Mostly rational politics, with occasional rants about how a few crazy Republicans are ruining the country.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008
Douthat on Palin 2012
For a take on Palin's chances in 2012 from a very smart, young, thoughtful Republican, read this.
Basically, I agree with the Ambinder-Cillizza take on the question - namely, that Sarah Palin might well be a formidable contender for the GOP nomination in 2012 even if she's massively unpopular with the sixty-five percent of America that doesn't vote in Republican primaries. In an Obama-era GOP, where the various factions and candidates are competing for control of a increasingly purist rump, isn't hard to see a scenario in which Palin unites evangelical voters and talk-radio conservatives - constituencies that split between Huckabee and either Romney or Fred Thompson, respectively, in 2008 - and rides that bloc to victory against a field that's just as divided as it was in '08. ... What's very, very hard, though, is to see how a primary campaign fought and won along those lines would put Palin in a position to actually win the White House
If I decide to worry about the outcome of this election, here's how I do it:
There have been lots of stories about how Obama is making many more red states competitive. States like Virginia, Missouri, North Carolina, Indiana - all of which John Kerry probably never stepped foot in. That's great. Obama certainly has more ways he can combine states to get to 270 electoral college votes.
But what is not happening, is he is not pulling away dramatically in the traditional swing states - Ohio, Florida, Colorado are all still within 5-7 pts in current polling.
So Obama hasn't really MOVED the swing states (ie. solidified the existing swing states, and shifted the battle to a new set), but rather has EXPANDED the group of swing states.
Which bring me to my worry. Obama is susceptible to two things: 1) Bad polling, in which a 5 pt lead in all the new swing states somehow becomes a 1-2 pt win for McCain; or 2) A dramatic event in the next 2 weeks, that is sufficient to tip 5-10% of the electorate towards McCain in the closing days.
I don't think it will happen, but I worry nevertheless.
My theory on Jessica Simpson, when that reality show with her and Nick Lachey was on, was that she was a little (not a lot) smarter than portrayed, and definitely media savvy enough to realize that she was building her brand by playing the part and keeping the show on the air. The criticism of her as a ditz didn't really seem to bother her.
I now think Sarah Palin is a little (not a lot) smarter than portrayed, and while sufficiently underqualified for VP that she probably should have turned the job down, I think she's politically savvy enough to realize that her political brand (amongst Republicans) will be greatly enhanced by the 10 or so weeks she spent in the middle of the public eye, even despite all the criticism she's getting. And that a John McCain loss may actually be BETTER for her than a win.
She seemed to confirm this on Limbaugh yesterday: “I’ve got nothing to lose in this,” Ms. Palin said. “And I think America has everything to gain by understanding the differences, the contrasts here between Obama and McCain.”
She's totally pulling a Jessica Simpson on us. And it's working.
But electing Barack Obama, which we appear likely to do, is not going to solve all of the country's problems, because a lot of people like this live here, and they will hate/fear Obama, and refuse to rally in support of anything he proposes to heal the country.
They'll say voter fraud got him elected, or that it was the Economy that pushed him over the top. (News flash: Obama was going to win without the economic disaster.)
The only thing we can do to reduce this effect, is turn this thing into a landslide: +10 or greater on popular vote. Let's get to it.