74% of the respondents said that Sarah Palin should not run in 2012. So much for any love from her base and employer, huh?
“I never said [Palin] is going to declare..I’m mystified. Look she is all upset about this, saying I’m trying to sabotage her in some way. And how dare I speculate on her future. If she doesn’t want to be speculated about as a potential candidate, there’s an easy way to end the speculation: say ‘I’m not running.’ … I’m saying the schedule leads me to believe she is going to be a candidate. I’m not privy to her thought-making process. It is a sign of enormous thin skin (that) if we speculate about her she would be upset,” – Karl Rove. Apparently Fox News censored the transcript of his critical comments.
Weigel gives her fair treatment:
The original video, from Channel 7, really makes it look like Palin got a historical question she wasn’t expecting, and then flubbed it. The way she grits her teeth on the phrase “riding HIS HORSE THROUGH TOWN!” is agonizing, for all involved. And look, if someone asked me, on the spot, to explain exactly what happened during Paul Revere’s ride, I’d struggle a bit to access my elementary school memory banks. The twist, with Palin, is that she has a bona fide army of supporters who will sic themselves on anyone and anything that threatens to damage her image.
The difference is that she hasn’t yet retracted her error. Yes, as a quasi-POTUS candidate you are still a human with room for error. Own up to those errors. When was the last time Palin retracted one of her own comments?
Sarah Palin gets the same treatment from me as Rick Santorum: she is a divider who plays us versus them, black and white scenarios out in politics, religion, and culture. It is somewhat scary to think about that on a world scale instead of just in Wasilla.
Lexington gives her the benefit of the doubt in the face of poll numbers having her behind Obama by 20 points:
Polls suggest that Barack Obama would trounce her by almost 20 percentage points (Mr Romney trails the president by less than 7%). So it is not only her immediate rivals but also the Republican establishment who have cause to worry. What if she is another Barry Goldwater, who wowed the right but led the Republicans to a crushing defeat by Lyndon Johnson in 1964?
The trouble is that Mrs Palin is not the sort to step aside just because people tell her she cannot win. She thrives on rejection. Twitting intellectuals and the “lamestream” media is part of her brand. She harbours a grudge against the Republican “blue-bloods” who blame her for Mr McCain’s failure to beat Mr Obama in 2008, and would love to prove them wrong. She may not be able to win the presidency herself, but so long as she stays in the headlines, hinting at a run, she makes the party’s sobersides look dull by comparison. For them, the phenomenon from Alaska has gradually mutated into the problem from hell.
Andrew Sullivan really makes the case for Sarah Palin after her comments on Paul Revere have been used as fact by her followers in attempt to edit the Wikipedia page.
Pundits speak of her lack of professional organization. What they don’t speak of so often is her willingness to say and do things very few politicians will. She will play the race card powerfully, often and repeatedly. She will run a campaign against Obama as an un-American. She will run on hatred of elites, will turn every sad gaffe, lie or untruth into “truth”, she will deploy religious motifs more effectively than any Republican candidate in modern times. In the last campaign she accused Obama of being a friend of terrorists, and was prevented from using Jeremiah Wright in the last few weeks of the campaign. She will make the Willie Horton ad look like happytalk.
Most responsible politicians do not throw gasoline on a cultural tinderwood. But remember Tucson. Even then, she could show no restraint, no regret, no responsibility. Even when a politician was shot in the head, she tried to divide and conquer. And the MSM have no idea how to handle her, how to cope with her, how to expose her. She destroyed them last time and somehow perpetuated the meme that they destroyed her. This is a dangerous, dangerous person.” —Andrew Sullivan responding to Howard Dean’s remarks on Palin being a legit 2012 candidate.
Some amusing “according to Palin” tweets.
Bill Maher jokes on a few small Palin gaffe’s. Her unknowingly being that close to Romney may be a side effect of her spur-of-the-moment/secretively scheduled tour.
