Yesterday, I chose the top ten clues that Sarah Palin has been giving that she is running for President. Today, I give the top 10 things the Republican establishment and the mainstream media say to dissuade Palin from running. Somewhere in Alaska, Palin is probably laughing at these figures who seem to think they have the power to convince her or speak on her behalf.
1. Be a kingmaker (or queenmaker)
As noted by the likes of Grover Norquist and many other pundits and establishment Republicans, Palin, their reasoning goes, would best serve the party as a kingmaker. What they are essentially saying (try to follow the logic) is that Palin’s endorsement should be the gold standard but her candidacy would not be appreciated. Even more ironic is that should Palin run, it diminishes the kingmaking capabilities of the traditional and spoiled cast of characters who are used to getting their brass rings kissed every four years.
2. Make money and be a celebrity
Andrew Breitbart recently told GQ Magazine that Palin would give up the chance to be the next Oprah should she run for President. This line of “persuasion” has also been thrown out by many, which essentially says Palin should lose millions if she threw her hat into the 2012 ring.
But if Palin were the type of candidate who would run solely to increase her earning power, it would actually be her incentive to run for the presidency in 2012.
3. You’re too divisive
Another argument is that Palin would be too divisive to win a general election. And the only thing those who say this cite are polls released over a year before any voter of importance started paying attention to the election. In these early polls, there is probably some type of Palin effect (or a reverse-Bradley/Wilder effect), as Sheya at Conservatives4Palin noted, where voters either do not want to tell pollsters they support Palin for fear they would sound stupid or are withholding their potential support until she announces her candidacy, if she indeed does.
Further, as Pollinsider noted, Palin always has a strong floor, which potentially helps her in the primary (if the GOP primary has many entrants) and the general election (2012 may be a “base” election like 2004 where turnout matters, so the floor that Palin starts off with would give her significant advantages over other candidates who do not have that built in floor).
4. Moderate now!
Whenever Palin takes a conservative stand on the debt ceiling, temporary continuing resolutions, immigration, or against Obama, the chattering class says this is an example of why she cannot win over independents in the general election. They want her to moderate now. In essence, those who espouse this line of reasoning want Palin to moderate so she can be a George H.W. Bush circa 1992 or a Bob Dole circa 1996 or a John McCain circa 2008–to be clear, they want her to lose.
Second, the same people who urge Palin to be a celebrity who makes millions often urge her to moderate. So in essence one can assume they want her to lose her conservative bona fides so she can lose her market share and become poorer.
Third, Palin has gotten praise from talk radio icons such as Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin. The mainstream media think such praise will do her no good in the 2012 election cycle, and they cite the fact that these radio hosts could not prevent McCain from winning the nomination in 2008. During that cycle, though, there really wasn’t a true conservative that the conservative liked; Palin’s conservative bona fides will hardly be questioned, so talk radio hosts will probably have more of an impact in 2012 than they did in 2008.
5. You’re not serious
Despite substantive speeches on energy, thorough Facebook postings on relevant current events and public policy, and a well-received foreign policy speech in India, the meme persists that Palin is not serious. In many instances, like when the media creates a controversy and then asks a candidate about the controvery they created, which happens often in politics (ask Howard Dean), the media deems Palin to not be serious and covers her thusly while ignoring the more “serious” things she says in interviews and speeches.
Further, during CPAC, when Egypt was dominating the news, not one of the candidates the mainstream media likes to dub as “serious” had the nimbleness or flexibility to say anything about Egypt (Palin’s single tweet on Egypt had more substance than anything the what any of the potential candidates for President were saying in the midst of a live, rapidly developing and monumental event and crisis, save for John Bolton.
6. You incite racism and violence
As was evident after the tragic attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ life in Arizona, the mainstream media is quick to tie Palin and the Tea Party that she represents to racism and violence despite having no evidence to do so. The implication here is that Palin would not be able to win enough minority voters in 2012 in a potential general election or would brand Republicans as a party of intolerants and crazies that would lose the minority vote for a generation.
7. You’re not doing things the traditional way
Traditional candidates need traditional organizations to get their message out to the media and cultivate supporters. Palin, on the other hand, is not a traditional candidate and can asymmetrically get her message across through Twitter. Further, her supporters can act as a crowdsourced rapid response team and pressure members of the media through social media channels. And as a brand name, Palin does not need formal establishment channels to buy her a megaphone, she already has one for whenever she chooses to use it.
8. Can you run for President while raising a family?
As Rick Santorum touched upon before “clarifying his remarks,” some commentators have wondererd if Palin would be able to juggle raising a family with potentially running the country. The modern woman multitasks and such talk may actually turn off independent women for every conservative woman that argument may win over.
9. Be a cheerleader (or fluffer)
They want her to headline fundraisers, raise money, attract people to campaign events, rouse people up and get them excited, and put her signature or face on silly advertisements. Yet, when it comes to the to job, they think she is too mercurial to hold it.
10. You’re Jesse Jackson … or Pat Robertson … or Al Sharpton … or George McGovern …
The implication here, with these comparisons, is that Palin is an extremist who has no chance in the general election. This line of reasoning often ignores the more practical record she cultivated while running Alaska. In a way, the more the media brands Palin as right-wing, the more credibility Palin gets with dedicated right-wing supporters who flock to primaries while also having a more practical record as Alaska’s governor that she can simultaneously burnish.
When the Republican establishment and the mainstream media play these games, it only strengthens a potential Palin candidacy, and here are six reasons why:
1. If Palin really did not want to run, these comments may incite her or egg her on to run to spite the establishment and the mainstream media.
2. If the GOP establishment thinks Palin is stupid and will implode, shouldn’t they encourage her to run in 2012 for that would take care of their “Palin” problem once and for all? So it makes them seem either conniving or stupid.
3. They have diluted her celebrity status, which helps her in a potential GOP primary. Palin has clearly become a celebrity, which usually would hurt her in the GOP primary. However, because the mainstream media’s vicious attacks on her, Palin’s celebrity status is diluted, as she as seen as a victim of elitist and liberal biases. Ditto vis a vis the GOP establishment. This allows the conservative base to identify more strongly with her.
4. In a most anti-establishment cycle in which GOP primary voters want a candidate who is combative, the GOP establishment, had they been smart, would have propped up her candidacy in droves in an attempt to make Palin seem like the face of the establishement. As a sign of how savvy and smart these GOP establishment gurus are, they probably have allowed her to enter the race as the anti-establishment front runner if Palin chooses to enter the 2012 contest.
5. They have lowered the bar for Palin. By mocking her and insinuating that she is a lightweight, they have done for Palin what candidates and consultants dilligently seek to do: lower the bar. It seems as if Palin would just have to speak a coherent and gramatically correct sentence lacking in malapropisms to hurdle over the bar that has been inadvertently lowered to her potential advantage.
6. The GOP establishment needs Palin’s supporters to come to the polls in the general election should she not run for President or lose in the primary. By mocking her and treating her as a lightweight, the GOP establishment risks alienating her fervent supporters. It is ironic that the GOP establishment, which tries to dissuade Palin from running because they think she would be catastrophic in the general election, does not see that their anti-Palin candidate of choice would not be able to win a general election if Palin’s voters stay home in protest.