Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Palin in 2012

It seems like every time I read the newspapers I see yet another premature obituary for Gov. Sarah Palin's political career. I am starting to smell a little fear behind this overweening punditry. Obviously Palin is not yet a political star. She clearly was unprepared for her sudden ascent to the national stage, and her family has more than its share of drama. Nevertheless, Sen. John McCain made an inspired choice when he asked Palin to be his running-mate on the Republican ticket last year.

Despite her inexperience, Palin has refused to let the usual clique of Republican operatives manage her affairs and has resisted the temptation to cozy up to the Republican establishment. Indeed, she has become somewhat infamous for snubbing various organizations and individuals associated with the party. Palin remains a political maverick. Although some of her apparent missteps are simply missteps, I suspect Palin instinctively recognizes that the old Republican establishment is incompetent, irrelevant, and politically poisonous for her future.

Of the possible contenders for the 2012 Republican nomination, I believe Palin alone has the potential to challenge Obama on his own turf. She is a fresh face for the Republican party and her personal life story is an inspiration to many. She appeals to the fiscal conservatives, the libertarians, and the evangelicals. Most of all, Palin is a celebrity-in-waiting. There is a certain breathless anticipation with which the press watch her. Whenever Palin attends some national dinner--or fails to--it merits coverage just below the fold. Huckabee and Romney can do all the political maneuvering and schmoozing they want, but they labor in obscurity.

It is possible that Palin has no desire to run a grueling primary campaign and would prefer simply to make some money on the lecture/book circuit and stay in Alaska with her family. But she scares me. She has made a career of unseating incumbents with ruthless campaigns--the charming nastiness she brought to the 2008 race was no accident. With more savvy and more control, she will be a very formidable candidate. If she decides to run for President in 2012, I believe Sarah Palin will be the Republican nominee.


Raised By Republicans said...

"She has appeal to the fiscal conservatives, the libertarians, and the evangelicals."

I respectfully disagree with this statement Dr. S. Her management of the Alaskan budget has been one of profligate spending of the federal money and oil company royalties that Alaska bases its budget on. She balances the budget of Alaska only because she has two endless streams of cash available that do not impose any costs on the people who vote for her.

Fiscal conservatives know this. My conversations with my fiscal conservative and libertarian relatives confirm that they think Sarah Palin represents everything that they find alienating and disillusioning about the Bush-Rove Republican party.

The Republicans who do like Palin are the socially conservative theo-populists that form the ever shrinking base of the Rovian GOP. It is that narrow crowd of wing-nuts who are keeping Palin relevant not her broad appeal.

What Dr. S sees as "missteps" I see as policy positions that she genuinely believes in but which are incompatible with national electoral success (one recently important example, she still refuses to call abortion clinic bombers and assassins "terrorists").

Her family is continuing to be a Jerry Springer train wreck that does not play well outside the aforementioned narrow base of religious fanatics.

All that said, I do think that she is at least thinking seriously about running in 2012 and she will be a force to be reckoned with in the Republican primaries.

Reaganite Republican Resistance said...

If Sarah Palin is SO silly and irrelevant, why the obsession? Clearly the Left noted her appeal, and are out to eliminate the threat- it’s not like it’s not obvious.

And she’s been highly successful in life while ignoring the left-wing feminist model… this helps to explain the extra dose of venom in the attacks.

Of course, the Democrats are plenty afraid of Palin coming-back at them in 2012 with a dynamic and complementary VP like Bobby Jindal… or visa versa.

And they surely have reason to fear her- Palin is the most popular governor in the country… are all those people idiots? Alaska was a pretty corrupt system until she stepped in. Her reforms took on entrenched politicians (inc. Republicans), a mafioso-style union boss, and Big Oil.

Wouldn’t it have been nice if Obama had been principled and brave enough to confront the corrupt Chicago Democratic Machine?

Or shady political operators like Tony Rezko?

Racist preachers?

Instead of doing business with every last one of them?

Go get em, Sarah- and don’t mind the press, nobody will be listening to them anymore after the pending Obamamania implosion- and once the ties of GE and others with media holdings to the Obama administration are fully exposed.

Raised By Republicans said...

I rest my case.

Dr. Strangelove said...

RbR, I completely agree that Sarah Palin's record as governor gives her very little on which to claim she is a fiscal conservative. Your comments about the Alaska budget are dead on, although I fear most conservatives will not scratch the surface enough to discover this. Nevertheless, Palin talks the talk and she has taken some steps toward rejecting congressional earmarks. She can certainly hold her own on this issue compared to Romney and Huckabee, for example.

