In a curious case of Soviet-style thinking, Palin has told Lisa Murkowski of Alaska to “Respect the will of the people ” and not launch a write-in campaign for Senate after losing her primary seat. I was planning to write this as a funny post, like ‘haha Palin is talking like the Soviets”, but now I’m getting more angry and terrified as I go.
First, Palin is an enormous hypocrite. The author of Going Rogue is now telling Lisa Murkowski to respect party unity. The second, ironically funny and slightly frightening part, is the way that Palin associates ‘the will of the people’ with ‘the will of the people in the right party’. Who cares about the will of the Alaskan people as a whole, if the Republicans in Alaska who vote in primaries have already spoken? This is the sort of thinking that allows the Castros to pretend they have a representative government – everyone in the party that matters agrees with them, so they are respecting the will of the people.
Lastly, and most frightening, is what this means on a national level. The will of the people doesn’t mean the will of the American people as a whole; to Palin and the TEA party, the will of the people means the will of their organization. If they succeed within the machine of primary politics, they don’t need to worry about the majority of people who don’t vote in primaries. This is clearly not a movement of the people against the establishment – if it were, they would be supportive of write-in-campaigns as a way to counter overly radical party politics (like many Republicans said of Lieberman’s campaign.) It is instead the movement of a party-within-a-party, a party of rogues when they are losing and establishment-defenders when they are winning.