The New York Sun
Editorial of The New York Sun
All eyes will, come Labor Day, be on New Hampshire, where Sarah Palin is reportedly going to be making an appearance at which many are hoping she will declare for president. We don’t mind saying that we share those hopes. We’ve heard all the arguments against — that she’s not up to it, that she’s a tease, that she’s a quitter, that she is a, not to put too fine a point on it, moron. We see a different Sarah Palin, one who has sounded a theme that, at a time when our politics have become so divisive, strikes us as the route to civil society. This is the theme of constitutional conservatism.
In our long newspaper life, we have covered a lot of brands of conservative — paleo-conservatism, neo-conservatism, supply-side-conservatism, Christian-conservatism, social conservatism, libertarian conservatism, compassionate conservatism. Even as we've been more enthusiastic about some than others, all of them have made important contributions. At the end of the day, though, we have yet to sense a more open and civil way for resolving our differences than in the idea of repairing for guidance to the constitutional contract that established our republic.
This is what we sometimes call Sarah Palin’s gift to the GOP. By branding as her own the phrase constitutional conservatism, the former governor of Alaska has opened up an approach to a host of issues facing our country in a way that pays homage to our deepest and noblest traditions. And in ways that may yet lead to adjustments by both sides, on questions as diverse as, say, immigration, monetary policy, gay marriage, the deficit, the war, education, regulation, and crime, to name but a few of the issues on which the country is divided and on which the constitution contains language that may steer us to tranquil shores.
No doubt other Republicans can also bow this violin, meaning they have either marked some of the constitutional points or are capable of doing so. We comprehend that some — Governors Perry and Romney, among them — have greater governmental experience than Mrs. Palin. But it has been Mrs. Palin who has brought the idea of constitutional conservative to the fore. She has done this through the Tea Party, through her bus tour, through her speeches, and her postings at Facebook. We are not making an endorsement here, merely saying that the race — our country’s politics — would be enriched were she to throw her hat into the ring as a candidate.
She has proven herself to be something of a scoop artist. She showed this by being the first Republican to make a high-profile critique of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing, which put her out front on the issue of the dollar, though even earlier she had marked the collapsing value of the dollar as one of her issues. The dollar theme is related to her signature issue of energy. And, because sound money is so important to job creation, the dollar relates to another of our favorite issues — labor. Mrs. Palin and her husband have both carried union cards, and Mrs. Palin has been all alone among the GOP in reaching out to what she calls her union brothers and sisters.
Her theme has been the idea that the interests of working men and women are better served by the kind of job-creating policies of which the Republican Party is the tribune. It wouldn’t surprise us were Mrs. Palin to touch on this theme in New Hampshire, though we don’t base that prediction on any inside information. It’s just a theme that she’s sounded repeatedly and that we’ve remarked on in several editorials. It’s one of the reasons why the Republic primary campaign, which has the better part of a year to run, would be richer and more exciting were the Alert Alaskan to enter the fray, pressing for an approach to the issues on the basis of what she calls commonsense constitutional conservatism.