Palin in 2012? – by Alan Dowd


governor sarah palin and the flag

Sarah Palin’s media blitz—including a national book tour, an interview with Oprah, magazine cover stories and cable TV one-on-ones—serves as a reminder that whether you voted for her or against her, whether you love her or despise her, Sarah Palin is a political force to be reckoned with. This is the real reason she drew so much ire from the Left in 2008. And it’s the same reason she may give some Republicans pause in 2012.

The 2012 election is an eternity away, but this much we know: Barack Obama will be on the ballot; if 2008 proved anything, it’s that he is a masterful politician; and in addition to his formidable political and rhetorical skills, next time he will be running with all the built-in advantages of incumbency. Whether his fusion policy/post-partisan shtick will work by then is a subject for another essay. Regardless, Obama doesn’t need any help from the GOP in 2012. Yet if any one of the GOP’s headliners runs as a third-party candidate, Obama would be virtually assured of an easy re-election. And the most likely rogue candidate would seem to be the self-styled rogue herself, Sarah Palin.

Palin’s independent streak is already legendary. She ran an insurgent campaign, the story goes, against Alaska’s GOP establishment. And she surprised everyone by resigning the Alaska governorship last July, just months after being catapulted into the national spotlight as arguably the most talked about vice presidential candidate ever.

As Sen. John McCain’s running mate, she brandished some of the essential ingredients of success in modern politics: She proved her toughness in the face of withering media attacks on her, on her family, on her intelligence and integrity, even on her femininity. She showed an almost-effortless capacity to connect with many voters. And not coincidentally, she was and is telegenic—a crucial trait in this image-driven age, one that really can’t be learned.

In addition, her maverick populism appeals to many, as does her biography, her plainspoken delivery and her anti-Washington, anti-elite attitude—and understandably so in an era of billion-dollar Wall Street bailouts.

Moreover, setting aside the MSNBC-New York Times appraisals of Palin, she was, quite simply, “a national sensation,” as Yuval Levin, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, observes in a review of the would-be presidential candidate. “The striking thing about the last two months of the 2008 presidential race was not Palin’s inability to turn things around decisively for McCain,” Levin reminds us, “but her success in giving McCain a lead for even a short while.” He notes that exit polling indicates 60 percent of those interviewed said McCain’s choice of Palin “had been a factor in their vote. Of these, 56 percent voted for McCain while only 43 percent voted for Obama….Palin succeeded where almost no vice presidential candidate ever has before in winning sustained support for the ticket.”

In other words, no one can question her popularity among a large chunk of voters—and hence her capacity to have an impact on the GOP nomination battle.

Today, she’s clearly laying the groundwork for her own White House run. Leaving the governor’s office has freed her to stay connected with the conservative base, sharpen her policy positions as well as how she presents them, work the speaking circuit, raise money and write a book.

For Palin, as with any other candidate, these latter three are interconnected. Her book deal has already garnered a healthy chunk of change, and she is reportedly commanding six figures per speech.

Good for her. I hope she makes her case well. And if she makes a run for the Republican nomination, I hope she gets a fair shake. If a summertime USAToday/Gallup poll is any indication, she will. Two-thirds of Republicans say they want Palin to be “a major national political figure.” About the same percentage of Republicans—65 percent—would “seriously consider supporting” Palin.

Of course, that same polling indicates that Palin is viewed negatively by “a third of Republicans, two-thirds of independents and eight in 10 Democrats.”

So what happens if Palin runs and then fails to muster enough delegates to win the nomination? Will she play the role of a good point guard, to borrow a page from her bio, and let the nominee take the shot? Or will the self-styled rogue go rogue?

Along with her frontier independence, Palin’s shoot-from-the-hip style makes a third-party run plausible. Make no mistake: Winning the election as a third-party candidate is no more plausible for her than it was for Nader, Perot, Buchanan or other spoilers. But running an insurgent campaign, taking her legion of loyal supporters with her, and siphoning away enough votes to sink the Republican nominee is another story.

 Alan Dowd writes on politics and public policy.

