Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Sarah Palin for President in 2012?

Should Palin run for President in 2012, I've speculated in the past that it would be as an independent. Her recent comments suggest to me that she probably does want to run, but will only run for the Republican nomination if she's all-but-assured of a victory. Otherwise I continue to expect her to take the easier path of self-coronation; I expect that she has enough followers in any given state to be assured a place on the ballot.

But wait, you say, wouldn't Palin be a spoiler for the Republicans in the election, just as Ross Perot was arguably a spoiler for G.W. Bush? Yes - it's quite likely that as a third party candidate the votes she attracts would otherwise go to the Republican nominee, and that President Obama will be reelected in a walk. But I suspect Palin would argue that it "serves them right". Petty? Vindictive? Well, yeah.

It was not very long ago that Sarah Palin argued that the Republicans should work to bring the Tea Party movement into the fold. Now she's positioning herself, ludicrously, as an outsider - it's Palin and the Tea Party against the GOP.
The Palin-aligned website Conservatives4Palin is using the Politico story [reporting that advisers to top potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates are united in their desire to stop Sarah Palin from winning the presidential nomination] for fundraising, as well as for the opportunity to cast what it calls the GOP establishment as an all-boys club.

"The GOP Establishment deems that nominating Governor Palin in 2012 would spell disaster," writes Whitney Pitcher. "However, for whom would a Palin nomination be a disaster? The GOP Establishment? One of the GOP boys: Romney, Huckabee, Pawlenty, Gingrich, Thune, Barbour, Daniels?"

"If Governor Palin were to win the GOP nomination, the Establishment dies," adds Pitcher.
It was fun and games for the GOP when Palin was a 50' Eyesore that the Dems couldn't stop staring at, but... funny how these things turn out.

I've heard it suggested that, as a Republican nominee, Palin could present a serious challenge to President Obama. Perhaps if the recession takes a second dip, or Obama hires David Broder as an adviser, but otherwise I don't think so. Leaving aside Palin's present unpopularity, it's highly unlikely that she's going to be coronated as the party's nominee in the manner of G.W. Bush. A primary fight will get ugly, and fast. And I would love to see who Palin might pick as VP who wouldn't make her look like a featherweight by comparison. I mean, she could appoint Dick Cheney to find a VP for her and then act surprised when he designates himself, but... that's already been done.

But seriously, note that some of the "best" candidates on the aforementioned list of "GOP boys" have little advantage on Palin in the résumé department. To the extent that some, at least, completed their terms as governor (as I've previously quipped) in their recent experience the only thing they've been running is their mouths. Newt Gingrich, devoid of charisma and a purveyor of fake awards; Mitt Romney, former corporate raider and proponent of healthcare reform that looks very much like the laws the GOP is now sworn to tear down (and was a terrible campaigner in 2008); Mike Huckabee, granter of an unfortunate pardon and resentful of the notion that a presidential candidate should be sufficiently versed in science to pass a test at the eighth grade level.... Rudy Giuliani, not even meriting a mention?

Oh yes, there's Jeb Bush. The GOP could coronate Jeb and, quite possibly, end up trailing Palin in the election returns. (But then, advice to the Republicans from Bob Shrum has to be taken in the same light as advice to the Dems from William Kristol or David Brooks - "Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly".)

So yes, everybody, keep staring at Sarah Palin. Don't point out how facially absurd it is for somebody who was crushed in the 2008 election to suggest that a vote that doesn't even take you out of office means that you "blew it". Yes, Rupert Murdoch, keep her on the payroll. Get her more reality TV shows. Keep her front, center, and "relevant". Bring her on.

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