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Sarah Palin's unfavorables far lower than Bernie Madoff's

M1X00127_9.JPGI'm no campaign expert, but when your argument for Sarah Palin's 2012 candidacy is that high-stakes, nationally televised interviews will help her repair her image and, in any case, "Ms. Palin isn't as unpopular as John Edwards," you're on shaky ground.

What baffles me, however, is why it's ground you'd want to be on, even if it were firmer. Support for Palin, as near as I can figure it out, is support for a form of identity politics that is completely unmoored from questions of governance and policy. Palin is not Howard Dean, who built his candidacy off his lonely opposition to the Iraq War and his success expanding health-care coverage in Vermont, and she is not George W. Bush, whose candidacy emerged after multiple successful terms as the governor of Texas and rested atop an apparent policy synthesis of Christian compassion and economic conservatism. She does not take hard positions or innovative ones, or boast a long record of accomplishment or competence.

The sole attraction to Palin -- aside, I guess, from a literal attraction to Palin -- is that she annoys liberals. That's something, I guess, but it's not much. Indeed, if you care about conservative policies, it's not even enough.

Photo credit: By Jim Watson/Getty Images

By Ezra Klein  |  November 16, 2009; 4:20 PM ET
 
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Comments

"...George W. Bush, whose candidacy emerged after multiple successful terms as the governor of Texas and rested atop an apparent policy synthesis of Christian compassion and economic conservatism."

guh, Gov. Bush had it easy in Texas as the economy grew.

And...Bush showed us *anything but* an "economic conservatism."

Ezra, edit!

Posted by: HalHorvath | November 16, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

one of the sad effects of the sarah palin phenomenon, is that it is just not possible, (at least for me,) to think of alaska, without thinking of her.
alaska always had the most wonderful connotations, and now....i think of her, instead of dall sheep or the glacier at whittier or the eagles swooping down outside of anchorage.
a friend of mine in anchorage told me last week, that wasilla is one of the fastest growing cities in alaska.
somebody must still like her!!!

Posted by: jkaren | November 16, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Funny fact with Palin.

She quit as Gov. of Alaska, to the surprise of many.

Then I noticed a few weeks later a little tidbit in the news....

A massive shortfall in Alaska state revenue was opening up.

heh heh...

Posted by: HalHorvath | November 16, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Sarah is a part of a most wonderful, if totally unfettered by mundane reality, intellectual process taking place in the most conservative niches of the republican Party that feeds on its own bloviation.

The radical right is hell bent on making itself the absolute standard for Republican candidates.

Absolute.

Standard.

If you can't meet their concept of what a politician ought to be, get out of the way.

So they cut their throats in New York, more than once, and are cutting their throats in Florida as they inundate Rubio with money and (conservative) support.

And the more they see of Sarah the more infatuated they become.

Look for an awesome lemming like run to the rightas they try to out tea party each other.

Of course, when the entire party has restricted itself to people who find the John Birch Society too pink, you wonder how well they can do against all the republicans they shoved out into the darkness to wail and gnash their teeth.

And one day the entire Republican Party will drown itself in Grover Norquist's hot tub.

While discussing whether the ghost writer was really responsible for all the idiotic things they eventually found in Sarah's book.

Posted by: ceflynline | November 16, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

My favorite part of the WSJ editorial is the advice that Palin should "adopt a market-friendly populist agenda."

Traditionally, "populism" hasn't been associated with "market friendliness." What the writer is no doubt suggesting is a "market-friendly" agenda cloaked in divisive "populist" identity politics.

Posted by: AronB | November 16, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I pray that Rich Lowry never, ever lives down that post. If he does, the terrorists win.

Posted by: tomohare3 | November 16, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

"And...Bush showed us *anything but* an "economic conservatism.""

1) Ezra's comments were with regards to Bush as candidate, not as president-- and some vision of "compassionate conservatism" was very much what his 2000 election candidacy was based on.
2) If we regard economic conservatism as the economic policy pursued by conservatives actually holding power, rather than some abstract theoretical set of principles, then Bush certainly practiced economic conservatism almost by definition. This is, of course, much the way the Soviet Union should properly regarded as Marxist, however far afield it ran from Marx's utopian prescriptions.

Posted by: adamiani | November 16, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Odd use of multiple for less than one and one half "George W. Bush, whose candidacy emerged after multiple successful terms as the governor of Texas" Bush complete one term, and was re-elected. His candidacy emerged in 1999 in the first year of his second term. Even if we pretend it emerged in 2000, that would be the second year of his second four year term.

I understand that you were in your mid teens in 1999, but I am delighted that there is still something us old timers can teach y'all gosh darn whippersnappers.

Posted by: rjw88 | November 16, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

"The sole attraction to Palin...is that she annoys liberals."

Nah, that's just a perk. Perhaps instead of asserting that Palin has no merit, you should simply admit that you're incapable of seeing it.

Perhaps you should do that about a lot of things.

Posted by: whoisjohngaltcom | November 17, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

I would think you would refrain from joining the left wing chorus about Palin if for no other reason than out of self respect. There is such a unanimous chant going up about her. It's like being in a madrassa, where the orthodox recite in unison over and over. Not one deviation from the text, not one. Oh wait, your comment using the word "successful" in conjunction with Bush had a couple of mullahs on your case.

Posted by: truck1 | November 17, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Exactly--if I were a Republican, I'd want to nominate Mitt Romney. I'm actually slightly alarmed by how relieved some of my progressive friends are at the idea of Romney (e.g. "he wouldn't be that bad.") In my view, he would--he's another George W. Bush, a guy who disguises a rabid, dangerous conservatism with a friendly image. You want someone who can *appeal* to the other side, not motivate them to work harder for their guy. Palin motivates progressives to campaign for Obama and frightens independents, and she doesn't seem to be doing anything to change that.

Posted by: gregM2 | November 17, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

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