Sarah Palin’s Gamble

Chances are, it won’t pay off with the presidency

Sarah Palin's Gamble Once again, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has shown us why she is such a fascinating political figure. Last Thursday, this blog laid out a course of action Palin should consider in the event she decides to run for the presidency. Not running for re-election in order to concentrate on preparing herself for either 2012 or 2016 was among the suggestions. Then, in the midst of the Michael Jackson media frenzy and on the eve of July 4th, Palin announced her resignation from office effective this very month. In a rambling and barely coherent announcement on Friday, the Alaska governor threw a bombshell, not only at the Republican party, but at the larger world of politics.

The weekend news shows focused on the possible reasons for her stunning announcement. Some speculated that it was clearly a run for the presidency, while others opined that more bombshells may come. Respected journalist Andrea Mitchell claimed that sources close to Palin believe it was a deliberate and permanent withdrawal from elected politics. Nearly all pundits panned her timing and the content of her departing statement. But whatever course of action she chooses, Palin is not withdrawing from public life, whether it is in politics or in another public forum. She is a political celebrity rather than a mere elected official.

A year ago Palin was hardly a household name. She may have had the highest approval ratings of any sitting governor at the time, but no one really knew who she was and even less whether she would be a vice presidential candidate. Senator John McCain changed that and, for a brief two weeks, transformed his lumbering and lackluster campaign into an exciting challenge that had him leading the Obama-Biden ticket just prior to the financial meltdown in mid-September. Then came the Palin meltdown.

A series of television interviews in the mainstream media showed a woefully weak and unprepared candidate. A Saturday Night Live spoof by Tina Fey highlighted the fact that a new and exciting—and totally unprepared—political personality could soon be a heartbeat away from the presidency. By the end of the campaign, she may have been drawing huge crowds and energizing the GOP base, but she had become a liability.

Some have complained she was the victim of an unfair, pro-Obama mainstream media. She herself alluded to a bias against her, her family, and what she stands for. Her parting statement had a distinctly Nixonian tone tone, circa 1962. (“You don’t have Nixon to kick around anymore!”) But media footage from the presidential campaign paints a different picture than simple anti-Palin bias.

She consistently came across as unprepared, and her demeanor conveyed an appalling lack of discipline, a self righteousness that repelled mainstream voters, and a lack of curiosity that would hinder any potential for growth. Americans were seemingly prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt, but her performance created uncertainty and concern about her very qualifications. She was, after all, running in a presidential election, not for American Idol.

Her latest decision is a major gamble if she intends to pursue a political career, especially if it includes a run for the presidency in 2012. Not finishing her first mandate eliminates her well-worn argument that she has executive experience. My reading is that the Republican party has written her off for 2012 and the manner she used in explaining her decision did not endear to the political professionals in her party. At best, she will remain a political celebrity we can expect to see on the lecture circuit, campaigning for Congressional and senatorial candidates, and doing high-powered fundraising events. We can also expect her to be a regular commentator in the media. But the question that looms larger than all others at this stage is, does she have the temperament to be president?

Until now, her one outstanding political feat outside of winning the mayoralty of Wasilla and the governorship of Alaska has been her speech at the Republican National Convention, where expectations were quite low and McCain was uninspiring. Since then, it has been a downward spiral culminating in the posting of a weird rehash of her resignation speech on her website this past weekend. If she is betting her resignation will help get her the presidency, it is a gamble that will probably not pay off.




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Sarah Palin’s Gamble

  1. I admit it was a shaky departure . Still a good gal to me .But she is a down to earth person that Americans will appreciate the more they get to know her and her values . Good conservatism is still an option and time will help her along .

    • Her entire being was shaky. She couldn't name the three countries that are part of NAFTA, and thought Africa was a country. She's not bright, but she seems like a nice person; someone you could have a beer and a good time with (if you enjoy hanging out with idiots). Bush was both of those things, though, and I don't know anyone who would want another four years of that (except perhaps comedians).
      Her values? Not allowing rape victims the option of abortion? Her belief that abstinence works? That rural people are "more real" than urban people? Please. Good Conservatism is something Canada, and the United States, haven't seen in a very very long time. The only thing that'll change with this gal will be the return of America as Earth's laughingstock.

      • Tell me, if idiotic statements make one unsuitable for high office, how is it that Biden is acceptable as a VP?

        Your roundup of her laughable values is in itself laughable. You don't think abstinence works? You're pro-choice? So what? Disagreeing with you on these things is not ridiculous.

        • A smart thing couldn't come out of Biden's mouth if his life depended on it, I don't think anyone disagrees with that. But the reality is Biden can name NAFTA countries, and realizes that Africa is a continent.

