ESR's Person of the Year for 2009
By Steven Martinovich
If you can say anything about 2009 it's that it was a year of shifting fortunes. Although the Democrats began the year with control of the White House and Congress, it was conservatives who spent much of the year on the attack. After Barack Obama's honeymoon period evaporated, the media seemed to be filled with an unending parade of stories chronicling their messiah's errors the failings of the political left and their allied wings.
America's political left didn't have to grasp with one figure, however, it seemed they faced a multitude of threats and the voting for our Person of the Year for 2009 bore that out. Perennial vote getters like Rush Limbaugh once again made a strong showing as did votes for America's soldiers. The hacker or hackers for the Climategate scandal made a strong showing as did the TEA Party protestors, though they may have been undone thanks to the infighting over leadership. But no one received as many votes as did our top two finishers: former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and Fox News star Glenn Beck. The winner was decided by narrowest of margins: Sarah Palin.
When 2009 began one might be forgiven for thinking Palin's star had shone brightly before then faded away like those of so many other vice presidential nominees cursed with being on a losing ticket. With the media's attention focused on Obama and the Democrats, Palin finished what would be a best-selling book and began traveling the United States and building a web of contacts and organizations that will likely come into service in 2012. Palin's concerns weren't merely mercenary, however. She was one of the most effective critics of Obamacare and forced the media to address proposals -- such as the alleged death panels -- that they would have preferred to ignore.
Does Sarah Palin have a bright future on the American national scene? That's difficult to say. Looming battles over Obama's agenda, an increasing focus on the upcoming mid-term elections and the perceived distance to 2012 may force Palin to the sidelines -- at least for the moment. And she would hardly be the first shooting star in American politics to be replaced by the next big thing or by what party leaders felt is a more pragmatic choice. It's hard to believe, however, that we've heard the last from Palin. Despite what her critics argue, and as she capably proved in 2009, Palin brings passion, insight and a Reagan-esque positive attitude about America and on that she has the current monopoly.