  • WTF_Idiots

    Collinsdad – haha.. good one! Sarah is actually my seat mate! She drools a lot. Maybe that's why you think she's so sexy?

  • Collinsdad

    You get the last word! I can't match wits with one such as you. The images are just too vivid and its breakfast time where I am at. I know you Palin haters love to stick to the issues and I can't possibly compete with your deep insights.

  • bearone7777

    Hello,
    If this yrs. election is a indication of anything it is that we as a people are bound to nobody or one party or another. Sarah Palin is a BREATH of fesh air that we all need for this country. If we can see a man that is so inexperienced that he really needs help tying his shoes than I think that if she was elected she would do just like TONY-”THE TIGER” use to say SHE WILL DO “GREAT” GOD BLESS SARAH PALIN.. RUN SARAH PLEASE.

  • WTF_Idiots

    You betcha!
    That said, give me one issue that Sarah has legitimately weighed in on… death panels don't count there, slappy. OK? (wink wink)

    Here is my favorite Palin talking point, besides death panels of course…. It starts with You betcha!

    and ends with
    You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! You betcha! wink-wink

  • pameladawson

    YOU ARE LAME.

  • Collinsdad

    All right WTF this is my last post to you. Sorry but you are getting on my nerves and listening to your 3rd grade attacks is boring. I have a 6 and 4 yr. old and they have more self control than you. I am not going to get deeply into specific issues with you but will advise you on what to do (but you wont because leftists like you never read the stuff you need to read-but you will lie and say you do). But here goes- read the constitution and pretend its not a “living document” and that the founders really meant what they wrote about limited government and states rights. Read Mark Levin's liberty and tyranny and see if you can answer his arguments. Tell me HOW we are going to pay off the debt we are bequething our children and grandchildren for generations to come. Also, tell me how terrorists who planned 9/11 are getting constitutional rights and protections that you and I as citizens have the right to. Tell me how a guy who blows away 13 soldiers at Fort Hood and injures multitudes of others is somehow not to be prematurely judged (as a terrorist)as he the Messiah did when officer Crowley arrested Professor Gates. Tell me how a candidate like your Messiah states that he will give the middle class (95% of us) a tax cut and now is proposing massive tax increases via Cap and Tax and health care reform (every independent body who has examed it has determined it will be a massive tax increase over the long haul). Tell me how your Messiah has managed to NOT make a decision on Afghanistan where the general he was going to follow hell or high water has stated what is needed and has been stone walled all along the way and NOW your Messiah is going to charge a 1% tax on people making 150,000$ or less to help fund the war.( By the way my 25 yr. old son is on his third tour protecting us- yea even you-by the way ever serve? good for you if you did-I was in the Vietnam era- but hey if you didn't I understand ,but maybe you would understand better if faced with an enemy monitoring your every move and not giving a damn whether you were liberal or conservative )Tell me how your Messiah is going to deal with our #1 ally in the Middle East by allowing a regime that he was so eager to negotiate with make him look like a fool as they (Iran) ramp up to nuclear status. — I could go on and on with this crap- but I know that you will come back with democratic talking points and blame Bush statements and then go into your third grade act on Palin. You guys are so predictable its a joke. I can't believe I spent this much time on you- but I have compassion on drones. You are a drone who NEEDS childish ad hominem attacks to buttress your weak as-ed positions. I am done with you and this thread as I have heard your talking points and Palin has more than adequately dealt with these issues. You guys love to hate her because she scares the hell out of you. I laugh at you but get weary attempting to reason with a drone who only sees and hears what is fed to him by the Lame Stream Media. Go back to Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow and strengthen your barbs and 3rd grade monologues. I won't see your response (oh poor me!-but am sure it will be filled with Palin jokes- have fun!) I'm out.

  • WTF_Idiots

    I would never waste one second of my time reading anything by jackass Mark Levin.

    I don't know how anybody pays off $12 trillion. I DO know that Bush added more to the national debt than anybody in American history, and we have absolutely nothing to show for it except a bunch of dead soldiers and about 10% of people out of work and a disaster of an economy.

    What about the battered Earth we are bequething to our children and grandchildren? Why do you right wing monkeys dismiss that?