          Abstinence doesn't work:

          http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/arti

          http://www.examiner.com/x-14242-Providence-Womens

          There's nothing wrong with disagreements, but not allowing a woman who has been raped to choose for herself isn't debatable, it's just immoral.

          If you think that moron Palin, who thinks the world is only 6,000 years old, is suitable for the most important office in the world, than you are moron too.

          • And the 6,000 year-old world thing too. I'm guessing that might be her church's teachings, but not everyone sitting in the pew has to literally believe everything said on the altar (see Obama/Wright).

          • No, I never said that "everyone sitting in the pew has to literally believe everything said on the altar," she does however, and that's the problem. She's a creationist who believes Humanity walked along side dinosaurs, and that the Earth was created 6,000 years ago. The Vatican doesn't even preach anymore this anymore, due to scientific FACT.

            What's next gravity?

          • No, I never said that "everyone sitting in the pew has to literally believe everything said on the altar," she does however, and that's the problem. She's a creationist who believes Humanity walked along side dinosaurs, and that the Earth was created 6,000 years ago. The Vatican doesn't even preach anymore this anymore, due to scientific FACT.

            What's next? Questioning gravity?

          • I would certainly question Sarah Palin's gravity.

          • But again, like the NAFTA and Africa allegations, could you please provide some evidence (video clip, published Palin interview, or at least a named source) that she believes these things?

            I once tried to track down the origin of the Palin & dinosaurs meme and the trail ended at some Matt Damon interview.

          • Kudos to you for checking the source before swallowing the claim. I remember seeing footage last year of someone questioning a group of Obama supporters at a rally: most of what they 'knew' of Sarah Palin's statements actually came from Tina Fey on SNL. It's disconcerting how readily people believe popular distortions.

          • I'll have to listen to them later at home, but I presume at least one of them will either have
            a) Palin herself making the ignorant statements in question, or
            b) An identified witness admitting to what he/she heard from Palin firsthand.

            Otherwise, it's just repeated regurgitation of the same rumours, regardless of what network its on.

          • You presume incorrectly. Both are a reporter (same guy in each) describing what he heard from 'sources' inside the McCain camp. (But don't take my word for it of course)

            Again, it is refreshing to see your objectivity.

          • This is a day late, I know, but I didn't want to let the statement regarding Palin's abortion stance go:

            Palin opposes all abortions other than to save the mother's life. It's not like she only opposes it for rape victims. That would be like saying Obama approves of gender-selection abortion. He's for all abortions, whatever reason, period.

            Secondly, bringing rape victims into the abortion debate is a bit of a red herring. According to a 2004 study, only 1% of abortions were the result of rape or incest. Far, far more (20%) were the result of pressure from a husband/partner or parent(s). How's that for a woman's right to choose?

            http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0NNR/is_3_

      • If someone has actual evidence for the NAFTA and Africa claims, that would be great.

        Something besides "anonymous sources", I mean.

        • Why would you need those sources when you have the Couric interview where she says she understands Russia (and Canada) because they are her neighbours.

          • I'll have to go and rewatch the clip since it's been a while, but that sentiment didn't strike me as idiotic, just typical political resume inflating (which we saw a LOT of in 2008). Now I'm from PEI, and while that doesn't make me any kind of expert on New Brunswick, I probably know more about it that most people from Ontario westward.

            Besides, even if I did agree that the neighbour thing was boneheaded, that doesn't mean the other (much worse) statements are true.

          • Those are indeed some quality Sarah Palin lowlights. She does ramble when nervous. That lady could sure use Obama's teleprompter. No mention of NAFTA or Africa though.

            And on the Russia issue, I still say this was just plain old exaggeration, same as Hillary (Irish peace process, running from snipers) and Obama (community organizing, nuclear proliferation) did. I would expect that the govenor of Alaska would have to think about Russia (and Canada) more often than the govenors of Kansas, Nevada, or Florida would, but by that I mean maybe 1% of the time instead of 0.1%.

            Can I just add how much I enjoy these forums. Most of my friends in the real world are either of the same bent as me or not interested in politics. This is the only place I really get to debate.

          • Here is some good debunking of the Africa & Nafta stories.

  2. One hundred years from now, the Palin phenomenon will be sure to confound historians, who will no doubt wonder: "what the hell were they thinking"?

  3. Another reasonably sound Parisella piece. Hell will now freeze over.

    There was one wacked out bit to keep it vintage Parisella:
    "But media footage from the presidential campaign paints a different picture than simple anti-Palin bias."

    A simple comparison of the media's treatment of Palin (nonstop airing of her incoherent answer in Couric's interview, questioning the parentage of her child, questioning her right to work outside the home (?!), delving into the records of all her family and potential inlaws for criminal histories ) versus their treatment of Biden (no airing of his idiotic answer in Couric's interview as well as his numerous past idiotic statements, no hit-jobs on his family, no investigation of his questionable ethics history, and no delving into his family's records) shows unmistakable bias.