But I hear you. So let me back up and say that she has the potential to appeal to fiscal conservatives. To do that, she absolutely must distance herself from the Bush-Rove camp. She needs to broaden her appeal while maintaining the loyalty of her base. I believe that is why she is avoiding the Republican establishment and working hard to maintain her outsider status.

I also do not think her family soap opera will harm her much in the long run. The folks most likely to care about the unwed mother/teen pregnancy issue are the social conservatives, and they love her anyway. Also, anyone who appears to be "attacking her family" will look bad. She can play the "working mom" card to the hilt, if you will pardon the mangled metaphor.

As I indicated in the original post, I think Reaganite Republican Resistance is correct that at least a few of Palin's gleeful eulogizers are really somewhat frightened of her and are trying to eliminate the threat. But these are not just people on the Left: Palin has many worried rivals on the Right too. (I observe that Reaganite Republican Resistance's anti-Obama rant betrays a similar desperation.)

Raised By Republicans said...

In paying attention to my conservative relatives of various stripes, I have seen little evidence that Palin has the kind of broad appeal - even among different kinds of conservatives - that you say she does Dr. S. Can you give us some indication of why you think she has this kind of appeal? I should say that I don't regard assumptions of the unwillingness of inability of conservative voters to accurately assess her record as evidence.

Raised By Republicans said...

By the way, Reaganite Republican Resistance gives us a fascinating look at the psychological pathology of the Republican (I won't go so far as to say he represents conservatives generally). His pseudonym betrays a perception of victimhood. It also not so subtly suggests that Republicans are resisting some kind of tyranny.

Anyone who saw Bobby Jindal speak on TV after Obama's speech earlier this year would never call the guy "dynamic." I'm guessing that RRR thinks Jindal is a threat to Obama because Jindal has a "funny" name and brown skin and is therefore a good foil for Obama. Assuming that is true, it betrays the logic Republicans have about the 2008 election. They think they were defeated by a combination of bad luck economically and naive sentimentality about electing a black President.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Republicans are hostile to working women. For most Republican officeholders, Sarah Palin is the first working mother they have not decried as abandoning her children or being a "feminazi." The reason, of course, is that she's a Supermom... sort of. She has five kids and manages to go back to work within hours of having a baby. No whining about maternity leave or family medical leave for her! Nobody had to do anything "special" for her - she could work just like a man (well, like a man who leaves childcare to his wife). And she doesn't miss a hockey game! And a beauty pageant winner in heels too! So if a woman is able (or willing) to do that, then conservatives say fine, she can work. Otherwise, you're a Bad Mother. What a disgraceful episode. As if she did not have all the advantages of nannies and housekeepers that regular Americans can't afford. And McCain saying he was "so proud of her" as if she was a little girl at a piano recital rather than someone he would put one (weak) heartbeat away from the presidency.

Don't confuse celebrity with anything more than that.

Even Hillary Clinton, who had so much more to offer than Palin in every way, lost the Democratic primary in part because her campaign staff confused her celebrity with the level of real voter support until it was too late to fix the damage.

The Law Talking Guy said...

PS I don't want to start a Hillary Clinton thing here. I just really mean that I think her staff overestimated how well she would do in the primaries without more groundwork because they were mistaking celebrity poll numbers for real poll numbers. I think the insider stories we've seen largely bear that out. It is true also that when HRC began campaigning in earnest in March she did as well as Obama did, but it was too late.

Raised By Republicans said...

The famous "Palin Effect" was interesting. It gaveth and it tooketh away. At first, her newness and celebrity like appeal drove a surge in McCain support that looked like it might just reverse the course of the election. However, it peaked early and in the medium and long term, Palin proved to be an extremely polarizing figure rather than the bold figure with broad appeal Dr. S. sees her as. I've seen some analyses that argued fairly convincingly that she was a drag on the McCain ticket. Think about that. A drag on the McCain ticket. By the Fall of 2008, McCain was looking like a very weak candidate and Palin was a drag on his numbers.

Take a look at these numbers:

Dr. Strangelove said...

I agree that Palin was an inexperienced and polarizing figure in 2008, not a bold one. In the end she might even have proven to be a drag on the ticket in 2008.

