Friday, October 24, 2008

Palin's Future

Starting with an assumption about the outcome of the November 4th election can be an 'iffy' proposition but I'll go there anyhow. People are talking about Sarah Palin's place in the Republican Party after 2008 and a loss. I'll not only go along with the loss part, I'll postulate a severe beating at the top and down ticket and not be afraid of being out on a limb. The question seems to be about whether the #2 position on the Presidential ticket won't launch her into Republican national political power.

There is in her column the energizing of the base and her good looks and her ability to read a teleprompter convincingly (harder than you may think). This success has been achieved with the backing of a national campaign - including wardrobe.... It is foolhardy to deny these assets but the questions start at the level of their value.

Sarah Palin is Governor of Alaska, she is going back to Alaska for at least two more years, assuming she doesn't get impeached. Alaska has a population of 700,000 and limited media markets and limited media appeal. Alaskans are starting to have questions about Sarah and that isn't a good thing. Oil is down and with an extended economic down turn it will stay down, that is a problem for Alaska and problems for a state come home to the Governor. If she takes much of hit in her state she looses her platform, there. The national media needs a hook to hang attention on.

Fame can be a very fleeting thing in America and television attention is primary to a politician. Alaska just doesn't play much in national media. If Alaska played her name would already have been familiar before McCain tapped her for VP. She was, instead, a blank slate for the campaign to write on. That hasn't worked well. There are very large letters on that slate spelling incompetent, vacuous, right wing, and worst - loser. McCain and Palin didn't get to define her in their manner, she is labeled, probably indelibly.

If the election plays as it looks with serious Republican blood letting there is still a Party out there that wants to win elections. That Party is not solely composed of the religious right, although is sometimes looks that way. There are an awful lot of interests out there that frankly give a damn about the religious right other than the vote. In point of fact, they are embarrassed by that wing of the Party despite having to hold them. These people have access to large amounts of money and the levers of power. They are seriously unamused by the track of this election, their hands are being yanked out of the money pit. Palin's polling shows her as a drag on the McCain ticket and that will be seen as an unnecessary impediment to their agenda. A loser who helped the loss is not attractive and these people won't go at this on the basis of emotional attachment. Their ideology may stink, but they're cold eyed pragmatists.

There is going to be a struggle for the control of the Republican Party and it is going to be bloody. The gloves will be off. Sarah Palin will not have the advantage of a national campaign staff to deal with this fight and she doesn't have the personal tools to wage that warfare. This is not just a case of her having to struggle for a platform to stay in the lime light, this is a case of her having to fight with experienced and resource rich interests actively trying to marginalize her. All the reichwing blogs and James Dobsons of the Republican sphere don't amount to a hill of spit next to the power that will be brought to bear.

What happens in Congress for the next two years and the 2010 election will have great effect on the power centers of the Republican Party. They are going to be well into minority territory in the House and may lose their filibuster power in the Senate. If they keep that power in the Senate good Democratic propagandizing can make them publicly pay for obstruction. At least one tool is to make filibusters actual rather than faite accompli. Beohner isn't going away and his brand will be in the forefront along with the Senators. The public will watch if the Democrats help them watch. If the 2010 election goes south for the Republicans the elite is going bring out serious firepower aimed at anyone they deem responsible. Identified Republican voters are now seriously outnumbered by registered Democrats and the Non-affiliated voter ranks are growing. This means that in any large scale election Republicans cannot count on the base to make sufficient differences - they absolutely have to have a large chunk of Independents who are not in any scale reichwing.

If Sarah Palin's ambitions lead her to try for the role of Party leader; I think she will be one of the bloodiest of the corpses that will litter the Republican landscape. The only way this doesn't happen is if the Republican Party splits into two separate parties. There may be some like Reagan Democrats who come back to the Democratic Party, but the large unhappy group will not go there and I do not see the formation of a Third Party as realistic.

Bye Barracuda


Zak Johnson said...

My guess is she'll retire from politics to "spend more time with her family" and to sign on to her own Fox infotainment show for a cool million. At the very least she'll be a regular paid commentator for the right wing-nut TV circuit. It ain't the White House but, hey, it's a living, right?

Chuck Butcher said...

Don't forget two more years as Gov

jsg said...

I predict her last two years as governor will be spent in the dog house. Alaska's legislature will make a point of obstructing her (assuming they don't actively try to kick her out).

Every time her office needs a new printer cartridge, someone will perform a full audit of her expenses. Every time Todd fires up his snow machine, someone will say "Hey, who paid for that gas?"

And while this is going on the state's newspapers will be ferreting around for more dirt. I don't think they'll have to look very hard.

But the most amusing part will come because she's hooked on adoring crowds. She will try to get back in the limelight and as you say, she will get squashed by people who would like us to forget Sarah Palin was ever anything more than the governor of Alaska.


KISS said...

I guess you better get use to saying Senator Palin from Alaska. Two years is a long time to muster your allegiances.

Nothstine said...


The Senator theory is an interesting angle, one I hadn't considered. I don't know enough about Alaska's "Lord of the Flies" state politics to know what to make of it.

My own prediction is that she'll spend a lot of time on the high-end lecture circuit polishing her ties to her base and raking in the cash. That might be even more likely if, as jsg predicts, she'll be hamstrung by the AK legislature for the remainder of her term as Gov. Second-term presidents often spend more time trying to leave a foreign-policy mark, because it's easier to do that without Congress; the same might be true for Palin, who could spend a lot more time in the lower 48 [the equivalent of foreign policy for her] because being Gov was becoming a lot less fun.

I definitely agree with Chuck's prediction that there'll be post-election fratricide within the GOP and that Palin would be made into jerky if she stepped into it. That's why I think she'll spend more time developing her own audience. It's not like she was ever a Republican "insider' anyway. Her own running mate barely knew who the hell she was when he picked her. "I barely knew my running mate"--sounds like the ultimate GOP "outsider" cred to me.

Of course, it's one thing to say that Palin might nurture presidential ambitions in her bosom for 2012; it's another to say that anyone else might share that enthusiasm with her. Right-wing poster boy Dan Quayle ran for the 2000 GOP nomination [citing his experience as VP, no less] but dropped out in Sep 1999 because Republicans needed more than 8 years to forget that he was a punchline.

Last tidbit: A Newsweek poll released yesterday asked Republicans who they'd like for 2012 if McCain were out of the running: 35% said Romney, 26% said Huckabee, and 20% said Palin.


Chuck Butcher said...

Two more years as a small state governor with problems is not a ticket to the big time. Alaska just is not a place where the picture of the STATE taking aim at a little guy is going to play well. They don't seem to mind a little corruption as long as it stays out of sight, but Palin has put her chiseling into the national spotlight and that won't be good at home.

KISS, the idea of Sen Palin might not have been farfetched a couple months ago but I don't think Alaskans are very happy right now and if the governorship gets sticky they'll be in less of a mood to forgive this. She seems to think she's got someplace to go, she would have been more likely to have if she'd stayed out of this election. She's taking the 20% of the population of the lower 48 to mean something when she looks out at that crowd...