What set this off was CNN’s political ticker claiming Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee were the frontrunners for the 2012 presidential race. As most news sites are now wont to do, they provided a user comments section. I should know by now to never, never, look at a news story’s comments. But I just couldn’t help myself. And the responses there, and elsewhere, compelled me to write this post.
First off, a note on CNN’s ridiculous poll. Usually, the losers figure prominently in the way-early polling for next cycle’s race. I believe Gore would have had the nomination wrapped up in 2004, and Kerry or Edwards would have had the nod in 2008 – if we were to believe the pointless opposition polling weeks after a defeat. So to think that Palin or Huckabee will be unconditionally facing Obama in ’12 is an assumption, one which many already seem to be making, that is way, waaaay off-base.
Next, I want to be honest – I like Sarah Palin. I like her populist-inspired honesty, and her unflinching defiance in the face of waves of such withering criticism. Lesser folks would have packed up and gone home, or worse and more common, sold out, a long time ago. But still she soldiered on, propping up and selling a McCain ticket that was doomed to fail since Super Tuesday, and stumping for RINO Chambliss, knowing her support might push him over the brink (Right, right, it was Georgia, so a Dem theoretically had little chance of winning – but her support did have an effect on the margin of victory).
I also think that she got the rawest of deals of any candidate in recent memory. I went to buy groceries one day in September ’08, three days after John McCain tapped her for VP, and the stand before the check-out was literally four cover stories about Palin’s pregnant daughter and revelations about all her past scandals (!) to one cover story about how much the Obamas loved each other. If you don’t believe in someone implementing a media coordination strategy, I suggest you strongly reconsider.
All we heard was how dumb she was, how moronically right-wing she was. First off, to answer Matt Damon’s idiotic musings, neither she or 99.99% of religious conservatives write off evolution and think dinosaurs lived with humans. That is a brain- dead and sophomoric argument, and the rebuttal ought to discredit three-fourths of criticism leveled against her. But I suppose we have to still have to uphold some stereotypes. Second, I’m fully aware she had some bad interviews with Gibson and Couric. I would have loved to see the same response applied to some of Biden’s idiotic statements – for example, that FDR was a great leader on TV when the Great Depression hit, or his pleadings for a paraplegic supporter to stand up at a campaign rally. It doesn’t matter now. Election’s over. Obama/Biden won.
The thing that irks me is that – Election’s over. Obama/Biden won. And still it’s deemed necessary to trash Palin and whatever she stands for. I look at this stupid leak where she supposedly answered some advisors knocking on her hotel room door in a bathrobe – broken after the election is over. I look at Andrew Sullivan’s continued hyperventilating over whether Trig is actually her biological child (hint to libs: despite what you’ve heard, her decision to not abort her Down’s Syndrome baby, though fundamentally decent, wasn’t the reason conservatives liked her). And I look at the continued perpetuation of the myth that somehow she’s the retarded stepchild of Reagan and the Bride of Frankenstein. Seriously – there are only 50 people elected to become governors, and if you honestly believe she can’t add two and two, then you need to have your head examined. There is a difference between differing with someone’s political views and being a slobbering idiot. Too many of those on the left see no distinction.
But on to the future.
It’s my belief that Palin’s goods are too damaged – though I believe that they were unfairly damaged by the mainstream and tabloid press – to have a viable chance in the future. My advice to her would be to lay low, govern effectively, and use that reform spirit you were so fond of quoting in the general election. My fear is that between the upcoming birth of her grandbaby and whatever minor Alaskan political contrivance, the press won’t leave her alone, and that no matter what she or her advisors want, she’ll still have her name thrown up along with all the other gossip of the day, keeping her name in a negative light and reminding folks of how much they hated her in ’08, no matter what she’s accomplished since then. No matter how unfair it seems, her name is “mud” at this point.
Recent history doesn’t bode well for Sarah Palin. The last person to win the White House after a previous Presidential defeat was Richard Nixon, and we all know how that turned out. One has to go back to the 1800s to find a previous retread that found victory. And there are still four years of Obama mediocrity/GREATNESS to trudge/BE PRIVILEGED TO TO LIVE THROUGH. So really, all this talk of Palin/whomever ’12 needs to be given a rest until much later. The news and national outlook will both be vastly different in four years, so on both sides, let’s not be too eager to name our champions.