Friday, July 23, 2010

Why Not a Little Palin Blogging

Item:  Noah Millman's exploration of the dynamics of the GOP presidential nomination contest struck me as well worth reading.  I do think that things are more fluid than he implies...there's still plenty of time for someone other than Mitt Romney to play the Romney role he imagines (Rick Perry?).  We don't have a good sense yet of whether Sarah Palin's appeal within Republican primary electorates is capped...well, we do have a sense that it is capped, but whether that's at 70% (not much of a problem) or 40% (very big problem) doesn't seem clear to me right now.  Some numbers: the current YouGov/Economist poll gives her a 77/17% favorable rating among Republicans...but we don't really know how many of those 77% are thinking of her as a presidential candidate.  For what it's worth, YouGov/Economist has her leading the horse race with 28%; that doesn't strike me as a very impressive total for a candidate with excellent name recognition against a bunch of unknowns.  Of course, there's also the very solid possibility that she bails anyway for any one of a thousand reasons.  But I think Millman's piece is very nicely set in the real-life world of nominations, with its interactions between various party elites and the voters.

Item: I want to second Andrew Sullivan's call for NBC and CBS to release the full, unedited, raw footage of the Palin interviews with Katie Couric and Charles Gibson from the 2008 campaign.  If she's getting mileage from accusing them of selective editing, then, yes, I think it's an excellent idea to prove her right or wrong.  (Yes, it's really the entertainment value I care about, but why not?). 

Item: On all the Palin blogging...I'm sure a lot of people react to it by thinking that she gets way too much attention as it is, and wish I'd stick to other things (indeed, people have left comments to that effect).  I figured I'd explain a bit.  Well, first of all, I'm a political junkie, and she's good fun.  More seriously, I think you can expect a fair amount of nomination politics blogging from me, since it's pretty close to my core research interests...in other words, I know a little bit about the nomination process and party politics.  So I'm fairly likely to use whatever presidential candidates are in the news as an excuse to talk about how parties work, or how the nomination process works.  I do feel that I spend an inordinate amount of time on her; but then again, as I mentioned earlier this week, what exactly is there to talk about with Tim Pawlenty?  Remember - we're well into the 2012 presidential nomination cycle, and things will only heat up going forward.  So I'm afraid you can expect plenty of the Sage of Wasilla for some time.

4 comments:

  1. I've read what purports to be a transcript of the entire Gibson interview. If it's truly complete and accurate, the entertainment value will be minimal. Most of the editing was just cutting down redundancy.

    The main exception was a bit of boilerplate about how we should try to get along with the Russians, and resolve our differences without being more confrontational then necessary. Her supporters screamed bloody murder about this omission, on the theory that it was a deliberate ploy to make her look more hawkish.

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  2. I realize that this is going to sound like entirely anecdotal evidence but I don't buy even a remote possibility of a Palin candidacy. The one possibility is the one where the GOP field is so bad that nobody votes but the truest of the true believers and at that point pigs would fly and the Libertarian candidacy would probably be worth more than the Republican candidacy. As for the anecdotal evidence I think it's best summarized by a conversation I caught while shopping at a gun store in rural NH:

    patron:

    "Well I did my part and we got out there in Mass. and put Scott Brown in but I don't what else there is. I mean, I'd like to get behind Sarah Palin but..."

    Propiter:

    "Yeah I bet you'd like to get right behind her alright" snort, chuckle.

    bearded men standing around:

    "heh, heh, heh"

    Now I realize that this is the party that not only nominated Warren G. Hardning as well as George W. Bush but them both in the presidency but I've heard this sort of conversation over and over. I know there are lots of Ned Flanders types out there that just love her but I just don't buy and sense of real respect among normal Republicans. They love her and can get kind of blissed out when they talk about her but it's more like its as a mascot who really pisses off liberals. Any confrontation on her stupidity I've found generally results in fast surrender. I just don't get the impression that many see her as a real leader. I think that if she won it would be a tacit admission of general election defeat where they just decided to give liberals as much heartburn as they could before losing. And then they'd breathe a fond sigh of relief as she faded off into the Alaska sunset and they got back to the confortable business of hating Obama good and proper.

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  3. "that doesn't strike me as a very impressive total for a candidate with excellent name recognition against a bunch of unknowns."

    I would not describe Huck and Romney as unknown.

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  4. As a political phenomenon, Palin is probably a lot more fascinating than her detractors allow. As one could tell from reading blogs like Andrew Sullivan's, her detractors see her as (pick the slur) airhead/imbecile/lunatic/etc.

    To make a point, those are the same class of descriptors as the "Chimpy McHitler" memes thrown at George W. Bush. In comparing airheads, I think that Palin and Bush 43 could not possibly be more different.

    On a recent thread, I recalled - with horror - the Bush backrub of Angela Merkel at a G8 meeting. If Palin had been President, would that type of thing be imaginable? Absolutely, positively, 100% not a chance in hell. Palin might not have the most gravitas in such a group, but she might well be the most serious person there.

    Consider also Bush's alleged nickname of "Kenny Boy" for Ken Lay, or referring to Cheney as "Vice"....is such stuff imaginable from Palin? Again, no way. Palin is simply far too serious for those kinds of frat boy/sorority girl antics.

    Which makes her a unique figure on the American political scene - and potentially a viable one. She stakes out 'serious' without being remotely intellectual, for she is also a woman of the people without being idiotic like Dubya. One can easily imagine how the hoi polloi would embrace her as one of them, and then unlike someone like Bush - who embarrasses everyone - Palin would please the hoi polloi in not overtly embarassing them (aside from the outrage from coastal elites like Andrew Sullivan).

    I think there's actually something really interesting to the territory that Palin has staked. Woody Allen has said that 90% of life is showing up, it must follow that any public political figure that is serious in the public square will be taken seriously. Better for the abandoned Republicans in flyover country, Palin is one of them.

    There's a lot of power in that. Too many who wish to blithely dismiss her as "just another idiot" fail to appreciate that Palin is quite a serious, often respectable-looking idiot. That might just be a winner profile, and even if it's not enough to get her over the top, its certainly interesting enough to speculate about here 2 years out from the next Presidential election.

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