Thursday, May 26, 2011

Palin Thoughts for the Day

If you're just itching to read about Sarah Palin today, I have a couple of links for you. One is a nice post by Paul Waldman on Palin's resentment and self-pity. The other is from me, over at Greg's place, talking again about my sense of Palin as a factional candidate at the head of a very personal "Palin faction." As usual, I say that factional candidates don't win presidential nominations these days; nominations are won by coalition-style candidates.

Thinking about the two pieces together, however...I guess the question is whether Palin's very personal resentment is enough to transform what looks now like a factional candidacy into something more. I've always thought that you won't go wrong betting on resentment in the GOP. And after all, resentment in the hands of Richard Nixon, Bob Dole, and John McCain all had a strong personal component, too. Of course, those candidates didn't allow their personal resentments to get in the way of active coalition-building; none of them behaved as if the normal rules of politics regarding what you need to do to get nominated didn't apply to them. I guess my bottom line on Palin is still the same: she's a plausible winner, and could still be a very formidable candidate -- but only if she starts acting differently. And, so far, based on what we've seen, she either doesn't believe she needs to do that, or is incapable of it.

5 comments:

  1. Finally coming around to realize that describing Palin as resentful is unnecessarily generous; resentment at least is potentially a response to something bad done to a person. Instead of calling Palin resentful, how about lazy, as illustrated by the following hypotheticals:

    Q: Gov. Palin, you achieved outsized popularity in Alaska thanks to a record cash grab/popular redistribution from Big Oil. How do you reconcile that with your Tea Party bona fides?
    A: You're a hater.

    Q: Gov. Palin, wasn't it exceptionally irresponsible to travel halfway across the planet while in labor with a special-needs baby?
    A: You're a hater.

    Q: Gov. Palin, you quit the governship so as to better serve the people of Alaska. What have you done to serve the people of Alaska since you left the Governor's office?
    A: You're a hater.

    Pretty clearly, there are spins for these and the many other troubling Palinisms; but also clearly, those spins are difficult (and beyond my meager pay grade). Sticking to the spin requires message discipline, particularly when one undertakes to address any followups as well.

    So public resentment is much less likely a reflection of private resentment than it is of private indiscipline: similarly, public grace is probably a reflection of private discipline.

    Unless there's a road directly to the White House from the Fox Cocoon (which is possible) there's no way Palin is going to attempt the trip. Way too lazy. Best guess about the new movie is that her decline in the public consciousness has led to a decline in demand on the rubber chicken circuit, where she can be paid six figures to mechanically regurgitate tired memes and not have unpleasant interactions with the riff-raff (such as that dreadful one Gingrich endured in Iowa the other day).

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  2. Donald A. CoffinMay 26, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    The second link also takes you to Waldman's piece.

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  3. I think the evidence is mounting that she's going to toss her tiara in the ring, but won't run a
    "traditional campaign" with "events" or "campaigning" or "having positions on issues."

    I'm not sure who's advising her (or if she's taking her own counsel) that she can win a primary based on moxie alone, but running and losing the primary certainly won't help her buy more houses.

    Maybe this is just my own wishful thinking, though. But, I'm now hoping she runs so she can flame out of the primaries and end the sad chapter of the last 3 years of her getting any attention at all.

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  4. I'm much more skeptical that she can win the nomination. The GOP establishment has more or less declared her to be anathema. Remember how, after the Tea Party clown car candidates of 2010 (Angle, Miller, O'Donnell, and Buck)cost the GOP seats that it should have easily won, the GOP elites (Krauthammer, Kristol, et al.) basically said that she wasn't ready for prime time and never would be? And how that GOP criticism redoubled after her response to the Gifford shootings? She has strong support from her base, but I can't see the GOP establishment giving her the nod. And I just don't think her base is broad enough to enable her mount a succesful campaign as an insurgent.

    Besides, I think that she'd fare very poorly in a debate with the other GOP candidates. I think that Biden had one hand tied behind his back in the 2008 VP debates, but I think the gloves would really come off (to extend the metaphor) in a debate amongst the other GOP hopefuls.

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