First, I know what you're thinking: As of the posting of this blog, former Governor of Alaska and 2008 GOP VP nominee, Sarah Palin is not yet in the race for the White House. Why not cover Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain or even Rick Santorum (FYI, do NOT google 'Santorum' by itself!)? There are few reasons why I'm making a post about Palin:
1- The webmaster wanted me to and I do what she asks me to do.
2- After posting about Michele Bachmann, there was a comment that asked for me to compare her and Sarah Palin together. I think it's a reasonable request and definitely worth exploring.
3- Most importantly, according to Real Clear Politics, though she hasn't announced a candidacy or even an exploratory committee, she manages to hold a consistent 3rd place position in national support for the nomination. She trails Bachmann but that's probably because Bachmann's campaign isn't a hypothetical (though it's someone fantasy, that's for sure...)
4- And her hypothetical campaign is doing SO much better than Gingrich's, Cain's or Santorum's actual campaigns.
And so here we are, discussing the Priscilla From Wasilla, the Mama Grizzly, the Pit Bull With Lipstick, Sarah Bear-ah, The I-Dont-Know-But-Alaska (I'm just kididng, she won't admit it when she doesn't know something.)
Age: 47. She's relatively young, politically speaking, and I think everyone, regardless of political strip, can say that she's a genuinely pretty women. Thank God that's all you need in order to become president or to have someone pay attention to you!
Hometown: Actual hometown is in Sandpoint, ID, but, naturally, her political hometown is in Wasilla, AK. I asusme when she began to have national aspirations for the White House, she started with the Wasilla City Council.
Place in the Republican Party: Nebulous. She's a player in the GOP without having a concrete issue that she advocates for. Sorry, but saying that "America's best days are ahead of her" and asking what's the difference between a pitbull and a hockey mom does not signature issues make. The serious half of that statement is hinged on the perception that the Democrats and liberals do not love America and the statement immediately comes across as disingenous.
She left her position of power in Alaska and has done nothing in the meantime. I mean, she's physically done things in the meantime. "Wrote" two "books", campaigned for other Republicans and became a commentator on Fox News relatively quickly. FINALLY, a chance for a conservative point of view to be advocated on Fox! But she hasn't done anything outside of playing around in the GOP. But this does give her face time and helps her create the impression that she knows what she's doing and that she knows what she's saying.
She's well-respected in the Tea Party movement but, make no mistake, she's a Republican through and through. More recently, she said that the GOP should "absorb" the Tea Party (which is what normally happens to third party movements in the USA.) That's putting a higher priority on the party than the principle, as it were. She can give a good speech; though she's better with a teleprompter, the notes on her hands seem to work just as well, I'm sure.
NH: She's actually put in some of the polling floating around the state and she doesn't fair so well. She's behind not just Romney and Bachmann, but Ron Paul as well (to be honest, I always forget that he's running again.) Like Bachmann, she'll probably going to do better in a caucus states and, if does run, she probably won't do as well as she might in, let's say...
IA: But, funny thing there's not a poll out there that puts Palin in the hypothetical running. This might e the reason why Bachmann is leading there as number one. If she were injected in the running there, it stands to reason that Romney would be back on the top, with the voter that looks to elect a quasi-attractive conservative firebrand vote being split.
SC: She does pretty well here. Living in the Deep South, I can attest to the fact that we do like a politician that has a smart-mouth on them. And Palin can lay down a good zinger or two in the course of a speech. She's got a fire in her, she's "ornery" to use the colloquial term. That and South Carolina traditionally tries to elect politicians that piss off the rest of the country, regardless of political strip. This goes all the way back to John C. Calhoun and Edward Rutledge. I'm not kidding, look at Rutledge.
NV: She polls third, behind Romney and Gingrich. To be honest, the general rule of thumb for most of the candidates should be to stay out of Nevada. I think that if she were to announce a candidacy, she would pull ahead of Gingrich, but I doubt that she'll be able to top Romney, for reasons already listed in this column.
But the short answer is MORMONS.
Unlike Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Bobby Roeper, Fred Karger and this blogger, people actually know who Sarah Palin is. Normally in this column, I would list three things about the candidate that would make it improbably for them to beat Obama or even the GOP nomination.
