Bristol Palin, the daughter of former vice presidential candidate and Alaskan governor Sarah Palin, just launched a wildly disingenuous attack just prior to her mother’s endorsement of Donald Trump Tuesday evening.
The day of the endorsement, when rumors were swirling about whether or not it was true that Sarah Palin was going to throw her weight behind Donald Trump, Rick Tyler, director of communications for Ted Cruz, appeared on CNN’s “New Day.”
When the anchor asked Tyler if he believed Palin’s potential endorsement would be a blow to the Cruz campaign, Tyler replied:
“I think it would be a blow to Sarah Palin, because Sarah Palin has been a champion for the conservative cause, and if she was going to endorse Donald Trump, sadly, she would be endorsing someone who’s held progressive views all their life on the sanctity of life, on marriage, on partial-birth abortion…He was a TARP [supporter]–and it goes on and on and on. Donald Trump claims he’s changed all those views, but, I think if it was Sarah Palin, let me just say I’d be deeply disappointed.”
This comment troubled Bristol Palin enough that she wrote a blog post about it. In a piece titled “Is THIS Why People Don’t Like Ted Cruz?” she castigated the Texas Senator:
“…Sen. Cruz, my mom has consistently supported you and encouraged you. You’ve been a great advocate for conservative causes, and she’s stood by you when others haven’t…After hearing what Cruz is now saying about my mom, in a negative knee-jerk reaction, makes me hope my mom does endorse Trump. Cruz’s flip-flop, turning against my mom who’s done nothing but support and help him when others sure didn’t, shows he’s a typical politician. How rude to that he’s setting up a false narrative about her! The audacity to suggest that because she chooses one over the other will somehow ‘damage’ her just shows arrogance.”
Bristol’s attack was not only unjustified, it was toothless. Let’s start with the fact that it wasn’t Ted Cruz who made the statement about Palin, but a member of his staff. Bristol acts as if Cruz himself went out and trashed Palin when that’s not the case. His communications director simply said that if Palin made the choice to endorse Trump, he believed it would hurt her reputation as a conservative.
Regardless of who said what, the more audacious part of this story is Bristol’s indignation. A common and annoying myth in politics is that if someone has ever given you a helping hand, you forfeit the right to criticize that person–legitimately or not–for the rest of your life. That’s the argument Bristol is making.
Bristol believes that because her mother endorsed Ted Cruz during his 2012 senate run, and because she’s spoken kindly of him since, he is prohibited from saying anything negative about her, regardless of what she does, in perpetuity. Even when she endorses a frighteningly narcissistic candidate who flip-flops constantly on critical issues, Cruz must keep his mouth shut.
I call this the “Reagan Rule.” Conservatives cry foul when another conservative criticizes Ronald Reagan. How dare you! You’re not really one of us! Here’s another option: “I admire Reagan deeply, but he was wrong on several issues, including the 1986 amnesty deal. Sorry, but he was a human being. That doesn’t mean I hate Reagan; it means I’m not an idiot.”
Dear Bristol, attack Cruz all you want, but know that your mother’s choice of candidate will indeed harm her reputation among conservatives. She’s certainly lost my respect–and I’ve been a diehard Palin fan since 2008. That’s not an incorrect thing to say; that’s not a mean thing to say; that’s simply an astute observation given the situation.