Monday, October 06, 2008

Palin's Future

Assume, as now seems likely, that Obama wins the election. What happens to Governor Palin? Does she sink back into obscurity as governor of a small state or does she become the leader of a major wing of the Republican party and a future candidate for Vice President or even President?

To a considerable extent, one's answer depends on how one views her performance this time around. Opponents argue that she has shown herself to be ignorant, incompetent, clearly unsuited for high office, but their view will have little influence on her future in the Republican party. What matters is whether she comes out of the election still popular with the party faithful.

And she is only forty-four.


Joel Davis said...

well I think we're going to have to figure out how post-bush authoritarian GOP re-establishes itself before we conjecture about so-and-so's position within the party hierarchy.

Anonymous said...

It is not so much that Democrats think she is a hateful evil nazi moron, and Republicans think she is brilliant, but that people who despise, hate, and fear her class think she is an evil nazi moron, and people who approve of her class think she is brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Look at the track record of past losers as Veeps in running for President. I think FDR is the only person to have lost as a Veep candidate and then later won the presidency. Maybe there were others before him, but given it hasn't happened in more than 75 years, I don't rate her chances very highly.

David Tomlin said...

I don't think Sarah Palin will ever convince swing voters that she is up to being president, and I don't think the social conservatives will convince other Republicans to nominate someone who can't win.

At first I thought Palin was knowledgeable about Alaska while being incurious about national issues. But her interviews and debate performance show she doesn't even know much about energy, supposedly her forte.

Note that when Palin comments on Alaska's contribution to American energy supplies, she always says '20%' regardless of the specific issue. That is, she might be talking about total energy consumed, or total energy domestically produced, or oil, or natural gas, or oil plus gas, but she always says that Alaska's contribution is 20%. In each of the foregoing cases the actual figure is less than 20%.

Of course making up statistics, assuming almost no one will check, is a standard politician's trick. But it's significant that Palin does it in the one area that is supposed to be her field of expertise.

David Tomlin said...

James, I see you haven't changed.

Don't you mean to say 'the class she symbolically represents'? I understand her current net worth is over $2 million.

Mark Vanni said...

In view of how she changed the dynamic of this race and threatened to completely shift the outcome McCain's favor, I can't imagine her sulking back into obscurity, at least not willingly.

Unfortunately for her, she does not enjoy the position that McCain (or even Hillary) have within the Senate. McCain can criticize and undermine Obama from the Senate Floor. Palin can only do so from the far reaches of the Statehouse in Alaska.

In order to stay relevant she will have to work very hard and create ties within the Republican party that won't break under political pressure.

If she can walk this delicate tightrope over the next 4 years she might be able to have a shot at the White House. It'll be a long shot, but still a shot.

It's probably more shrewd for her to run for Senate. When is Ted Stevens going to jail?

David Tomlin said...

. . . she changed the dynamic of this race and threatened to completely shift the outcome McCain's favor . . .

I don't see any evidence for that. There's no reason to think McCain wouldn't have gotten the usual convention bounce regardless of whom he chose for a running mate. Palin will probably hurt McCain with independents, as much as or more than she helps with the base.

The irony is that McCain's 'just a celebrity' attack on Obama might have been working (though there's a post hoc ergo propter hoc problem there too). Then McCain undermined it by choosing a running mate even more vulnerable to the charge.

Palin, like Bush, seems to be the kind of politician who is primarily good at, and interested in, running for office, while delegating the actual governing to others. That the social conservatives have latched onto her for a figurehead just shows how much that movement lacks for real leadership.

Anonymous said...

Certainly this depends on Obama's performance as president. Palin will represent the anti-Obama in 2012, just as she does today.

An our host accurately predicts Obama'a performance, Palin will disappear, although she will probably be reelected as Governor in 2010, as those ignorant white folks in Alaska love her.

Alternately, should Obama prove to be less reliable than James Buchanan, she'll be a shoe-in for President in 2012. Her experience in losing for Lieutenant Governor to Murkowski in 2002 and parlaying that loss into the governorship will then repeat on a national scale.

Nothing stands up to recursion better than irony.

Sis said...

What will become of Sarah? She will become a special commentator for FAUX News, and will have a dressing room sandwiched between Oliver North and Karl Rove. In the future, every time we have an oil spill that creates a toxic soup off the coast, she will be there in her white pantsuit showing off how she lets her kids swim in the water. "See? It's not so bad. Don't listen to those commie environmentalists. Treg loves it. Hi Baby! Smile for mommy."

Anonymous said...

Dairy Queen is hiring.

Andrew said...

Reality show celebrities are rarely popular for more than one year.

Anonymous said...

"Opponents argue that she has shown herself to be ignorant, incompetent, clearly unsuited for high office, but their view will have little influence on her future in the Republican party."

Spot on! One's future in the Republican Party is in no way diminished by being ignorant, incompetent, or being unsuited for high office.

Dessert Survivor said...

Palin's future (assuming that Obama wins) largely depends on how Obama performs. If, as the Obamaphiles confidently predict, he enters the ranks of the great presidents, being governor of Alaska will be her highest office. If Obama turns out to be a disaster as president, as the Obamaphobes predict, she has an excellent chance of following him as president, in part because a poor performance by Obama will reduce the credibility of those who find fault with everything she has done while being unable to see any problems with Obama.

Like Obama, she has charisma, something that the rest of the GOP presidential field lacks. And also like Obama, she inspires extreme reactions.

(Of course, life is always full of surprises. So many things can happen in a four years that any prediction is probably meaningless.)

David Tomlin said...

Dessert Survivor (cool moniker) appears to inhabit a mental universe of false dilemmas.

Don said...

Wow. Given the quality of the postings by Mr. Friedman, I thought maybe the quality of the comments might be above that of a whining Marxist English professor or a belligerent "peace" protester with an inane slogan scrawled across a sign. For the most part, I was wrong.

Dairy Queen? Swimming in the oil spill? Nice.

Enjoy your rapidly slowing economy.