Jonathan Chait gives her a better chance than most:
But while Bachmann may be even crazier than Palin on questions of public policy, she seems to manage to hold things together as a candidate. She can answer questions from the news media. She is putting together a professional campaign rather than relying on amateur advisors. She takes care to point out frequently that she is a former tax lawyer, and she does not engage in Palin’s visceral anti-intellectualism, giving herself the aura of a plausible president, at least in the minds of Republican voters. Bachmann may well combine Palin’s most powerful traits without her crippling organizational failures.
It’s worth keeping in mind that the 2010 election cycle featured a long series of conservative upstarts shocking the mainstream media by knocking off establishment-approved candidates in nominating contests. Obviously, the nominating contest is a series of state-level nominating primaries generally dominated by an activist base. Right now, the right wing of the party nominating field is a vacuum. Somebody is going to fill that vacuum.
Palin has partial executive experience (commented on here) while Bachmann has established herself as a stateswoman. I personally wouldn’t vote for either in the unlikely scenario that they were the last two standing for the GOP nomination. I do like that Chait gives Bachmann the fair credit due to her while still not brushing under the rug her craziness.
Reflections on Sarah Palin as a 2012 candidate and POTUS:
“The objections to Mrs Palin are about personality rather than policy. The fear is that she’s too reckless, too divisive and too intemperate to be an effective president. If that’s the case, there’s no reason to think that voters will go for it.” –Erica Grieder
“Given the massive debt, I think her prescription of more, big tax cuts is like giving an alcoholic a free jagermeister supply. Given the perilous instability and transformation in the Middle East, I think accelerating the colonization of the West Bank is insanely reckless, and striking Iran potentially catastrophic. An energy policy that focuses entirely on sustaining a carbon economy is terribly short-sighted. I suspect she would gladly bring back torture into the American government. Above all, I agree with George Will that someone this unstable, this disturbed and this delusional having access to the nuclear codes terrifies me. These concerns are not all about personality, although in her case, I think we have someone outside any conventional boundaries of responsibility. They are also about preventing America accelerating its decline.” –Andrew Sullivan
That is, Sarah Palin:
The state is about to release more than 24,000 pages of Sarah Palin’s emails from her time as governor. But officials are also going to withhold another 2,415 pages the state deems privileged, personal or otherwise exempt from Alaska’s disclosure laws.
News organizations and individuals requested the Palin emails under Alaska’s public records law more than two years ago when she was running for vice president.
The messages are finally now about to be released as the former governor contemplates a bid for the presidency. State officials expect to send the emails to a commercial printer to be copied this week, a process that is estimated to take about four days.
As I noted earlier today, Palin is making her cross-country trip, effectively rousing the people for a possible 2012 GOP bid. Palin is taking an unconventional route (no pun intended) in that she is purposefully eluding the press (and even her fans) and making them find her. In a sense, this tour will either give Palin the green or red light in terms of running in 2012:
According to a source with knowledge of Palin’s thinking, the tour is a test of whether she can do it “her way,” which the source described as “nontraditional, low-cost, high-tech…. The key is to be totally unpredictable and always keep her rivals off-balance.”
With that under-the-radar approach, Palin may have some gold up her sleeve:
Unscripted moments that go badly can haunt a politician on YouTube during a campaign and into the future, but Palin’s ease with a rope line and her politicking skills are one of her best assets. A Palin campaign may not have a press bus or the more formal interviews that reporters crave, but her team will undoubtedly factor in added time for her to greet supporters and campaign not just in large rallies but one on one as well.
The one major trait of Palin that could doom her chances is her divisiveness. Everything from her comments post-Tuscon to her Tweets, she polarizes the political debate to awful extremes (sometimes even cultural ones). Andrew Sullivan made this ironic point when she moved to Arizona, a state bitterly divided between the white, conservative north and the Hispanic south.
One other irony: Palin made the comment that she loves the smell of emissions. This comment could have many meanings behind it. It coincidentally was said by her the same day this report (eyes widen) was released:
According to the IEA, a record 30.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide was released into the atmosphere last year, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels. In light of these shocking numbers, experts now fear that it will be impossible to prevent a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius — which scientists say is the threshold for potentially “dangerous climate change.”
