Palin: God’s gift to Trump

Updated 2:52 PM EST, Thu January 21, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump shakes hands with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center at Iowa State University on January 19, 2016 in Ames, IA.
PHOTO: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump shakes hands with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center at Iowa State University on January 19, 2016 in Ames, IA.
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INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 03:  Todd Palin looks on during the Tea Party of America's "Restoring America" event at the Indianola Balloon Festival Grounds on September 3, 2011 in Indianola, Iowa.  Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin headlined the Tea Party of America's "Restoring America" event.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - MARCH 08:  Conservative pundit, television personality and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaks during the 41st annual Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord International Hotel and Conference Center on March 8, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland. The conference, a project of the American Conservative Union, brings together conservatives, polticians, pundits and voters for three days of speeches and workshops.  (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
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Story highlights

Sarah Palin on Tuesday announced she is backing Donald Trump for president

Tim Stanley: They fuse those two things that Americans love the most: God and money

Editor’s Note: Timothy Stanley is a historian and columnist for Britain’s Daily Telegraph. He is the author of “Citizen Hollywood: How the Collaboration Between L.A. and D.C. Revolutionized American Politics.” The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) —  

Noticing what was not said is a good antidote for the nostalgia. Individual historical documents read in isolation rarely give the full sense of an era. Context is missing. The 1990s were great in some ways, miserable in others. I, for one, broke my nose in an accident. It’s never looked the same way since.

In fact, the endorsement is a smarter move than it might first appear. Sure, Palin has been near-invisible this campaign season and, sure, she is toxic to many liberal commentators and moderate voters. But Trump doesn’t need their votes right now. He needs to win Iowa.

The downside to being endorsed by Palin is association with a loser veep candidate who was widely mocked for her lack of understanding of economics, foreign policy and basic geography. Looking ahead to November, any Republican nominee would be wise to disassociate themselves from the Palin clan and their snowmobile racing shtick.

Timothy Stanley
Timothy Stanley

Indeed, pundits on left and right have had a jamboree over this particular pairing. “They are both reality-TV personalities with distinctive syntaxes and hairstyles,” wrote Alexandra Petri. SE Cupp asked “where have you gone, Sarah Palin?” chiding the Alaska maverick for siding with a “liberal.” And the most interesting take was by David Frum, who argued that Palin/Trump vs. Cruz was a contest between conservatism as identity and conservatism as ideology.

Palin and Trump are no more familiar with conservative economist Friedrich Hayek than a kangaroo is with the music of Beethoven. For them, conservatism is about identifying with outsiders and marginalized white Americans.

But there is some biography behind this pairing, as the Washington Post notes. Trump endorsed Palin in 2008. Palin endorsed Trump’s crusade to see Obama’s birth certificate. The two had pizza in 2011. Last year, the former Alaska governor appeared on Saturday Night Live to make some gags about a Trump/Palin ticket. “Sarah, you’re teasing us,” said Jerry Seinfeld, “That’s not nice.”

The idea would be enough to make some people leave the country – and Trump/Palin would doubtless consider that a victory. Aside from being outspoken, unapologetic citizen politicians who have never backed down from a position – no matter how appalling or inaccurate – you sense they share a delight in offending the politically correct. They probably read articles like this one and enjoy it enormously.

Moreover, they fuse those two things that Americans love the most: God and money. The Bible was wrong: Sarah and Donald prove that you can serve both.

In her speech endorsing Trump, Palin opened with this extraordinary declaration: “He’s from the private sector. Can I get a hallelujah?!” According to this Puritan-descended tradition, one’s moral virtue is reflected in one’s material worth.

01:41 - Source: CNN
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INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 03:  Todd Palin looks on during the Tea Party of America's "Restoring America" event at the Indianola Balloon Festival Grounds on September 3, 2011 in Indianola, Iowa.  Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin headlined the Tea Party of America's "Restoring America" event.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 03: Todd Palin looks on during the Tea Party of America's "Restoring America" event at the Indianola Balloon Festival Grounds on September 3, 2011 in Indianola, Iowa. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin headlined the Tea Party of America's "Restoring America" event. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump looks on as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks at Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center at Iowa State University on January 19, 2016 in Ames, IA.
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