Wednesday, November 10, 2010

When Table Scraps Are No Longer Good Enough

Kathleen Parker appears concerned that Sarah Palin may damage the Republican Party in the 2012 election.
But [Rep. Spencer] Bachus [who alleged that Palin cost the Republicans control of the Senate], possibly the highest-ranking member of Congress to confront the obvious, or to tempt the fates that now await him, was brave to speak foul of the princess party girl as he now invites the considerable scorn of the new and improved GOP base.

Although Tea Party members tend to be over-45 white men - no implication intended regarding Palin's popularity, but infer at will - there is considerable overlap with the demographic formerly known as the GOP base, a.k.a. white Southerners and social conservatives, libertarian streak notwithstanding.
A year ago, Sarah Palin appeared quite content to be part of the Republican Party, and to want to bring the Tea Party movement into the party. Now she appears to be on the verge of war with that faction of the Republican Party that prefers to serve the business and financial elite, and which increasingly appears to view Palin as a detriment to the party and a likely catastrophe as its Presidential candidate.

This highlights one of the difficulties the Republican Party has, in effect, made for itself in trying to bring together three factions that have little in common - in simple terms, the wealthy, libertarians/small government conservatives, and social/religious conservatives (a/k/a "the base") - and to hold that coalition by feeding the rich while appeasing the other two factions. Sarah Palin's supporters may not like the Democratic Party, but they appear almost as distrustful of establishment Republicans. Palin appears to have the present intention of maximizing her personal fortunes based upon her popularity with social/religious conservatives, but it appears that she also wants to be respected within the party both as a politician and a power broker. Or, as Parker says,
Not only would Palin the presidential candidate drive away other Republican candidates, but she would most certainly lose a national election. Thus, the GOP finds itself in a pickle: How to shed itself of this attractive nuisance?
Embrace her, and they may have to live with her as their candidate. Push her away, and they may have to deal with her as a third party candidate - and, unpopular though she may be with the public at large, it's nonetheless possible that she would be a spoiler extraordinaire, and that she would outpoll the Republican presidential nominee. Because the Tea Party movement has tasted power and, assuming somebody like Palin decides to peel the scales from their eyes, there's no reason to believe that they're going to knowingly settle for the usual table scraps while the Republicans serve the wealthy. ("Just don't look... Just don't look" - But you can't stop yourself, can you....)

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