But we know that she had a relatively uneventful tenure as governor (#1). Nothing really happened while she was running Alaska. She didn't lose it to Canada or Russia, it didnt' sink into the sea. Not a significant turn as a governor, in my opinion. When she was tapped for the VP for the GOP (#2), she made a series of gaffes that would make Joe Biden blush, but unlike Biden, she would never admit that she was wrong. After the election, she left the state's office due to mounting accusations and evidence that she had fired a state trooper for no other reason than she didn't like him. Besides, she can make a lot more money writing books, making appearances, campaigning for Republicans, going on "tour" for... no reason... (#3)
But instead of listing and talking about things that make Sarah Palin Sarah Palin-y, I'm going to compare her to Michele Bachmann, then figure a matchup between her in the nomination campaign and general election against Obama and after all that figuring, I'll discuss whether or not she'll actually run.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HER AND BACHMANN??? SERIOUSLY???
Well, I'm glad that you asked that question. They are both pretty women (hey, they're prettier than Geraldine Ferraro!) and are standard bearers of the Republican Party. But you get the feeling from Bachmann that if the Tea Party were to form their own party against the GOP, she would jump ship and get on board with them. Palin is shrewd. She's actually shrewd as Hell and her record in Alaska shows that. Palin would probably make the same jump but only if she was certain that it was sure thing and that she would gain from the move.
Bachmann comes across as more erratic; she's more likely to just start talking and getting really excited and then all of a sudden: "JOHN QUINCY ADAMS WAS A FOUNDING FATHER." And then she sobers up, goes back on TV and says that what she said was correct. This is maddening.
Palin on the other hand will very calmly and plainly explain that in the midnight ride of Paul Revere that he warned the British not to take our guns, which isn't really what Revere was doing. Palin lashes out, blames the "lamestream" media for asking "gotcha" questions like "How was your day?"
Quick sidebar: I love the phrase "lamestream" media. I haven't heard the conservatives make up a word that so delightfully misconstrues an entire group of people since Limbaugh said "feminazis".
The other key difference between Bachmann and Palin is that Palin is capable of having broader appeal. Bachmann's power is strictly from the Tea Party and the Evangelicals. But Palin is capable of tapping into that power and taking it to a broader campaign towards independents. Neither are adored by liberals, but that's not the demographic that they are going for.
Palin can win the nomination while Bachmann stands to not win the nomination. Neither can beat Obama.
BUT WHY CAN'T THEY BEAT OBAMA???
The reason why they can't beat Obama is because Obama is a stronger candidate than either of them. The main criticism during the 2008 campaign was that he wasn't experienced enough to lead. Now, that's something that cannot be called into question. The criticism has evolved to "He has failed to lead us" which is something that can be chalked up to partisan nonsense and dismissed almost out of hand. They don't have facts on their side. They have to wage on perception. So far, Obama is winning that.
This is not even to mention the number of polls that put Obama ahead in a hypothetical match-up with Palin and Bachmann. It's not even close. I'm not saying that Obama is Hercules in this general election, but you don't come at him with the same asps that were set upon him that he choked to death when he was in the cradle.
I need to work on my similes.
Obama got elected because he had ideas (actual ideas, despite what the conservatives would think) and he had a spirit. Bachmann and Palin have spirit, sure, but they have absolutely nothing to back them up with.
Will Palin run in 2012?
Of course, all this is moot if she doesn't run. To be totally honest, and this is my real answer to the question:
I don't know.
The reason I don't know is that the sensible thing would be to not run. There's not a whole lot of difference between her and Bachmann. Bachmann is already in the race. Why get involved and run when it's more than likely Bachmann is going to lose? Palin can sit back, watch how Bachmann is doing, watch her mistakes and triumphs and then, when 2016 rolls around, make a bid for the WH.
I say that's the sensible thing to do, but Palin has a tendency of not doing a sensible thing. Endorsing a documentary about Palin called "The Undefeated", when she is, well, defeated? That's not a good idea beacuse by calling it "The Undefeated", you're reminding everyone about how she was defeated in 2008.
Doubling down on the stupid remarks throughout her entire life, saying that she's a "rogue" when she wants the rest of the country to elect her to lead?
She's a good on paper, but in practice, Palin is not what the GOP needs. She still has the taint of defeat from the last election; she's contributed nothing to the general debate or discourse of the country (though, thankfully, she's been relatively silent on the debt ceiling issue)
I'm going to leave you with this video. This is from back in 2008 and is an animation that uses real audio from Larry King Live. The pundits are talking about how Sarah Palin had come down against this study on fruit flies (a study that was really more about genetics and evolution than anything). Christopher Hitchens responds and I do love me some Christopher Hitchens. I hope you enjoy and get the overall point: to YouTube!
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