Picture by Flickr user Dave77459
She made a stop yesterday in northern York county and then made her way over to Philadelphia to see the liberty bell. I wonder if she took I-76 or the more scenic Route 30.
As governor, Mr Johnson showed that a non-ideological, pragmatic libertarianism can work as a governing philosophy. But neither full-blooded libertarians nor allegedly liberty-loving tea-party enthusiasts really care much about governing. Libertarians, accustomed to dwelling on the margins of American politics, participate in elections without hope of electoral success, if they participate at all. For them, presidential campaigns offer at best an occasion to preach the libertarian gospel to the wary public, and the more table-pounding the better.
Johnson’s style – relaxed, calm, patient – is ill-suited to the times. His principles and beliefs challenge conservatives and liberals alike while offering nothing to the nationalist rassentiment that pervades the Republican party these days. Ron Paul’s movement is, fundamentally, based on emotion; Johnson makes the mistake of trying to appeal to reason. That won’t work this year.
Gary Johnson by far is not the perfect candidate in my eyes but he looks better to me than Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Hermain Cain, and Ron Paul. The again, those aforementioned have just about the same chance (not much) of winning the nomination.
Joshua Green has a great piece out in this months issue of The Atlantic on the two sides to Sarah Palin. He breaks it down into two general categories: her time as a reformist in Alaska and then everything after her VP-acceptance speech at the Republican National convention. I will highlight some points, but it is worth a full read.
Throughout most of its history as a territory and, after 1959, as a state, Alaska was a tenuous proposition, a barren outpost rich in resources yet congenitally poor because the outside interests that extracted them didn’t leave much behind. The main obstacle to statehood was convincing Congress that Alaska wouldn’t immediately go bust. It still relies heavily on aid from Washington, and that, combined with the federal government’s holding title to 60 percent of its land base (the state itself holds 28 percent more), generates a robust resentment of federal power. The colonial mind-set is reinforced by the intensity of the state’s politics, a common attribute of remote settlements like Alaska, as the historian Ken Coates has noted—think Lord of the Flies.
Irony, isn’t it? Next, her political traits that evolved as she left Alaska:
…she displayed all the traits that would become famous: the intense personalization of politics, the hyper-aggressive score-settling—and the dramatic public gesture, which came next.
This score-settling style evolved, in my eyes, from easy enemies (corrupt Republicans in Alaska) to national figures (Barack Obama, et al).
Next, to put some perspective on how Alaska is politically:
Alaska’s parties align differently from parties elsewhere—they’re further to the right and principally concerned with resource extraction. The major philosophical divide, especially on oil and gas, is between those who view the state as beholden to the oil companies for its livelihood, and will grant them almost anything to ensure that livelihood, and those who view its position as being like the owner of a public corporation for whom the oil companies’ interests are separate from and subordinate to those of its citizen-shareholders. “Oil and gas cuts a swath right through ordinary partisan politics,” Patrick Galvin, Palin’s revenue commissioner, told me.
Now, for the reformist in her, she created ACES (Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share), a tax-base program that helped bring Alaska to a comfy $12 billion surplus, as well as enacted other moderate measures:
At first, her team tried to win the Republicans over. But it became clear this wasn’t going to happen. So Palin did something that would be hard to imagine from her today: she pivoted to the Democrats. “We sat down with her and said, ‘If you want to get something passed, it’ll have to be much stronger,’” Les Gara, a liberal House member, told me. “And to give her credit, she did what she needed to get a bill passed.”
In the end, Palin essentially grafted the Democrats’ proposal onto her own. What she signed into law went well beyond her original proposal: ACES imposes a higher base tax rate than its predecessor on oil profits. But the really significant part has been that the tax rate rises much sooner and more steeply as oil prices climb—the part Democrats pushed for. The tax is assessed monthly, rather than annually, to better capture price spikes, of which there have been many. ACES also makes it harder for companies to claim tax credits for cleaning up spills caused by their own negligence, as some had done under the old regime.