    I suppose Parisella is part of the media after all, so he can't deviate from the pattern.

  4. Another reasonably sound Parisella piece. Hell will now freeze over.

    There was one wacked out bit to keep it vintage Parisella:
    "But media footage from the presidential campaign paints a different picture than simple anti-Palin bias."

    A simple comparison of the media's treatment of Palin (nonstop airing of her incoherent answer in Couric's interview, questioning the parentage of her child, questioning her right to work outside the home (?!), delving into the records of all her family and potential inlaws for criminal histories ) versus their treatment of Biden (no airing of his idiotic answer in Couric's interview as well as his numerous past idiotic statements, no hit-jobs on his family, no investigation of his questionable ethics history, and no delving into his family's records) shows unmistakable bias. I suppose Parisella is part of the media after all, so he can't deviate from the pattern.

  5. Another reasonably sound Parisella piece. Hell will now freeze over.

    There was one wacked-out bit to keep it vintage Parisella:
    "But media footage from the presidential campaign paints a different picture than simple anti-Palin bias."

    A simple comparison of the media's treatment of Palin (nonstop airing of her incoherent answer in Couric's interview, questioning the parentage of her child, questioning her right to work outside the home (?!), delving into the records of all her family and potential inlaws for criminal histories ) versus their treatment of Biden (no airing of his idiotic answer in Couric's interview as well as his numerous past idiotic statements, no hit-jobs on his family, no investigation of his questionable ethics history, and no delving into his family's records) shows unmistakable bias.

    I suppose Parisella is part of the media after all, so he can't deviate from the pattern.

    • Biden has put his foot in his mouth many times… but I bet he could tell you what the Bush doctrine was. The problem with your weak argument is that Biden is a arrogant politician who speaks before he thinks, while Sarah Palin is an arrogant political celebrity who thinks before she speaks. And yet, those are still her answers. She's just ignorant with a below average intelligence. Hmm, come to think of it she has a lot in common with Bush.

    • Unmistakable bias against a stark menace to the safety of 6 billion people is a good thing.

      • I don't think there's much question that putting Biden in the President's chair would be an unmitigated disaster. I don't know how many verbal gaffes Dan Quayle had to make to earn his idiot label as Bush the First's Veep (he was a Republican, so probably not that many), but Biden has to be closing fast on whatever the total is.

        • You're ruining the memories of that muppet for me.

    • You are really from another planet,Gaunilon. Biden may be loose lipped but no one doubts his competence . Palin is a female version of Bush -moronic . Parisella is too generous . She“s toast even in 2016.Female Dan Quayle . Soon to be forgotten.

      • Well, Imn, how about this? From yesterday.

        The Obama administration poured cold water Monday on any notion it is giving Israel the green light to attack Iran or that it is reconsidering plans to engage diplomatically with the Islamic republic.
        Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview broadcast Sunday that the United States would not stand in the way of Israel in its dealings with Iran's nuclear ambitions.
        But State Department spokesman Ian Kelly rebuffed suggestions from reporters that Biden could be seen as giving the Jewish state a green light to attack Iran, which it views as an existential threat.

        Keep in mind, Biden was chosen for his foreign policy experience. If you are not questioning his competence yet, all I have to ask is: what the hell are you waiting for?

      • Actually a lot of people doubt Biden's competence, it's just just that you don't hear about them on the CBC. Enlarge your horizons by checking out a few conservative blogs once in a while. You'll be surprised what a big and diverse world it is out there.

        • Biden was a legitimate candidate to win the Democratic leadership and be a presidential candidate. Palin was the mayor of Wasilla and governor of the most pointless state for 2 minutes. The republicans may dislike Biden, but secretly, I'm sure they all think he's smarter than Palin. ( I include Hannity and Beck in this group as it sounds like the kind of blogs you'd be reading.)

          • The fact that you can't name a single conservative blog speaks volumes. Hannity and Beck are bigmouth talkshow hosts, not bloggers.

            So, of the two of us, I think I'm in a better position to assess conservative opinion. A lot of conservatives, myself included, are convinced that Biden is a fool.

          • Biden is a complete disaster.

            Never mind the harmless idiot gaffes about telling a wheelchair-bound senator to stand up. He is in charge of implementing the Obama stimulus package, but when asked questions about it claims it's "above his pay grade". He didn't know what the single largest stimulus item in the whole damn country was for (the New York / New Jersey train tunnel – he thought it was for cars). His comments on Israel/Iran were interpreted as a green light for Israel to attack Iran, and had to be clarified by the White House before that happened. He warned the country to stay away from public transportation during the swine flu outbreak.

