Take it easy. While there is a marginal chance you are a Barack Obama supporter or a conservative who concurs with my belief that Sarah Palin cannot beat Barack Obama in 2012, in all likelihood, you are a supporter of Sarah Palin, and you are currently frothing at the mouth. This is not a hit piece, so do your critical thinking ability a favor and quell your instinctive attack dog response to the title.
Let’s try to mitigate your anger so you can make rational sense of where I am coming from. First of all, if I could be the sole arbiter in selecting the next POTUS, I would much rather see Sarah Palin in the Oval Office rather than Barack Obama (the author would also take Palin over Mitt Romney as president any day). The point is not that Sarah Palin could not receive the GOP nomination; it’s that if she does, Barack Obama will be enjoying a second term in the White House. The RNC gave us the milquetoast John McCain in 2008, so we know what they are capable of when it comes to watering down the GOP’s potential to win.
Palin is simply not able to hold her own when it comes to even a minimal amount of pressure. For instance, take the infamous Katie Couric interview from 2008. While it is obvious that Katie Couric was driven by a liberal agenda when she interviewed Palin, that was the very point at which I realized Palin was The Great Anti-communicator. Remember the way your brain shot off a million different answers when Couric asked Governor Palin which newspapers or magazines she reads, and Sarah Palin choked up, and defensively responded with “all of them”? Upon further questioning as to a single specific newspaper name, Palin’s nervousness was palpable when she continued in her failure to state a single publication’s title (but she did spew something redundant out about reading “a vast variety of sources where we get our news”).
To call this a softball question would be an understatement. Yet, somehow, the pressure was simply too intense for the governor to say “National Review”, “Wall Street Journal”, or “New York Times.”
Now, it’s not that I do not believe Sarah Palin does not actually read the newspaper, nor do I believe it’s that important either way. Instead, the central take-away for any conservative who saw this interview is that Governor Palin is no debater. That’s not to say Barack Obama is a master orator, but he is a trained lawyer. Personally, I am not looking forward to being embarrassed for her when she is up against Barack Obama in 2012.
As for those moments when Sarah Palin is not in a debate setting, she sounds like she is narrating a high school film. Palin’s prepared remarks and speeches are loaded with cliché that easily give away the fact someone else wrote it for her. At times, Palin sounds more manufactured than Mitt Romney, and I call Romney “the used-car salesman”.
Palin is already going to have difficulty with independents, particularly in New England. While I share her expressed sentiments regarding Barack Obama and a liberal collectivist agenda, saying “socialism this, socialism that” fifteen million times during a debate will not cut it with independents outside of the Midwest, particularly when Obama begins to churn out budget numbers and the names of foreign leaders. After a while, Palin’s “charisma” and her ability to make rhetorical statements about liberalism will come to be viewed as evasive attempts to mask her ignorance of the practical workings of government and foreign policy. While I am sure she has gorged herself on coaching and PR advice since 2008, she still comes off as someone who is being propped up.
Sarah Palin has a lot of potential when it comes to rallying conservatives, and her most effective role for 2012 would be a fundraiser. Also, she could act as a clearinghouse for RINOs like Mitt Romney, whose ability to generate campaign cash is sure to give him a longevity which he does not deserve. Palin’s ability to call such candidates out will be much more effective and respected when she is not seen to be doing so for the purpose of elevating her own electoral prospects. In sum, Palin needs to act more like a referee rather than a contender in 2012.