She kept herself focused, too: though priding herself on her well-advertised social conservatism, she was prepared to set it aside when necessary. Rather than pick big fights about social issues, she declined to take up two abortion-restriction measures that she favored, and vetoed a bill banning benefits for same-sex partners of state workers.
Palin obsessed over her image, even more than most politicians. According to Bailey, she orchestrated a campaign to inundate newspapers with phony letters praising her. This evidently became a favored tactic. Bailey even includes a letter he says she wrote under another name accusing an opponent, John Binkley, of copying her Web-site design. (Excerpt: “This may not seem like such a big deal, but not having an original idea and taking credit for someone else’s work gives us a clue of how Johne [sic] works.”) In the idiom of the Web, Palin was a troll.
Much of this was harmless (if also pointless) and would not have undermined her political career. Politicians from Nixon to Clinton have been similarly consumed and still flourished. But Palin also committed more-serious ethical breaches. The most notorious of these involved her attempts to get her former brother-in-law, a state trooper, fired, and included Palin’s removal of the trooper’s boss when he didn’t comply with her wish. An investigation by the legislature found that, in some of her actions, she had abused her powers.
Palin seems to have been driven by a will to advance herself and by a virulent animus against anyone who tried to impede her. But this didn’t prevent her from being an uncommonly effective governor, while she lasted. On the big issues, at least, she chose her enemies well, and left the state in better shape than most people, herself included, seem to realize or want to credit her for. It’s odd that someone so preoccupied with her image hasn’t gotten this across better. And it raises the question of what she could have achieved.
“The thing that strikes me again and again is that she was so single-minded when she got here,” Gregg Erickson, a former senior state economist and co-founder of the Alaska Budget Report, an influential political newsletter, told me. “The problem with amateurs in politics is that they often lack that focus. She had it. She was terrible at running a staff, and given that, it’s amazing she was successful. But on the issues she made the focus of her administration—the oil tax and the gas line—she had good staff, listened to them, and backed them up. She was a transformative governor, no question. If it hadn’t been for her stunning ability to confuse personal interests and her role as governor, she could have gone on to be tremendously successful.”
With all of this past her, below is what most of America in the lower 48 only know when they think of Sarah Palin:
Palin’s old colleagues were stunned. “The speech at the Republican convention that made her a star, that was just shocking,” French told me. “She could have said, ‘I’ll do for the nation what I did for Alaska: I’ll work with both sides and won’t care where the ideas come from.’ Her background supported that. Instead, they handed her a red-meat script she’s been reading from ever since.”
But all of that is overshadowed by the full-throated assault on Barack Obama, rooted in deep cultural resentment, that became the campaign’s ethos and remains Palin’s identity. What resonate are her charges that Obama wanted to “forfeit” the war in Iraq and that he condescended to “working people” with talk of “how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns.”
That didn’t carry her to Washington, but it did reshape the contours of American politics. Today, there aren’t many Republicans of the type Palin was in Alaska; but nearly every Republican seeking the White House strives to evoke the more grievance-driven themes of her convention speech. Regardless of whether she runs too, her influence will be more broadly and deeply felt than anyone else’s. But it’s hard to believe that her party, or her country, or even Palin herself, is better off for that.
Palin might have been the torchbearer of reform, a role that would have come naturally. Everything about her—the aggressiveness, the gift for articulating resentments, her record and even her old allies in Alaska—would once more have been channeled against a foe worth pursuing. Palin, not Obama, might ultimately have come to represent “Change We Can Believe In.” What had he done that could possibly compare with how she had faced down special interests in Alaska?
A final note on Palin, or a wake-up call to the GOP:
Palin’s achievement was to pull Alaska out of a dire, corrupt, enduring systemic crisis and return it to fiscal health and prosperity when many people believed that such a thing was impossible. She did this not by hewing to any ideological extreme but by setting a pragmatic course, applying a rigorous practicality to a set of problems that had seemed impervious to solution. She challenged supposedly inviolable political precepts, and embraced more-nuanced realities: Republicans sometimes must confront powerful business interests; to govern effectively, you have to cooperate with the other side; you sometimes must raise taxes to balance a budget; and doing these things can actually enhance rather than destroy your career, whatever anybody says. True reform—not pandering to the base—established Palin’s broad popularity in Alaska.
