The Sarah Palin Obsession

It’s my practice to respect strong smart women in politics.  We need more of them. In general, they work well with colleagues and we need more of that.  I know what you are thinking, Nancy Pelosi.  Well, she’s the exception that proves the rule.  She doesn’t work with folks, she lords over them.  But let’s not get too far off track.

Governor Sarah Palin may run for president.  She could have more power being a king, or queen, maker and will help grow the Tea Party in 2012, but it’s a long time until then and much can change and it’s ultimately her decision.  Who would have thought in late 2006 a first term United States Senator could unseat the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Hillary Clinton—no one.

Before my Tea Party colleagues hang me in effigy from the town square for heresy against the ultimate “Mama Grizzly,” I do not come to conquer, but to observe.

However, the range and scope of the Palin Obsession is enormous and the length at which Palin is responding to every attack is baffling. She feels like she let too much go in the 2008 election and now she’s responding in kind.  I like Sarah Palin, I think she’s qualified to be President and someday she may be.  Who knows, she may even run and win the nomination in 2012 and if there is any year a long shot could win, it’s 2012.  I also love for the pundits, on the left and the right, to be wrong and they could be wrong about Sarah Palin. With all the expertise with presidents and without, they are still primarily Inside the Beltway folks with little understanding of “flyover” country. This is a three cycle election upheaval and the “tweaking” will continue until we change course or collapse and I’m banking on the former.

Events are unfolding in a very strange way.  Democrats and Republicans are going after her and that points to the possibility that she’s on to something. When Republican and Democratic “strategists” seem to have the same disdain for her, it just might be fear.  And it’s not fear that she’s going to ruin the country; it is fear their power will be marginalized and a middle class woman from Alaska will continue to shake things up.

In the last week, Barbara Bush has suggested that she’s a “pretty little thing” and ought to go back home where she belongs.  I believe Mrs. Bush’s response is a generational thing regarding women with children having a career, not a slight against Palin. I have a rule not to pick on people over 80 years old, unless it’s Jimmy Carter, so I won’t criticize Mrs. Bush, but it probably wasn’t a comment she should have made.

Palin was asked about it and responded specifically by saying, “I think the majority of Americans don’t want to put up with the bluebloods — and I say it will all due respect because I love the Bushes – but the bluebloods who want to pick and chose their winners instead of allowing competition…I don’t know if that kind of stuff is planned out, but it is what it is.”
People accused Palin of using class warfare on this response, but I understand what she means.  I am sick of hearing whose turn it is.  It’s the American people’s turn and we are going to take it.  That is what 2010 was about.

Then, Barbara Walters teased an interview with Palin where she said she could beat President Obama if she ran against him in 2012.  Walters followed up during an interview with President Obama to ask the president what he thought about Governor Palin saying she could beat him.  He gave some lame comment about politics taking care of itself as if he was above politics. 
Barbara had to chide him, “Come on, you think you can beat Sarah Palin.” He said he doesn’t think about Sarah Palin. Right. That’s believable given his political history.

The week ended up with a valiant defense of Sarah Palin by Sen. John McCain. The man who thrust her into the limelight and into the national psyche came to her defense. While being interviewed by Candy Crowley of CNN, he was asked about her “divisiveness.” He said, “I think anybody that has the visibility that Sarah has is obviously going to have some divisiveness. I remember that a guy named Ronald Reagan used to be viewed by some as divisive.” He went onto say she was an “incredible force in the American political arena.” He knows firsthand as she helped him in 2008 and again in 2010 when he was running for reelection in Arizona.  “I think she’s motivating our base. I think she had a positive impact on the last election and I’m proud of her,” McCain said enthusiastically.

Palin is a force to be reckoned with and she’s either made for the 24/7 news cycle or she’ll burn out from the exposure.  But few expected her to last beyond the 2008 elections and she’s still standing.  She is a larger figure today in American politics than anyone expected.  When was the last time anyone remembers the running mate of a losing presidential candidate?  Sarah Palin has a future.