Diary

Palin should not run in 2012

I remember where I was when the “yawn, it’s going to be Pawlenty, we’re gonna lose by 20” head fake gave way to

omg omg omg
OMG OMG OMG
OMG OMG OMG

OMG OMG OMG

IT’S SARAH PALIN !!!!!!!

At that time I knew her basic story, knew she was an up-and-coming pretty hard conservative like Jindal, and was known to be a second-tier suspect in the VP derby. Yes, I had seen a picture or two as well. This was my catalog of information on Sarah Palin. McCain picked a young and exciting conservative, a female, and a looker. Her speech on the day of her nomination was short and inspiring, a bombshell in a race that had mired all conservatives and most Republicans in slow-motion hell. The leftist media immediately and ferociously pounced on this attractive, magnetic woman, cruelly dragging her pregnant daughter into the spotlight. That story literally led off every hourly newscast in TV and radio for weeks [finally sending Andy Sullivan to a permanent rubber room address].

Then the convention speech happened. It was off the charts, it was watched by nearly 40 million people, it was unapologetically and unerringly conservative, it showed Sarah Palin in all her charisma and her down-to-earth charm. It set the conservative world on fire, single-handedly breathing life into the GOP’s election efforts, even putting the McCain campaign briefly ahead in the polls.

By then the seeds were already sown for where we are today with respect to 2012.

John Ziegler, whose signature work is Media Malpractice – How Obama Got Elected [we watched it at RedState’s Atlanta gathering!] has blossomed into a filmmaker and pundit of note, routinely appearing on the TV talk shows, and writing a regular column for the Daily Caller. His excellent column today explains Why Palin shouldn’t run in 2012, and I’ll cite him in some detail here.

You Palinistas need to read up and understand this: she has a chance to win the nomination, but she would almost certainly lose the general election, where other good GOP candidates would certainly win. Why?

She’s playing exclusively to the home crowd

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. She is wildly popular in the conservative crowd, in the Tea Party crowd, in the FoxNews crowd. In these groups (overlapping but not identical) all her best talents are appreciated, sometimes to excess. Recently, she joined the FNC team, and she has fully embraced the Tea Partiers.

While enhancing her standing with this faction would obviously help her in a primary battle (in which I still think she would be extremely formidable), it actually harms her in the minds of the thirty percent of open-minded “independents” who actually determine Presidential elections. Because both Fox News and the Tea Parties have been so vilified by the media in the minds of these voters, Palin will be put further (and perhaps permanently) into the box of being a far-right “wing nut.”

Ziegler points to two other disadvantages to playing to the home crowd:

  • It would be extremely easy for Palin to get a part-time gig on one of the big broadcast networks, which would give her regular exposure to the persuadable center, winning them over and making a big lie of the media caricature. This is a great opportunity lost.
  • Staying “home” at FNC/Tea Parties allows the media to perpetuate the “radical right” meme.

Interestingly, doing what she’s doing seems perfectly calculated to maximize her rally-the-troops skills and her superb potential to raise money and poll numbers for many, many GOP candidates. It’s possible she’s already made the same 2012 calculation we have.

Obama’s negatives would be her negatives

If the economy bounces back in a big way, we probably have an uphill battle defeating Obama, no matter who the GOP candidate is. However, if the economy is still in the tank, as most of us think it will be, it’s sensible to think that ANY Republican would beat Obama. Maybe that’s true. Then again…

My answer to that would be that under the “economic doom” scenario, Palin might very be the only mainstream Republican Obama could beat. Think of it this way, if things are truly that desperate in 2012, is America really going to dump a guy who at least has four years of Presidential experience for a person who has none, who “quit” her job as Governor of a small state, and who they have been told over and over is not very bright?

You see the problem with coming up with a scenario where Palin could be Obama in 2012 is that the worse things get for him, the less likely that the country would be to take a chance on her.

The leftist media would love to set her up to battle Obama, then crush her

Remember all the suckers (many of them proudly displaying their naivete here at RedState) who thought that if we nominated media darling “Maverick” McCain, the media would be much kinder than they had been to Bush? Remember all that? Do I sound bitter at all? No? [FRED!!!! For the love of God, you cretins!]

Picture this. The partisan media hacks hate Palin, yet her star power, like nobody else’s, rivals that of Obama himself. Can any of you think of a presidential election in the last century that would rival the combined star power and raw charisma of an Obama vs Palin shootout? I went back as far as 1932, and no. [I toy with Goldwater vs LBJ, but….nah]

But we have seen this movie, and we know how it ends:

They would like nothing better than the huge ratings that would come from a Palin run and will be thirsting like vampires just before dawn at the very thought of getting another chance to kill her off.

The longer, and better view

Let her sit out 2012. Let her use her skills, charisma, star power, and vast money-raising talents to boost conservative GOP chances across the board in both 2010 and 2012. Build her network, make friends and allies. Let the right media (that’s us) put her true self on display and beat down the left-media caricature that grips so many in the middle.

It seems to me that the only way for Palin to get a legitimate second look by the people in the middle is for her to not run until 2016 at the earliest. Should she decline to run (ideally immediately after leading Republicans to a perceived victory in 2010) she would help kill off the perception of her as overly ambitious and she might even endear herself to the party leadership by saving them from an almost certainly brutal and destructive presidential primary.

That may be her plan anyway

Of course, it is very important to point out that something like this may already be Palin’s plan (for the record, I have shared almost all of these thoughts with her via her personal e-mail but have received no response). So far, I have not seen one shred of legitimate evidence indicating that she has decided to run and some serious indications that she won’t. If she really possesses the personal qualities that I have been claiming she does, then she will realize that it is not in her, her party’s, or her country’s interest for her to do so.

Let’s hope so. She is an exceedingly valuable asset, but there is a right time and place.

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