Thursday, September 16, 2010

Not...Palin Press Releases! Nooooo! Oh, the Humanity!!!!

OK, there's actually some good reporting in Shushannah Walshe's Daily Beast story about Sarah Palin's organization (via Goddard), so I shouldn't make fun.  But I've already seen a couple of tweets and a Jonathan Chait item that seem to be buying what the story is selling, which is that some sort of turning point has been turned as far as Palin's presidential ambitions.  On that score, the story certainly does not deliver.  What Walshe has is what we've already known -- there's a PAC, she goes on Fox News, she's made a bunch of endorsements, some for candidates who have won, she travels a lot, including an upcoming appearance in Iowa -- combined with exactly one new details:
But lately, alongside the personal tweets that have been a primary means of communicating with the outside world in recent months, Team Palin has begun issuing press releases. The smoke signals indicate her staff has begun working in earnest on a White House run.
No, really; those press releases are the only new presidential-oriented activity reported in the story. 

Look, the deal here is that people are getting the question wrong.  Palin is, and has been since November 2008, running for president.  Period.  That is, she's doing at least the minimum things that she would have to do at this point.  That's still true (press releases or no).  In Josh Putnam's formulation, she's running for 2012, although we do not yet know -- she might not yet know, or she might "know" without eventually being correct -- whether she'll be running in 2012.  As observers, what we can do is to figure out what each candidate would have to do at this point to remain a candidate, and see if those things are happening; beyond that we're just going to be speculating.  And note that not all candidates have the same list of what they would have to do.  For the Sage of Wasilla, with perfect name recognition among GOP primary voters, a lot less activity is needed now than it is for a Tim Pawlenty or a Jim DeMint.

So, I recommend reading Walshe's story for the organizational detail she explores, but beyond that there's nothing much new here.  Of course Sarah Palin is running for president right now.  In the future?  We'll see.


  1. Jonathan,

    Do you still believe that GOP "elites" could, if they wanted to, block Palin from getting the nomination?

  2. Yup. I think that's not even a close question. A much more difficult question is whether they would, and if so whether it would be a unified front. If we get something similar to the Delaware situation, with a bunch of GOP leaders trying to kill off her candidacy and others very much in favor of it...well, that's a whole different story. (I'm convinced that Delaware voters heard on balance a pro-O'Donnell message over the last couple weeks, but I'd love to know if that was true).

  3. Republican voter turnout was 32% which translates into 57,582 votes. Of those, O'Donnell received 30,561 votes. O'Donnell beat Castle by all of 3,540 votes. That's about the attendance at the latest 9/12 Project rally, isn't it? Or a high school basketball game. Or the turnout at Angel Stadium against the Yankees back in the 1970's.

    Democratic turnout was 12% -- the Dems didn't have a primary for US Senate.

    Not too impressive, in my book. But that's just me.

    But granted, the popcorn tastes great! The best part was watching Limbaugh bring Rove to his knees. Lovely.

  4. Walshe made another observation that was new (to me, anyway):

    She (Palin)’s been so successful that even before Tuesday’s triumphs...candidates from around the country have been calling her parents’ house

    I think this matters - a lot. It may be that successful Palin endorsements are not, in aggregate number, greater than successful Romney endorsements. But those Palin endorsements sure suck up a lot more of the zeitgeist, which matters, since...

    Remember Giuliani's strategy for winning the nomination, writing off New Hampshire/Iowa to focus on Florida? He lost New Hampshire/Iowa, badly, of course, and you know what they call a guy who loses badly? A loser. Even in Florida, even after millions of promotional dollars.

    The Palin connection: you know what they call someone who endorses a string of successful candidates? A winner. That, together with the trail of quid pro quo chits certain to arise from her endorsements, makes her - as of now - the commanding favorite to win the Republican nomination.

    I know, I know, being way ahead in 2010 doesn't amount to a hill of beans. But it seems to me that folks are delusional if they don't recognize that she is way ahead in that primary right now.

  5. what we can do is to figure out what each candidate would have to do at this point to remain a candidate,

    I'm in favor if a literacy test.



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