Thursday, March 29, 2012
CNN, of all outlets, posted a mostly-positive article today about how different things would be if Governor Palin had decided to run for the GOP nomination. I do not agree with all of Timothy Stanley's assessment of the Governor, but he makes some good points:
It didn't have to be this way. If Sarah Palin had entered the contest, I'd hypothesize two alternative realities. One, she'd have the nomination sewn up by now. Two, she'd be running even in the polls with the president.
What have proved to be problems for the top three candidates wouldn't have been problems for Palin. For starters, she has none of Newt Gingrich's intellectual hubris. There's no way Palin would have promised to put a mine on the moon or suggest arresting judges who make decisions that are too liberal. Her conservatism is far more domestic and down-to-Earth.
She's also more disciplined than Santorum.
Lacking the foibles of Gingrich and Santorum, Palin would have been a far more effective anti-Romney candidate because her strengths accentuated Romney's weaknesses. Romney is known as the Etch A Sketch candidate; Palin is aggressively authentic. Romney is seen by many as a moneyed elitist; Palin is the conservative class warrior, happy to slam the "crony capitalism" that benefits both big labor and big business. Romney's limitations have been revealed, one by one, in the course of the primary campaign; Palin was well-vetted by the press in 2008 and has nothing left to say or do that would surprise us.
Love her or loathe her, we all know who Palin is. Her weaknesses, being old news, wouldn't have dominated the primary narrative like Bain Capital or Seamus the dog, made famous by his terrifying ride atop Romney's car. Palin would have spent the past three months attacking her opponents. Then she would have turned her guns on the president.
The Republicans desperately need a candidate who can appeal to lower-income voters, who can rally men, who can gain women's votes, who can bring out conservatives in large numbers and who can appeal to a younger demographic. All these things happened in the 2010 midterms, when the GOP made inroads into blue-collar households and middle-class suburbs on a policy platform virtually embodied by the Alaskan maverick.
The GOP needs a Tea Party candidate -- either Sarah Palin or someone very like her. Alas, it's going to have to wait until 2016 to get its rogue.
Read more here.