What do the American people owe those of us in the conservative camp? A one word answer: nothing.
Instead, we owe them the responsibility not to make adherence to conservatism sound like a visit to the dentist. Conservative principles (limited government, unlimited opportunities) are fine, but we must articulate them in a way that makes them appealing to most voters.
Instead, we sometimes come across as saying, "You don't have a job or health care? Tough luck!" That's not an approach that will work anymore, if it ever did.
The world has changed in my lifetime. Robert Frost's "The Death of the Hired Man" talks about family being, in essence, the place where they have to take you in when you show up in need.
Increasingly, it seems families (and communities) don't take care of each other -- or even talk to one another. Thus, people feel more vulnerable -- and are perhaps more fearful -- than they were in my childhood. "If the economy has grown so much, why am I not happier and more secure?" As our national wealth (GDP) grew dramatically, so did the poll numbers saying people believed we were heading in the wrong direction.
McCain-adviser Phil Gramm observed that we had become "a nation of whiners." That didn't go over well, and it shouldn't have. It was conservatism at its worse.
In conservative circles, the "dirty little secret" about Sarah Palin is that she has populist tendencies. (Reagan did also.) We do have a government "of, by, and for the people," so we'd better pay attention to them.
The Alaska Constitution says the resources of the state belong not to the oil companies but to the people. How novel. How "Palinesque."
Gov. Palin's motto is "Serve the People!" It's not "Serve only the people like us." Americans, even those who don't vote for the Governor, have to know that she understands them, will listen to their concerns, and wants to serve their needs.
I've suggested Sarah's campaign slogan in 2012 should be "I'm One of You." In fact, she is, and that's why she has a good chance of becoming President.