The GOP has a Palin Problem

The National Journal conducted a poll of 109 Republican Party leaders, asking them to “rank 5 candidates in the order of likeliness to capture the GOP nod.”  That former MA Governor Mitt Romney topped the lists of those polled with 81 points, 62 per-cent of which were first place votes, is unsurprising.  Were it not for half-term Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s poor showing (25 points) it probably wouldn’t be worth talking about.

Not one of the party leaders or pundits polled selected Palin to top their list.  Taking into account the ideological nature of her supporters — distrustful of government, adherents to the myth of a liberal media, and, most importantly, a profound disdain for the GOP elite — this was the best outcome Palin could have hoped for.

Talented political prognosticator, Nate Silver, likes Palin’s chances to win 2012 Republican presidential nomination.  Silver posted “10 reasons that Palin Could Win,” last Nov. 18.  In his Jan. 7 reaction to the Insider’s Poll, Silver reiterated his number eight reason from last year:

…If the Establishment, owing to electability concerns or whatever else, tries to put hurdles in her way by re-structuring the primary or delegate allocation process, it may only play into the victimization complex of Palin and her supporters.

Silver’s commentary is apt, and though the poll doesn’t represent any direct effort to “neuter” Palin’s potential candidacy, that doesn’t mean they wont (see video, below).  “Although the Establishment’s concerns about Palin’s viability as a general election candidate are well grounded,” Silver notes, “mostly they’re just terrified of her because she doesn’t need them. “

It might be wiser for establishment Republicans to remain hands-off, and wait for Palin to self destruct.  Her supporters have proven themselves willing to keep their blinders on, content to cling to the dazzling façade rolled out at the 2008 Republican National Convention.  However, Palin’s high visibility — albeit, NEVER in a critical forum — increases the probability of a politically fatal mistake.

Indeed, she may have already made it.  I’m not referring to Palin’s recent doubling down on her “death panel” analysis of health care reform efforts in Washington – a turn of phrase awarded “Lie of the Year” for 2009 by, Pulitzer winner in that same year.  Palin’s deceit in this matter will go unnoticed by her supporters.

However, Palin’s snubbing of the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) has got much attention.  Much more interesting is her commitment to speak at the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Feb. 4-6.

Muriel Kane posted an excellent summary about how different factions are reacting to Palin’s curious positioning at, Jan. 8.

Missed opportunity, simple greed, or shrewd calculation? Only time will tell the real meaning of Sarah Palin’s Tea Party gambit.

Another aspect that has, thus far, received little attention from the media pertains to whom Palin will share the stage with at the Tea Party Convention.  Senior Fellow at Media Matters for America Eric Boehlert posed the question in a Jan. 9 post:  “Will the press question the ‘Palin – Farah’ ticket?”

The Beltway press still refuses to raise questions about Palin’s decision to attend the first annual Tea Party convention in Nashville next month and share the stage with a fringe radical like Joseph Farah, who is an avowed gay and Muslim-hating extremist, and whose wingnut publication, [World Net Daily], remains obsessed with the loony, and thoroughly debunked, conspiracy claim that Obama was not born in America.

Of course, Kane was correct – only time will tell how this will play out.  There is a long way to go, but the potential for Palin to become the 2012 GOP nominee still exists.  So, too, does another outcome which I suggested the day Palin announced her resignation as Governor of Alaska:

If Palin does still have national aspirations, her only hope of success (in her mind, mind you) would be to position herself at the head of some third-party, the radical right-wing of the GOP finally throwing off its remaining moderate faction.

See Also:

  • Here’s a teaser for the Jan. 10 ‘60 Minutes‘ segment on Sarah Palin:

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Leanne B.
Leanne B8 years ago

She's not gone yet?

Ann W.
Ann W8 years ago

I was one of the many Republican women who were wondering if McCain had finally given in to the dark side. I hope her debating demeanor improves, i.e., less winking and pointing. That is appropriate for middle school, but not life after.

I think there are too many "abuses of power" in her political record for her to win a nomination, especially for "Commander in Chief." Let CNN ask the questions, not FOX "news."

victoria f.
Victoria F8 years ago

i cannot think of much that scares me more than the thought of sarah palin holding a top political position in this country. didn't she do enough damage in alaska? not only is she clearly an anti-environmentalist, she's a radical right-wing extremist, using her hatred to inspire people who "think" the same way. i thought george bush was the dumbest politician to ever hold office, but i think sarah palin could make him look like somebody with a usable brain!
she didn't need katie couric or anybody else's help to look like an under-educated fool. she did that all by herself.
somebody save us from sarah palin and her fans!

Northern N.
Cam V8 years ago

Sheila, you are referring to the 'cut & paste' interviews with the likes of Coric et al who later crowed she was the one who 'took Palin down!" Still wondering down where exactly but whatever floated Coric's left wing boat. Never liked Couric myself but to each their own .... you believe what you are fed. Your choice. Be part of the solution or continue to be part of the problem that has brought your country down.

Sheila Larkin
sheila l8 years ago

I think Sarah Palin deserves a chance, she just started Fox news and I think she will become better each broadcast. She was very nervous on the intital interviews with O'Reilly and Beck. However, her comments on the Scott Brown win in MA showed more confidence. I think she is an honest, decent woman. She is not a phoney, like most of the loosers in Washington DC.

Judith S.
Judith S8 years ago

You mean the propoganda where she appeared on live television and stuck her foot in her mouth many times and made many foolish statements just so we would think she was really smart? Is that the propoganda you are referring to?

Northern N.
Cam V8 years ago

Sarah Palin is one of the most honest politicians in America right now. I am a fan and many people in British Columbia like her a great deal. My Province and the State of Alaska share a border and are involved in many deals together. I have friends in my very Liberal government who found her to be the best of the best. Drove a hard bargain for the people she was elected to represent, smart and honest in her dealings with my Province. You need to push all the propaganda aside that has been spewed about her by your lame stream media and find the real truth for yourself.

Sarah Palin: Faith, Family, Freedom ....

Judith S.
Judith S8 years ago

Northern N, so are you saying you think Sarah Palin is all that?

Northern N.
Cam V8 years ago

Pat, I think you are in the eastern part of Canada yes? liberal country because if you were here in the west you would be well aware that what you say about Palin is lies.
It saddens me to 'hear' my fellow Canadians taken in by the garbage and propaganda spewed by the hateful liberal media in America. I was hoping Canadians were more into facts than fiction. But it appears I am wrong ....

Pat Prest
Pat Prest8 years ago

Sarah Palin is America's "achillies heel!"

Bush and his band of merry men bled and bankrupt the country, now they want this women to run for president?

Even the republicans do not want this woman of letters!