            All of this, mind you, in 6 months as VP. If Sarah Palin had made even a single one of these mistakes, let alone all of them, you and all the rest of the left would be up in arms that she would need to be removed for the good of the country. But Biden gets pretty much a free pass.

          • I will concede that Alaska is definitely one of the easier states to run, but I would still put her brief governorship up against Obama's equally brief U.S. Senate experience any day.

            As Mark Shields said:
            “Governors have real jobs (as opposed to) to senators. I mean, a senator is one of a hundred. A senator makes speeches; a governor makes decisions. Governors are in charge of universities. It's not only prison breaks and tornadoes. They have thousands of people. They run a major enterprise.”

            Now he wasn't talking about Palin at the time, this was from the Sanford debacle in June, but I still think the point is a good one.

  6. Gambles have potential payoffs. She either goes down in flames when allegations of wrongdoing surface in the next few weeks. when she loses the republican nomination, or when she loses a bid for the presidency (I don't buy quitting now to run in 2016, but out of interest, when was the last time the democrats won three straight terms?)

    She has no upside. It's just a question of how much damage she can do.

    • FDR / Truman of course.

  7. It strikes me there is still something to be explained about the 08 campaign results. It was widely expected that any Democrat would win in a landslide following Bush. Then Obama emerged as a once-in-a-generation orator, resulting in a mania in press, the American public and the international community. He had a brutally efficient money machine and outspend McCain massively. McCain was a nice guy but faltered often. He often appeared a befuddled old man with word retrieval issues, which is particularly bad if you are a really old man. Finally, a mavericky sidekick was brought in, who clearly went completely off the rails before the end of the campaign. All this and Obama received less than 53% of the vote. The Democrats should be concerned, absolutely everything went their way and it was much closer than it should have been.

    • Funny how people don't question election results in the US, yet rush to judge Iranian election results. This is despite the fact that many States use electronic voting machines that produce no paper record, or the punch-card machines that are prone to counting errors, while Iranian votes are manually counted at each of the 45,000 + polling stations, in the presence of representatives for each candidate, the Guardian Council, and the local police. The votes are counted in the presence of all, and all sign documents attesting to the count.

    • Obama beat McCain by a larger margin than Bush beat Kerry, and by a larger margin than Clinton beat Dole. He won more votes than any other Presidential candidate in the history of the Republic (beating the old record by over 7 million votes) and out polled John McCain by over 9.5 million votes.

      You can paint Obama's win as some kind of disappointment, but I think he'll take "most successful Democratic Presidential candidate since LBJ in 1964" and "most votes ever received in a Presidential election EVER" and be quite happy with that.

      • "most votes ever received in a Presidential election EVER"

        Obama's win was solid and convincing, that's for sure. But also remember that McCain received more votes than Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, Carter, or Nixon ever did. Only Obama and W (in 2004) got more popular votes.

        • True enough.

          Still, I think the point remains that (just looking at popular vote mind you, in an electoral college system) there was a 9.5 million vote gap between the Democrat and the Republican. Not to say that such a gap can't be overcome, but even in a country the size of the U.S., 9.5 million votes is a lot of votes.

    • There have been 28 US Presidential elections since 1900. In 14 of those, presidents were elected with a popular vote % greater than Obama's, 13 with a popular vote less. From 1920-1944, 7 presidential elections in a row were decided with a greater popular vote % than Obama (including FDR all four times).

      In the 10 elections before Obama, only 3 had higher popular vote percentages (Nixon 60.7% in '72, Reagan 58.8% in 84, and Bush 1 at 53.4% in '88. The highest single popular vote percentage since 1900 is 61.1 (LBJ – 1964) followed closely by 60.8 (FDR – 1936).

      So in summary – 53% clearly does not represent a historical high – but is sure as hell wasn't close. It was the highest popular vote percentage since 1988 and the highest by a democrat since 1964.

      Assuming race did not play a factor or was net positive, I think Obama could've done better. But if Obama being black even reduced his vote totals by a few percentage points…I'd say that he thumped McCain.

      • And, again, one can't discount the vote total either. Obama received more than 7 million more votes than Bush did in 2004, which was the previous highest vote total in history (McCain got about 850,000 more votes than John Kerry). 53% may sound small, but it's historically quite average, th highest percentage of the vote total for a democrat since 1964, and it does represent an over 7 point gap between Obama and McCain (who got 45.7% of the vote).

        I just find it hard to question Obama's electoral success given that his 69,456,897 votes was so many more than the previous all-time high of 62,040,610, a given the fact that 53% of the vote is the highest percentage of the vote a Democratic candidate has won in my lifetime (since LBJ beat Goldwater in 1964).

  8. Palin only has to campaign in 51 states while Obama has to campaign in 57 states.

  9. Seeing as how there's only 50 states, they were both doing more than they had to,

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