In the end, Alaskan Palin seems to me to be a decent candidate and much less polarizing. Then again, she might be better fit for smaller market gubernatorial seats that don’t attract as much attention when her normal craziness occurs.
Tim Pawlenty. Dave Weigel provides a solid piece on him:
This is seriously unfair to Pawlenty, but you can understand what his party’s thinking. If prospective candidates were universities, and the Republican primary voter were a high-school senior applying to college, then Pawlenty would be the safety school. A bland, solid Midwestern land-grant university. The problem with a safety school, of course, is that no one’s in a hurry to RSVP “yes” to it. David Frum, who occasionally predicts that Pawlenty will win the nomination, puts it another way: “Predicting Pawlenty feels like reaching the wrong answer on a math exam. You do the calculation and you arrive at the answer, Pawlenty. You think: That can’t be right.”
This could be a similar issue with Gary Johnson’s campaign. How much do these two need to fire up the respective GOP and Independent bases to get the rousing support they need to compete?
Weigel also compares Pawlenty to Palin/Romney:
Why is Pawlenty such a hard sell to Republicans? It may be a matter of branding. Whatever a candidate seems to be, people try to find it in his speeches. Mitt Romney is branded as a guy who will say anything, so his speeches are combed for evidence of flip-flops. Sarah Palin is branded as an angry mom who’ll say anything and reaches the boiling point after the most minor insult; her speeches, tweets, and Facebook notes are read like the Kabbalah for more proof of the theory.
Daniel Larison sees shades of Mike Huckabee when he sees Pawlenty (as well as attributes possibly anathema or below par for the GOP base):
Pawlenty is a compromise candidate in a party that is largely tired of having to settle for what they can get. The few things that distinguish him and make him somewhat interesting to some conservatives, such as his working-class background and conversion to evangelical Protestanism, are things that make him seem to be just enough of a working-class Huckabee-like populist to give some Republicans pause. This means that people with money are probably going to be disinclined to give some of that money to him just as they were unwilling to support Huckabee financially.
Meanwhile, Pawlenty’s actual record is so reliably and generically mainstream Republican that he appears merely adequate rather than exciting.
When Jon Huntsman said that Sarah Palin represents and can relate to every American, I winced. Does she see America when she looks into the all white crowd? (Mind you, the minorities in the video were all working security/stadium crew).
Robert Reich explains how the hypothetical presidential match-up between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama has dwindled from a 13 point lead for Barack to just 1 point:
Why is Mitt doing so well? Partly because Obama’s positions are by now well known, while voters can project anything they want onto Mitt. It’s also because much of the public continues to worry about the economy, jobs, and the price of gas at the pump, and they inevitably blame the president.
But I suspect something else is at work here, too. To many voters, President Obama sounds and acts presidential, but he doesn’t look it. Mitt Romney is the perfect candidate for people uncomfortable that their president is black. Mitt is their great white hope.
I wouldn’t take it so far with the race card. Mitt is somewhat ambiguous when it comes to policy, yes. However, he seems to be the same, plain candidate that was around in 2008:
I say this not because Mitt’s mind is the sharpest of the likely contenders (Newt Gingrich is far more nimble intellectually). Nor because his record of public service is particularly impressive (Tim Pawlenty took his governorship seriously, while Mitt as governor seemed more intent on burnishing his Republican credentials outside Massachusetts). Nor because Mitt is the most experienced at running a business (Donald Trump has actually managed a major company, while Mitt made his money buying and selling companies). Nor, finally, because he’s especially charismatic or entertaining (Sarah Palin can work up audiences, and Mike Huckabee is genuinely funny and folksy, while Mitt delivers a speech so deliberately he seems to be driving a large truck).
Which is a more far-fetched conspiracy theory: Barack Obama was not born in America (birtherism) or Sarah Palin’s son, Trig, is not a biological son of Sarah?
Email your thoughts to vgiordano at gmail dot com.