    Because the Constitution is a document that outlines the rights of man #1, and the rights of Americans #1A. It's my belief that the Founding Fathers thought that all man are to be treated equally. They crafted the Constitution guided by the principals that ALL men should live by… that includes their idea of JUSTICE.

    Is your measure of a terrorist anybody who commits mass murder? If that's the case, then fine. Say he's a terrorist. That makes McVeigh and Nichols terrorists. Yes? They're white though. Can they possibly be terrorists?? What about the Christian fundamentalist who walked into a church and blew away a bunch of people in Tennessee?? Terrorist? The Gates thing was about race relations in America. Not freaking terrorism, you jackass!! hahaha. You're an idiot.

    Tell me why YOUR messiah W. NEVER made ANY decisions on Afghanistan in SEVEN YEARS. My guy has been in office SEVEN MONTHS.

    Who else is going to fund the war, you stupid ass? Seriously. You're just a blind ideologue. You have no clue. I can't even believe I'm wasting my time on your dumb ass.

    HAHAHA. I always LOVE this one. YES, dickface, I served 4 years in the Air Force before going on to earn my B.A. Yep, believe it, you ignoramus, lefties SERVE TOO! My dad, a hard lefty, has two Purple Hearts from Nam.

    That's it, man. I can't take it anymore. You're a first class IDIOT. I'm not wasting any more time on you. F**k off.

  • WTF_Idiots

    Oh, and another thing. By the time YOUR guy was in office for just over 7 months, the WTC was destroyed and 3000 innocent people were dead. Yeah, good work W! Guess he should have read those memos, huh. Open your eyes, s**t for brains.

  • sjbn

    When asked what she'd like Obama to do in relation to the war in Afghanistan Palin said, “I want him to listen to his advisers,” and added. “That's what he asked for.”

    Not surprisingly, Democratic National Committee Communications Director Brad Woodhouse responded: “It's not surprising that someone who doesn't know the difference between Iraq and Iran, whose outrageous claims on health reform have been repeatedly debunked and whose book has been called ‘fiction’ by members of her own party would get the facts wrong or, worse, simply lie on this.”

    “Just in the past four weeks the president has met with troops on bases in Jacksonville, Alaska and South Korea and the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M,” Woodhouse said. “While it's not surprising that Sarah Palin will lie and ignore the facts to appeal to the right wing, tea party fringe of the Republican base, what is surprising it that anyone else would pay attention to what she has to say.”

    Who's paying attention?

  • sjbn

    “Sarah is a highly intellegent and eloquent spokesperson for the fundamental values which have brought our civilization to its present benign, sophisticated and tolerant level.” , please see “Orwellian use of language”

  • thinker1

    YES, Sarah!!! Finally a person with a three-digit IQ for the WH!!! :)

  • thinker1

    It was Pelosi, not Palin, to whom there is no difference between Iraq and Iran, but our socialist rags wouldn't tell the truth if their existence…. :) …bingo!!! :)

  • antioli

    The third party in upper new york state is the Republican Party. The Major Parties are the Conservative and Democrat parties.
    I am afraid that none of the parties are what the public wants.
    The County Republicans placed a candidate in contention that pressed the negative buttons of the Republican voter. As a result they flooded to the Conservative party of NY.
    Yet no sooner than the success of the third party came out than the same old Rinos fought to get infront of the parade and lead it. Dick Army,and the Club for Growth immediately muscled them selves onto the spot light as possible leaders. Both are the arch types of the people that created the Republican political catastrophe. Along with Alan Greenspan and Phil Graham , Dick Army was one of the main engineers of our current economic collapse.
    Later the public will find out that this new party is just a carbon copy of the very Republican Party they threw out of office because of the economic collapse.
    This new party will wither and die when the public realizes this.

    The public wants, needs and deserves party that represents the needs of the people.

    And Sarah represents only a superficial change. She has already started to waffle on the issues especially the main ones. She is no Joan of Arc or even Margret Thatcher.

    Want a candidate then resurrect Bernanke's old professor Hyman Minsky..To bad he is dead I think.