran the show for Reagan and Dick Cheney has done likewise for Dubya.

By accepting John McCain's offer, Sarah Palin stepped out of the relative serenity of Juneau—31,000 people and two McDonald's—and into a political shark tank that will only become infinitely more unforgiving in the coming months and years.

Is it "unfair" that Palin's personal life is being so heavily scrutinized? Was it "unfair" when so many people made so much of Bill Clinton's personal life? (And why do we hear next to nothing about John McCain's sordid, philandering past?) Every politician ought to have their life pried apart in such a fashion. Especially in today's world when you consider how intrusively they micromanage our lives. Have you filled out one of their 1040s recently?

No human being ought to be entrusted with as much power as we allow our presidents and VPs. When you pull back the curtain and you meet these Great and Powerful Ozzes, you find bumbling incompetent dolts. They are no better or smarter than you or I. Why are we so desperate to elevate these people to such levels of power and glory?

I have heard people ask what would happen had Bristol Palin been a black girl in the ghetto. She no doubt would not have the financial cushion she will very likely have access to. She would be been written off by all the Republican media jabberers as a product of 75 years of liberalism. But no-o-o-o-o. Her mom has just been tapped to run as VP representing the GOP, which many think stands for God's Official Party. So just sit down and shut up if you have any questions about anyone's personal life.

It is bad enough that family breakdown has produced such tragic results in the inner city. How many prison inmates and gang bangers came from a stable family environment with both Mom and Dad having a solid influence in their lives?

While suburban kids might not face the same financial challenges as their ghetto counterparts, I have seen too many bad things happen when parents overemphasize careers at the expense of their children. Time and again, I have seen kids from affluent suburban backgrounds in places like the Jersey Shore, north suburban Phoenix and south suburban Denver go off the deep end. In every case, there was a dearth of parental involvement at home.

Yes, plenty of kids of dysfunctional homes have turned out just fine. But when a kid's life spins out of control, they almost always have had more than a few issues at home.

The fallout for these kids manifests itself in numerous ways, with teen pregnancy being just one of them. What did Sarah Palin sacrifice to advance her political career? I am not judging or condemning. I am just asking.

A hundred years ago, it was perfectly legal for a 10-year-old to walk into a drug store, plop down cash and buy heroin. And we had no drug problem! Why? Because parents and churches had a far stronger influence instilling morals and responsibility in children.

Today, the divorce rate is well over 50 percent, too many parents run off in every direction imaginable at the expense of their children, and way too many preachers think and talk like politicians whining, weeping and wailing about how the government doesn't do enough to solve problems. America's moral collapse has less to do with a "failure of government" than a failure of way too many people to heed the words of a bumper sticker one sees from time to time along Colorado's Front Range: "Focus on your own damn family." (More on the Focus thing in a few paragraphs.)

I have never raised kids, so anything I say on the subject is just an opinion and worth no more than you are paying me for it. However, I am going to pretend for a minute that I write an advice column.

"Dear Dougie,

"I have been a successful professional woman for the last 15 years. I earn $175,000 annually. Recently, I received an offer from a competitor that would more than double my income, but would also require almost constant travel. I have a four-month-old daughter with Downs Syndrome and a 17-year-old daughter who is four months pregnant. What should I do?"
—Tempted in Scarsdale

"Dear Tempted,
"Family comes first. No one can adequately substitute for your influence and presence around the home. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Children spell love T-I-M-E. (1) You should reject this financially tantalizing offer and tend to your most important duties, i.e. those of a mother."

As VP, Sarah Palin would be one heartbeat away from the presidency. Should something happen to a President McCain early on in his administration, can you imagine this scenario that I heard on the radio the other day?

"Madame President! You have a call on the red phone from Russia!"
"Could you please take a message? I am changing a diaper."

You only have 24 hours in a day. Something has to give. Sarah Palin has children that desparately need her presence right now. The Palin family cannot afford this.

I am just asking questions about a vice presidential nominee that are asked all the time about families out here in real life. America doesn't suffer from a "lack of leadership in Washington"—barf—nearly as much as it does from family breakdown. No president or "policy" can reverse this. Politics is merely a great big game of "let's pretend". The "family values" agenda is no exception.

Enter James Dobson of Focus on the Family. I used to have a lot of respect for Dobson back when his main focus, if you will, was on families, marriage, child rearing and Christian morals and values. Occasionally, he gave you a political opinion. That was his prerogative.

Then, he joined Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and the rest of the Religious Right and yoked himself unequally with some of the most un-Christlike people you can imagine. Millions of Christians followed him by drinking this Kool-Aid.

Earlier this year, Dobson said there was no way he could support John McCain for president. Then, he warmed up to the idea. Now, with the Palin nomination, Dobson and Focus have jumped right on board. Tom Minnery, a senior Focus official cited "'the pro-life, pro-family platform adopted by the party,' and the selection of Palin."

If she becomes VP, Sarah Palin is going to have to make some serious sacrifices in the family department. She stands to be gone from them almost continuously for up to eight years. Her "values" will have to be put on hold.

Don't dare think that Sarah Palin is Ron Paul Lite. Establishment Republicans went out of their way to deny Ron Paul's very existence. There is no way they would pick anyone of his ilk to be VP.

Dobson has become just one more sorry religious hustler. While, he may not have a fleet of Lamborghinis or a private jet, he has used his Christian influence for a most un-Christian purpose: seducing millions of Christians into endorsing evil in high places. To hear some people talk here in Colorado, Dobson's words have the weight of Holy Writ.

I got an e-mail recently from someone who thought that Dobson actually supported McCain the whole time and that he just wanted to be schmoozed. I can get with that. Dobson positively basks in his newfound role of Christian political crusader.

Sarah Palin needs to step aside. In the eyes of God, her duties as a mother are far more important than her political career. In so doing, she would be a far greater role model—and a far greater antithesis to Hillary Clinton—than she could ever be as VP. Edward VIII abdicated the British throne "for the woman he loved." Why can't Sarah Palin do likewise for the sake of her family?

One of our earliest lurches away from true constitutionalism was the Twelfth Amendment. Until then, the VP was not the president's running mate, but the person who got the second most votes in the Electoral College. If they had radically differing philosophies, oh well. This served as a brake on executive power.

Now, the VP's role is to do the will of the president. Whatever independent, libertarian or constitutionalist principles Sarah Palin may have held must now be subordinated to the will of John McCain. In the words of Lew Rockwell:

"When a decent person accepts a job such as vice president, our first instinct is to celebrate that good people are in a position of power and influence. This is what the McCain campaign is counting on. But this is an illusion. The influence runs completely the other way. Good people become part of the party machine and surrender all their principles in order to survive.

"We are speaking here of the leviathan state that lives on a lie. To be part of that, you too must become part of the lie. It is perhaps possible to be the governor of a small state such as Alaska and not be part of the machine. It is not possible to be vice president of the United State and not enter into the deeply immoral arena that values the burying of all principle, and saying and doing whatever is necessary to bolster power."

Sarah Palin is walking into the gears of a machine that will grind her into pieces for its own ends. It will require enormous courage for her to walk away with her soul intact. Yet this is what she needs to do and do now if she truly is the genuine article.


(1) While these last two sentences are not my original ideas, I sure wish they were.

Author's note: I have been slammed with e-mail on this piece. Some unlikely people have called it sexist. To them I say: I would have been far harsher on any man who left his family at such a time to pursue political glory.

If you would like to post this, please e-mail me and include this URL.


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