iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Taylor Marsh

Taylor Marsh

Posted: February 12, 2010 12:48 AM

Underestimating Sarah

What's Your Reaction:

2010-02-12-palin.jpg

Robert Gibbs pokes fun at Sarah Palin from his presidential podium. Giving a high profile dig to someone not in office, running for any office, or having any official role anywhere in the country. That's a lot of attention for someone who supposedly doesn't matter. The White House getting a little sloppy with their arrogance. It's not like Sarah's viability has spiked. A new ABC/Washington Post poll finds her unfavorable numbers at 55%, with her support among Republicans down. But then again, Gibb's boss is tied with a generic Republican in the latest Gallup poll. Okay, so "generic" doesn't mean a whole lot, but who would have bet that Obama would be that close to Republicans in a match up this time last year? While the DNC makes money off of Sarah's wink. There is no one who fits the mood or the times or fills the current political vacuum better than Sarah Palin. There has also never been anyone as electric on the right since Ronald Reagan. That's a lot of star power for someone whose adversaries are spending a whole lot of time talking about her irrelevance.

David Broder even weighed in sending a rhetorical wink to the GOP establishment to let them know at least he's taking her seriously. "She's good," the dean of Washington swooned.

The Tea Party crowd thinks so, too. Oh, and by the way, in South Carolina, the GOP and the Tea Partiers have joined forces, just like Sarah said they should.

While liberals continue to delight in using everything Sarah as a punching bag.

Matt Lattimer reminds us of recent history:

"No actor can be elected president." "No First Lady can win a Senate seat in a state where she never lived." "No one-term senator can defeat Hillary Clinton." There are plenty more opportunities to prove those in the know wrong.

Let's just say Palin's preparing her way and intends to be ready, because she has no intention of letting the Establishment ruin her party like what happened to Hillary, because Mrs. Clinton actually was the establishment candidate or so she thought.

Marc Ambinder wrote a very interesting post earlier this week about the devilish prowess of Sarah Palin.

Next week, Palin will be a VIP guest of honor at the Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona 500. She'll walk among the campers and RVs set up infield. This summer, she's agreed to speak at an international bowling expo. In April, in Las Vegas, Palin will keynote the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers Convention at Caesar's Palace. She will make choices in Republican primaries -- she campaigned Sunday with Rick Perry, bearing a "Hi mom!" on her palm -- more on that in a bit -- and an eloquent jab at the President: "'We will proudly cling to our guns and our religion."

[...] "If the primaries were this year, I suspect she'd be nominated," a senior adviser to one of Sarah Palin's potential rivals confides. It's easy to see why: no one who's thinking of running beats the enthusiasm she generates among Republican activists. But there is more to the case for Palin than just the confluence of her personality and a vacuum within the Republican Party: there is a method to her management of her public image. It strongly hints that she has pretty much decided to run for president in 2012, unless something knocks her out of the race; it is more organized and structured that it appears; and it is something that Republican insiders, in particular, will ignore at their peril. ... - Marc Ambinder

Mitt Romney's lack of emotional connection with voters works against him, even as the economic climate plays into his strengths. But Palin's evangelical roots have the potential to wipe him out in the primary. As for Mike Huckabee, Sarahcuda will annihilate him with negative ads on his pardons, so it remains to be seen if his current popularity can withstand her onslaught, which will be unflinchingly devastating. As Sarah Palin has no compunction about playing hard and dirty. Palin at least has her national security talking points down now, which one would assume will be the same for Romney and Huckabee (add more God), which is why Gen. David Petraeus could pop up on any Republican's short list for veep. They're long overdue for an Eisenhower like push and the timing is perfect, because the right wants to beat Obama in 2012 as bad as the left wanted to beat Bush in 2004.

As for the Republican Establishment, Sarah Palin has no intention of going the Hillary Clinton route. Palin knows they can't stand her, fear her and will stop her if she gives them a chance or waits for their nod. Something Hillary never grasped of the Senate Democrats who worked behind her back to encourage Barack Obama to run. All's fair in politics, but Hillary missed what was happening all around her. It's not that Democrats hated Hillary like the GOP Establishment does Palin, but people from Harry Reid to Ted Kennedy to Nancy Pelosi were rooting for Obama, some long before Hillary even announced, with key players offering their support to Obama in private and long before it was made official.

It's too soon to tell about Sarah and 2012, but she's not going to wait for anyone else to give her permission to run for president. She's not going to be a good little Republican and wait her turn either. Her instincts tell her, and Scott Brown's win showed her, that the mood is right for someone who can tap into that populist, old fashioned anger, topped with a lot of home spun, good old American patriotism, which she hopes will harken back to a time when America was on top in all columns, everyone was working, Detroit was selling cars, and American prestige financially was still intact. Making people feel good about her, bad about Obama, and thinking Palin populism can translate into a different type of change is job one right now.

So, Sarah plans to ride the wave of gun toting, religion clinging, angry Americans, as they were known in 2008, as far as she can, dreaming of being the first female U.S. president. Nate Silver has already handicapped the possibilities.

Besides, Hillary already prepared the way so that no woman on the national scene will ever have to go through the media gauntlet she did again.

If Democrats were smart and had a strategy, which they aren't and don't, they would go at Sarah Palin straight on, challenging her on issues and talking points, instead of ridiculing her and setting her up. Their real problem is they can't ignore her, but don't know what to do about her, simply hoping her star will eventually burn out.

There is nothing that gives the White House crew and their No One Can Beat Our Guy fans a better laugh than anyone thinking that Barack Obama would have to worry about the likes of Sarah Palin. In fact, the way the White House has been taking their sweet time on just about everything, you'd think they'd won an 8-year stint. That was assumed, right?

Sarah, her fans, and the Tea Partiers are here to let Democrats know there's a different type of change a foot and it doesn't come cloaked in an Ivy League resume, GOP Establishment credentials or the centrisy-centrism, lefty moving right sort of gaming nonsense. She's just Sarah, bringing common sense to America, something Washington sorely needs.

Palin's "pitch-perfect populism" to the rescue, as Mr. Broder called it in his column.

The Republican Establishment has to prove they've got someone better.

After all, as far as Sarah and her fans are concerned, the smart set has had their chance and they blew it.

Taylor Marsh is a political analyst out of Washington, D.C.

 

Follow Taylor Marsh on Twitter: www.twitter.com/taylormarsh