But what I also saw in Sarah Palin is a woman who has the raw material--the potential--to become a political star in 2012 and beyond. With just a little repackaging she could unite the fiscal conservatives and western libertarians, while also bringing in the working moms and the Evangelicals in an unholy alliance. Anyway, that is what I fear. I think she is widely underestimated now because of how the 2008 race turned out. (Incidentally, I really dislike her, but that's beside the point.)

On another note, so far as I can see, the only thing the Republicans are "resisting" is change. Like reforming health care, fixing immigration, regulating the financial markets, stimulating the economy--really, everything.

Raised By Republicans said...

Dr. S. I see your point about her potential. She is photogenic and seems to have a kind of Working Class Hero aspect to her. She also seems to have reasonable political instincts - at least within the context of Alaska's weird politics and the Evangelical fringe. But I honestly think she is profoundly unintelligent - to the point where she makes G.W. Bush look smart. I think she honestly believes the crazy positions she's taken. I think she is also dumb enough to think that there is a silent majority of people out there who believe the things she does.

Also, she has yet to realize that potential. The polls shown here ( show that her favorable/unfavorable ratios as of May 2009 are at 46/43. That's not good for Palin it reveals a deeply polarizing. What's more, people who have a "very negative" opinion of outnumber people who have a "very positive" view of her 2 to 1 (April 2009). That's also not good for Palin.

USwest said...

So let me play sterotypes here becuase today I am feeling punchy.

You all sound way too much like Democrats with your poll numbers and logical comments about her actual record, and your intellect. HELLO!

Everyone knows that substance matters little to Republicans. Republicans are simple folk. They like their guns, their money, and their God, and they aren't ashamed to say so. You don't need much more than that to run as their candidate. Notice that they love to pick actors, pretty people, charmers, and place holders. Explain, please, the current RNC chair? Can you say "shallow"? It must be so easy being red. No guilt, no nuance, no deep thought. Just clear the brush and shoot your friends in the face.

And ahemm . . . remember Bush v. Gore. Should I say more?

Don't undersestimate the power of the Republican marketing machine. They are all rich business men, remember.

Raised By Republicans said...

But that's the thing about polls. Polls don't say what WE think they say what a random sample of people think. So the poll numbers are a good check against exactly the kind of Democratic group thinking you allude to US West.

Anonymous said...

US West is on to something here...and we all should know by now from what we have seen from the talking heads of the Republican party, that they are not a sane lot. They are only against things. If they had a position on some issue, the next day, it will be the antithesis of what they said previously. I heard a right wind, (ha, Freudian slip), radio host say that the last time she looked, government did not run anything well...(the discussion was on the Republican suggestion to boycott GM, how American is that? see the insanity?)...anyway, what I want to ask her is, how well does her deregulated, free market run things? Where did that get us? Failed banks, media bias, failed media companies, failed insurance companies, Enron, WorldComm, etc... Everything George Bush ever touched turned to shit and our country is his latest masterpiece.

With that said, insanity with power is very scary and the Sarah Palins', Carl Roves, Dick Cheneys, Newt Gingrichs, John McCains, Bill O'Reillys, Rush Limbaughs, Sean Hannitys, of the world, are a group of folks not to ever be taken lightly or underestimated...but you will NEVER reason with this kind of mentality, so save yourself the can only reason with ignorance, not insanity and frankly, stupidity.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I love it - the government doesn't run anything well. They never say this in front of the troops.

Anonymous said...

Sarah Palin makes me very, very angry. If you're pretty, pleasant, compliant and, most of all, rich, the Republicans will smile approvingly at a working mother. If you have a prestigious job, you can (maybe) be a working mother. The rest of us working women should just put up, shut up and get to the back of the line. Or better yet, listen to people like Ann Coulter and Dr. Laura and feel bad about ourselves.

Part of this is about screwing women economically. I am surprised at the number of educated, professional women I know who seem to live in this financial fantasy-land where they say, "well, most of my income would be taken up by child care and dressy clothes, so it just doesn't pay for me to work (cue shy knowing smile)."

As any number of economists have pointed out, you lose money over the course of your career by stepping out of the labor force. You also lose things like retirement contributions, health insurance, and seniority. These professional mothers look at a snapshot of their monthly expenses without thinking about the long-term costs. These are the same people who calculate these expenses by allocating the child-care expense entirely to the mother's salary, which is facile. That essentially treats the women's child-care labor as free in computing the cost of running the family unit.

