Sarah Palin tells GOP to 'woman up' on shutdown threats. What's her point?

Sarah Palin says the GOP establishment is running scared from the idea that it could be blamed for a government shutdown. 'Woman up' and do the right thing, she said in an opinion article.

Carolyn Kaster/AP/File
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks during the Faith and Freedom Coalition Road to Majority 2013 conference this summer in Washington.

Sarah Palin has penned an opinion article for the conservative Breitbart website supporting Sen. Ted Cruz (R) of Texas and his effort to defund Obamacare. It’s vintage Palin – she refers to “peanut gallery pundits,” and “Capitol Hill cowards” among other alliterations. But the part that’s perhaps getting the most attention is her advice to Republicans: “Woman up, stand your ground, and fight like a girl!”

OK, we’ll bite – what’s she saying here, and why?

First, Ms. Palin’s theme as a whole: Senator Cruz and his supporters are fighting the good fight against a health-care reform law Americans don’t support. But instead of supporting Cruz and his “liberty-loving posse” in their attempt to stop “Obama’s train wreck,” the Republican establishment in Washington is running the other way.

“The permanent political class in DC is nothing if not gutless and rudderless,” writes Palin.

Anonymous sources are backstabbing Cruz in the press, says the former Alaska governor, while the permanent political class worries that the media will blame Republicans for a government shutdown if the fight over the president’s signature domestic achievement leads to that.

“Here’s a little newsflash, GOP establishment: Whenever anything bad happens, the media blames Republicans for it,” writes Palin. “That’s not an excuse to roll over and play dead. It’s a call to follow the advice I give my daughters: Woman up, stand your ground, and fight like a girl!”

So “woman up” is her rallying cry, one that seems T-shirt-ready if accompanied by a drawing of Palin brandishing a hockey stick. But we’ve got an addendum here: it’s possible the GOP wouldn’t actually take the brunt of blame for a shutdown, despite Palin’s prediction.

That’s what a new poll indicates, in any case. The just-released Pew survey indicates that 39 percent of respondents would blame GOP in a shutdown, and 36 would blame the Obama administration. That’s basically a tossup since the results are within the survey’s margin of error.

“If the federal government shuts down because Republicans and the Obama administration fail to agree on a budget, there will be plenty of blame to go around,” writes the Pew Center for People & the Press.

Now, this is just one poll. Others have produced different results: A CNN poll in early September put the possible blame burden at 51 percent on the Republicans, and 33 percent on Obama.

But if nothing else the Pew poll is a reminder that predicting blame for an event that hasn’t yet happened is not straightforward. If it comes to a shutdown, the public could well frame its opinion on the particular circumstances which led to the impasse, not on what happened during the President Clinton versus Speaker Newt Gingrich shutdown of 1995.

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