Sarah Palin cranked up her 2012 presidential campaign another notch today, with the release of a campaign video aimed directly at women. The basic math is simple. If she gets half of the female primary voters and caucus attenders to support her, then she standing starts at roughly 25% of the total vote. Throw in a third of the male vote and she's at roughly 40%. Forty percent wins the Iowa caucuses, handily.
Which then sets up New Hampshire as the place where the not-Sarah candidate emerges. In all likelihood, that will be former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who finished second in NH in 2008 and who will spend whatever it takes to win there in 2012.
Assuming that the race is then reduced to Palin and Romney, the next critical state primary is South Carolina. At that point, I don't think the specifics really matter. The fact is that the Republican Party of 2012 is not going to nominate a Mormon as its standard bearer. And the more important fact is that the base of the Republican Party doesn't just favor Sarah Palin, they love her. She is their standard bearer. And they will not -- this time around -- be denied.
As the Republican avalanche of 2010 builds -- and I saw a poll the other day of a Democratic-leaning state Senate district on Long Island where the "right track" (8%)/"wrong direction" (83%) was unlike anything I had ever seen -- Palin has smartly positioned herself as the champion of the conservative counter-revolution. By December, she will almost certainly be the de facto front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination.
By the time the Establishment GOP wakes up to this reality, it may be too late for them to do anything about it. Their view of Palin is that she's useful to the party because she can help keep "the Tea Party types inside the tent." And maybe she can serve coffee while she's at it. Palin's view is that (1) "the Tea Party types" are the party, (2) she is their standard bearer and (3) anyone who thinks "the Tea Party types" are there to lick envelopes and knock on doors should think again. They're there, she asserts, to take back their party and to take back their country.
"She's too stupid" is what the Establishment GOP really thinks about Sarah Palin. "Good-looking," but a "ditz." This is unfertile ground, since Palin can turn the argument on a dime and say: "They drive the country into bankruptcy, they underwrite Fannie and Freddie, they bail out Goldman Sachs, they fight wars they don't want to win, they say enforcing the immigration laws is silly and they call me stupid! I'll give you a choice: you can have their smarts or my stupidity, which one do you want?" A large number of GOP presidential primary voters will take Palin's "stupidity" in a heartbeat.
What this means is two things: (1) the pressure on former Florida Governor Jeb Bush to run for the GOP presidential nomination will increase as the year moves along, and (2) the likelihood of a strong independent party candidacy increases as Palin's support within the GOP broadens. Oh, and it also means one other thing: President Obama is not doomed.
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Posted by John at 7/08/2010 06:29:00 PM