Also, (and this is a big problem of mine that makes me sound like a Republican) I work and I PAY TAXES. I pay taxes in California which fund libraries, free preschool programs, free speech therapy for kids with speech delays, and public parks that catch hell from the Republican uber-mummies if they can't get a birthday-party permit fast enough. I help fund a jury system that lets stay-at-home mothers be excused from service while the rest of us have to cobble together arrangements for a sick kid so I can sit on a 3-day trial next to a witch who tells me that I'm missing the best years of my daughter's life by working.

It's also about "divide and conquer." I think it must be incredibly confusing to Republican women that Condoleeza Rice and Sarah Palin are placed on pedestals along with the super-coiffed wives of McCain and Romney. (The profile of Cindy McCain in Vogue almost made me want to vomit. Buying multiple ocean view condos in the same building to "take a little break"?).

Of course, I am incredibly lucky. Law Talking Baby goes to a wonderful, non-profit daycare center near my office with kind teachers and finger painting and a curriculum. She's not an axe murderer. I have a job with set hours and telecommuting. I have a husband who takes on better than half of the baby and domestic tasks. I have the scratch to hire help. And I want other women to have the same things I have.

I'm not obsessed with Sarah Palin. I'm disgusted by her.

-Seventh Sister

Dr. Strangelove said...

I have three Republican friends who are working mothers. One is an Evangelical in her 30s, another is a Catholic in her 40s, and the third is not especially religious, in her 50s. None of them were fond of Sarah Palin. They were embarrassed by her performance. However, they all were sympathetic toward her because they felt the "liberal media" had attacked her family.

I cannot speak for the Red State Republicans, but in my experience, the majority of Blue State Republicans are totally OK with working mothers. Single mothers is a different matter.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Dr.S- how do these Republican working mothers feel about themselves? About other working mothers? Did they tut-tut about Hillary Clinton being a working mother? Do they assume that working mothers need to have lesser jobs/careers to have a family? I point out that one of the issues that may recently have interfered with a job promotion by 7th Sister is the fear of older male bosses that she might soon have another baby or leave work to take care of another baby. Nobody would ever ask such questions about me, because I am a man. Republican women probably find nothing wrong with this. Genuine equality with men is too scary.

Raised By Republicans said...

7th Sister,

I'm sorry to hear about the promotion. I am sure you deserved it! It wouldn't shock me if LTG were right about what derailed it.

RE: Palin. Here is what I don't like about the entire Palin family. The "story" is that Sarah Palin is this do it all mother who can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. Or that Todd is a stay at home dad. But the reality is that neither of the adult Palins seem to have been particularly attentive parents and they didn't seem to have day care, a baby sitter or favorite Uncle to check in from time to time. And the result seems to be the numerous pictures on the internet of Bristol engaging in open under age drinking (seemingly unconcerned that her parents would find out - empty bottles in her room, posting the photos on her and her boyfriend's myspace page etc). And of course all this out of control teen behavior culminating in an unwanted pregnancy. Oops.

But Sarah Palin is held up as a paragon of Republican womanhood? Give me a break. My dad - a life long Republican who grew up in a small farm town in the upper midwest - was disgusted by the Palins' parenting or lack of it too.

Anonymous said...

I didn't like the coverage of Palin's family, either. One of the biggest lessons I've had to learn as a parent is that you have a lot less control of your kid than you might think. Some kids are just trouble no matter what their parents do or don't do.

As for the job stuff, the major reason I didn't get the new gig is that they had a person with similar qualifications but about 10 more years of experience apply at the same time. And apparently it was still very, very close. So I'm hopeful about my future prospects.

-Seventh Sister

-Seventh Sister

Raised By Republicans said...

I think Palin's family was fairly treated. Yes it was harsh but Palin begged for it. Palin's entire political identity is rooted in the idealized image of her role in her family. Remember the way they shameless used their little Downs Syndrome Baby as a prop at campaign functions? At the Republican Convention the cameras made sure to get close ups of each Palin family member and Cindy McCain holding little Trig or Algebra or what ever his name is.

That makes it fair - no - absolutely necessary to report on how that family actually works. On top of it, Palin's ideology is fundamentally one in which she wishes to have the state dictate how we all structure our families.

That Palin's family was a Jerry Springer train wreck would only be a personal problem (and so none of our business) if it weren't for her raging hypocrisy politically. BECAUSE she brought it up, I say it was fair to dig dig dig.

Imagine what the press would have done if Barack Obama had a teenage daughter who was a border line alcoholic single mother who now claimed to plan to marry some failed high school athlete from "the hood."