By Gary P Jackson
Sarah Palin is giving the keynote address Friday night at the Reagan Ranch, honoring Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday. She will be discussing Reagan's most iconic speech. In 1964 Reagan spoke just days before the election on behalf of Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. This speech, titled "A Time For Choosing" has become so iconic, so powerful, and so quoted, that it has come to be know as simply "The Speech."
Byron York writes about this and makes the point this speech is tailor made for Sarah to talk about. She is the very essence of Ronald Reagan, and embodies all of the greatness that Reagan talked about in "The Speech."
Here's a bit of what Byron has to say:
LOS ANGELES There's nothing more valuable for a Republican presidential candidate than a link to the legacy of Ronald Reagan. Do GOP primary voters see in a candidate some of the qualities they admire in the 40th president? Do they sense a similar style of leadership? A comparable resolve? Being seen as Reaganesque is at least one leg up in any primary contest.
Which makes it interesting that the GOP politician who will have the most prominent role in celebrating Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday here in Southern California this weekend is Sarah Palin. On Friday night, the 2008 vice presidential candidate, an unquestionably divisive presence among Republicans, will deliver an address at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara -- an address modeled, no less, on Reagan's famous 1964 speech, "A Time for Choosing," that made him a star in the party.
"We can think of no one more fitting to honor our time's greatest defender of freedom, Ronald Reagan," says Ron Robinson, head of the conservative Young America's Foundation, which owns and runs Rancho del Cielo, Reagan's old ranch in the Santa Ynez mountains. "Governor Palin understands that freedom in our nation now stands on the precipice. She knows what Ronald Reagan knew: 'Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.' "
Palin's high-wattage appearance at the Ranch Center event stands in contrast to events at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. The library is the official, establishment repository of the Reagan legacy, and it will host veterans of the Reagan administration this weekend for a concert and military-flavored celebration of the centennial. There will be video tributes from both Presidents Bush, as well as appearances by close Reagan associates like Edwin Meese. But you won't see a hot-button presence like Palin.
The Ranch Center and the Library -- only 60 miles apart and both dedicated to serving Reagan's principles -- don't always see eye to eye. In some ways, the events that the groups are holding this weekend mirror a division both in the Reagan legacy and in the Republican party today: the continuing clash between establishment and insurgent conservatism.
There were plenty of divisions inside the Reagan White House. Some of the president's most iconic acts -- for example, the 1987 speech in Berlin in which he said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" -- were the subject of deep disagreements within his administration. "Most of his senior aides didn't want him to say it," writes Reagan biographer Steven Hayward. "Indeed, they tried repeatedly to talk him out of it." But Reagan rejected the safe advice, went bold, and his words are remembered as an act of greatness.
At the Ranch Center, Palin will take another iconic Reagan text as her subject. "A Time for Choosing" was Reagan's case for the presidential candidacy of Barry Goldwater, delivered a few days before the 1964 election. Speaking to a studio audience in Los Angeles, Reagan painted a stark choice between a government headed toward socialism and one dedicated to freedom. "This is the issue of this election," Reagan said. "Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves."
"It's time we ask ourselves," Reagan continued, "if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers."
Does that sound familiar today? Watch Reagan's speech -- it's available on YouTube and elsewhere on the Web -- and you'll be struck both by the freshness of its message and the sternness of Reagan's delivery. This was not the soft-voiced grandfatherly man people remember from the White House years. This was Ronald Reagan in his prime -- he was 53 at the time -- delivering a hard-edged message.
It's also a message custom-fit for Sarah Palin.
York does a wonderful job until the end of his article, where he ruins a nice piece of writing by suggesting that Sarah Palin, as great as she is, hasn't quite hit the Reaganesque mark yet.
We wholeheartedly disagree. While York talks about all Reagan did after "The Speech" and before becoming President, he totally dismisses all that Sarah Palin has done. It was 16 years from the time Reagan gave "The Speech" and his being sworn in as the 40th President of the United States. It was only after this speech that Reagan entered politics as a candidate and then an elected official.
Sarah Palin already is a few months shy of 20 years as an elected official, and now political powerhouse. She's governed as a Reagan Conservative the entire time. In fact, her entire life has been lived by the ideals that Reagan represented. At this point in her life, she is where Ronnie was after he lost the bid to be the Republican candidate for President in 1976. In other words, if you compare careers, in Reagan terms, it's 1978, two years before Reagan would beat Jimmy Carter in an electoral landslide.
We are seeing the Carter years repeat themselves, but on steroids, complete with radical Islam about to topple a nation friendly to America. Barack Obama and the Obama regime make Carter and his crew look competent by comparison. It took Carter to give us Ronald Reagan. No doubt Obama will give us Sarah Palin.
Something else we are seeing play-out. Just as Reagan was criticized by the establishment for being bold, so is Sarah Palin. When Sarah Palin coined the term "death panels" it was hard to tell who lost their minds more, the radical left, or the GOP elites, and yet, just today, we have another story saying that she absolutely destroyed the Obama regime and ultimately sowed the seeds of demise for ObamaCare, which has now been declared unconstitutional.
After the shooting in Tuscon, Sarah made an address to the nation, defending herself from what she called a "blood libel" by the left wing media and the democrat party. Of course, she wasn't just defending herself, but the 40 million American members of the Tea Party, who were also blood libeled.
Now obviously the left went nuts, especially when called out for their blood libel. Sadly, the GOP establishment jumped on that bandwagon as well. Even more pathetic though, none of the so-called "men" in the Republican Party stood up to defend either Sarah Palin, OR the Tea Party from these attacks. Choosing to join in them, instead.
The GOP elite treated Ronald Reagan and his millions of supporters the exact same way.
Interestingly, after screams of protests from the rabid and radical left, Jewish leaders, bot Conservative and liberal rushed to support Sarah and her use of the term "blood libel." Even those who disagree with her on everything!
Much like Reagan, Sarah is a very astute politician., and tactician. She always knows how to handle difficult situations with a style and grace [and a bit of pithiness] that we think Reagan would appreciate greatly.
Though we post it often, if you've not seen "A Time For Choosing", a speech we think should be mandatory viewing, taught to every school kid, here it is for your pleasure, and inspiration: