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Posted at 9:15 AM ET, 12/ 1/2010

The myth of Palin's frontrunner status

By Jennifer Rubin

Much of the punditocracy is obsessed with Sarah Palin. It's understandable on several levels. First, she makes for good copy and has a knack for coining catchy phrases ("death panels") and new words ("refudiate" -- it's now in the dictionary). She is controversial and opinionated, so given the choice between, say, a story on John Thune and one on Palin, it's a no-brainer to choose the best-selling author, TV reality show star and Tea Party darling. But conservatives suspect there's also some mischief-making afoot -- the desire by liberal-leaning members of the media and the White House to make Palin the symbol of the Republican Party, which they are convinced will translate into her presidential run, her nomination and a shellacking for the GOP at the polls in 2012.

You don't have to buy into a conspiracy to see that many in the media and on the left are convinced Palin will be the nominee. In fact, they seem to be in a bit of a time warp. Howard Kurtz recently praised her media savvy, an observation widely held by conservatives -- 18 months ago. Unlike conservatives who have had time to process the Palin phenomenon, non-conservatives are just beginning to evaluate her as more than a punchline or an object of ridicule. They suspect conservatives are oblivious to her shortcomings. But that's simply wrong.

For months now the real story on the right has been the search for new presidential contenders. There is far more awareness than many in the media imagine among conservative activists, Tea Partyers included, of Palin's limited appeal to independent voters. Her backing of questionable candidates in the Senate races, most especially Christine O'Donnell, rekindled concerns about her political judgment in a general election context. Is she admired for her ability to rally the base? Yes. Is she especially talented at throwing the White House off stride? Obviously. Does she give voice to populists' suspicion about media bias and liberal elites? Better than most anyone on the political scene. But the notion that she is a frontrunner is an eye-roller for most elected GOP officials (Chris Christie tipped his hand a bit on late-night TV) and even for many fans who furiously defended her against what conservatives saw as excessive and unfair criticism during the 2008 race.

Indeed, more Republicans -- on the Hill and around the country -- are beginning to suspect that she might not run. Why risk her fame and her rock-star status by running and possibly losing?

So political observers should watch the non-candidates and the maybe-candidates. There was for a time the Mitch Daniels buzz. However, he stumbled out of the gate, suggesting a truce on social issues that annoyed social conservatives and a penny-pinching approach to defense that alarmed hawks. There is the Chris Christie buzz. And now there's Mike Pence, a favorite of movement conservatives and Tea Partyers.

And then there is Paul Ryan, whose wonkishness excites conservative policymakers and whose devotion to limited government wins over Tea Partyers. A prominent conservative writer and think tank scholar told me, "He loves ideas; and he loves policy." Translation: he's not a celebrity candidate. And it's not every candidate who can write and hold forth on QE2.

Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, (whose magazine has featured a number of conservative contenders and defended Palin from an onslaught of attacks during the campaign) comes right out with it when I ask his take on the state of the presidential race: "Ryan-Odierno 2012!" He adds, "You can quote me on that -- a wish and a prediction." That would be Gen. Ray Odinero, commander of our forces in Iraq. This may come as a shock to Palin fans and to those who perceived her as the favorite of the most influential weekly conservative magazine. But it won't surprise many Republican activists.

Actually, there is no "frontrunner" -- just many candidates with serious issues. (For example, Mitt Romney's Massachusetts health-care plan bears an uncanny resemblance to ObamaCare, which conservatives vow to repeal. I've yet to find a plugged-in Republican or a Tea Party activist who thinks he will be the nominee.)

Talking heads and mainstream reporters who are certain that Palin will be the nominee may not be looking to make trouble for the GOP. They are just behind the curve. In six months, when the field is better defined, we'll see who might emerge from the pack. Right now the frontrunner is "none of the above."

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 1, 2010; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  2012 campaign, Sarah Palin  
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Comments

Ryan is a terrific wonk, but a wonk is still a wonk.

Leadership and administrative ability are distinct from and generally not colocated with wonkishness.

Sometimes it seems that only Chris Christie can save us from another term of Obama.

Posted by: getjiggly2 | December 1, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Contentions blog was my first stop every morning. If WaPo was looking for a way to get conservatives to their site, it worked. Jennifer Rubin is a magnificent and thoughtful writer and I look forward to reading her here.

Posted by: Chicagoconservative2 | December 1, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm a conservative. Sarah is cool (except when whe puts it on the line for a candidate like Christine O'Donnell--not good judgment). I like her. But she is not right to run for president or serve as president. She lacks the combination of experience, education and intellect required for either. I hope that doesn't sound like a putdown. It's just a fact. It doesn't make her less "admirable", just not suited to the peculiar requirements for succeeding at the level in question. I hope the vast majority of her fans (like me) will understand that. There is no lack of outstanding conservatives in the ranks of the Republican party today. Sarah can continue to make major contributions to the cause of conservative (i.e., common sense, principled) government.

Posted by: Roytex | December 1, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the left is not all that focused on Palin.
I belong to several left blogs and discussion of her is at most, very little.
Of course, we do joke about her being the nominee but, it is split that the right would nominate her.
Most of our comments on Palin the puppy crush and obsession the media has with her.
I mean, how ridiculous is it to have breaking news and a week of endless discussions and lead stories over a twitter or facebook post by anyone, let alone Palin.
And yet the media has actual breaking news and makes talking about Bristol Palin on Dancing with the Stars the most important stories over say, unemployment benefits and the growing poverty rate. or the widest income disparity and redistribution of our wealth to the top 2 percent.
Even Korea does not rate over Palin's ghost written twitter gibberish.
So, our discussion of Palin is mostly about the sheer ridiculousness of our media and their total fail.

Posted by: vwcat | December 1, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a conservative, and I must admit when I saw this new blog listed on the opinion page I rolled my eyes a bit thinking of what kind of right-wing wackiness will be thrown out here, but to my surprise I find a very thoughtful and reasonable commentary from the conservative perspective. I hope this keeps up, if so I look forward to reading it and no doubt disagreeing with you constantly.

As far as the topic goes, I don't think she's been a serious candidate for a while now. She may have entertained the notion roundabout right after the election, but I think she's enjoying what she's doing now too much. I'm not even talking about the money here really. Being a "gadfly" is probably a lot of fun.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | December 1, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

"They suspect conservatives are oblivious to her shortcomings."

Of course they do, because they consider her almost *nothing but* shortcomings, to the point that any one who would like her at all *has* to be oblivious to her shortcomings.

@vwcat: "Actually, the left is not all that focused on Palin."

You must not read the Plum Line. Additionally, your familiarity with what Palin is doing either indicates that you're wrong (even if you put in the context of the "sheer ridiculousness of our media", it's still focused on Palin), or you have an unhealthy interest in Twitter and Dancing with the Stars. :)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 1, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Oh dear, first Thiessen now this nut job. Resentment and paranoia are the dishes of the day at Fred Hiatt's Post

Posted by: H1000 | December 1, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Strange that conservatives are now saying that the "liberal" media is "using" Palin to help Pres. Obama in 2012.

Where were all the naysayers when Palin was saying untrue things about the Health Care Reform bill; Pres. Obama, etc. They embraced her then. Too bad Republicans let her ride the gravy train now they're stuck with her and all the negativity she brings to them.

Posted by: rlj1 | December 1, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Best of luck to Ms. Rubin and Joe Scarborough as they try to slow down the Palin Express.

Look for Palin to trash Rubin on her facebook page in 3...2...1...

Posted by: Observer691 | December 1, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I am a fan of Sarah Palin and I think she should run if she wants, as she has every right to do so.

However I will support Mike Pence until he says he isn't running or loses the primary. Which I don't think will happen, since he will be our next president.

Posted by: BigGator5 | December 1, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

It is no myth that Sarah Palin is the front runner. She is clearly the front runner, even the most recent PPP poll shows it and that is not a conservative polling site. Sarah Palin is feared by the left and by the Republican elite. both know that they will be destroyed by her in the general election. If you think her unelectable, think again. There are some who doubt her now, but her base is very strong and there is plenty of time to demonstrate to independents her very real capabilities. Many do not understand how capable an administrator she has been. Her photographic memory and uncanny ability to multitask make her one of the most gifted leaders we have seen in many years.

Posted by: tkmmd | December 1, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Welcome to the WP site, Jennifer! Like Jhnnywalkr, I am (definitely!) not a conservative, but I think it is important to have articulate proponents of the whole political spectrum represented online.

I've enjoyed reading these initial postings and look forward to hearing more from you.

Posted by: DCSteve1 | December 1, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

A strong first day from Jennifer Rubin.

From my perspective, Rubin's analysis of a Palin presidential run is spot-on.

But the media, who manufactured Sarah palin's fame, will not ever willingly let go. Whether attacking, analyzing, or mocking, the media seeks credibility/ratings/income by fabulizing the Palins. Forget Fannie/Freddie, ignore the fact that California is bankrupt, gloss over the fact that President Obama knows nothing about economics or business, let's discuss the Palins on Facebook & Twitter.

Posted by: pilsener | December 1, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

"However I will support Mike Pence until he says he isn't running or loses the primary. Which I don't think will happen, since he will be our next president."

Now that's funny. Comedy gold, Jerry. Mike Pence. LOL

Posted by: Observer691 | December 1, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm not really a fan of Palin but have been impressed with her ability to stay in the public eye. She seems to know just where the line between controversial and delusional is and when to use that to her advantage.

The liberal media did put her where she is but may have underestimated her ability to attract a following. It's pretty obvious she would have to smooth the corners of her platform in order to run. However looking at her growth as an national figure she must know this and probably has the ability to do it. What I see as the real question is whether she has the will.

Posted by: plysle | December 1, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

No chance of a Robert Gates+Mike Pence or Paul Ryan GOP ticket in 2012???

Gates is today's incarnation of Eisenhower in so many ways, and my sense is the country really, really, really wants an experienced, pragmatic, no-drama adult in the Oval Office.

Posted by: K2K2 | December 1, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"it's not every candidate who can write and hold forth on QE2." J. Rubin

"Will QE2 then at least boost domestic investment? No, again. As I explained in my speech in Phoenix, the reason banks aren’t lending and businesses aren’t investing isn’t because of insufficient access to credit. There’s plenty of money around, it’s just that no one’s willing to spend it. Big businesses especially have been hoarding cash. They’re not expanding or adding to their workforce because there’s just too much uncertainty created by a lot of big government experiments that aren’t working. It’s the President’s own policies that are creating this uncertainty."

http://www.facebook.com/notes/sarah-palin/the-case-for-extending-all-the-tax-cuts/465913713434#!/note.php?note_id=454151943434

Posted by: viator1 | December 1, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer.... another so-called conservative writer who does not understand what Sarah Palin is all about.
So, now the spin is that Sarah is being promoted by the liberals as being the face of the Conservative movement and this is a trick by the liberals???
Sarah Palin is one of the top leaders in the Conservative movement... it has nothing to do with the liberals... it is a fact. Now, the Establishment Republicans may not like it, the so-called conservative writers like Rubin may not like it, many people who have a stake in their own positions of power and influence may not like it...
but it is a fact.
And why is she one of the top leaders of Conservatives in America? Because she is a Conservative, not a rainy day one, not a poll motivated one, not a money related one...

Sarah Palin was the only Conservative who had the guts to stand up and fight Obama head on re Obamacare, motivate the Republican base to action, give the people in the Tea Party Movement an example to follow in standing up to the liberals and becoming active in politics.... need I go on?
All the pussified male Republicans finally crawled out from under the rocks only after the Tea Party forced them to show some courage.
So, Jennifer, we are going to file you away into the failed Conservative file if this is how you are going to write about Sarah Palin, one of the best people to emerge for Conservatism in the last few decades.

Posted by: philipjames1 | December 1, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Unless the economy tanks again in an unbelievable way Palin isn't running. She's a pretty good vote counter and she knows she doesn't have it. However in order to remain viable as a huge money maker/king maker, she has to remain a potential candidate until the last possible second.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 1, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Libs and rinos are like moths, driven to the light of Sarah Palin......

When they get to close, they burn up and die:)

Posted by: idesign | December 1, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

The story line right now is that Palin most likely willl run. Currently there is nobody that Palin can get behind, and she certainly will not let Romney go uncontested simply because it is "his turn".

And Palin has no insecuirty issues and so will be willing to stay the course with her vision for America. As she said during the mide-terms, ' Don't go to the independents. Let them come to you." So they will or they won't. Governor Palin has a clear view of the challenges in front of us if we want to effect a change of direction and a return toward the America the majority loves and wants to protect.

Establisment Republicans like Niclole wallace are hoping Governor Palin self-destructs. However after two years of being out there, it seems to me Palin has only gotten stronger, and more influential. This time next year, we will be looking at greater possibilties.

Posted by: 5280sail | December 1, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Too bad for Sarah Palin that our country isn't some rural district out in Idaho or Kentucky or Utah or Ohio with a small population that just voted in a conservative rep to the House, but it isn't. In a national election, she'd be crushed. Rightfully so. She is a perfect symbol for the dumbing down of America that the conservative/Tea party perspective embraces.

Posted by: dudh | December 1, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Good article, though I disagree that Palin throws the White House off stride. They ignore her as they give her more rope. Obama (though not always successful) is doing his job of running the country. All Sarah and Republicans do is point fingers - they have no alternative solutions - part of the reason is they'd have to agree with Obama on important issues (like tax cuts to the wealthy don't help the economy - easy to see because tax cuts have been around for years and the economy's in the tank). If Republicans want to gain ground they need to stop talking about Sarah and start presenting viable solutions.

Posted by: chris76543 | December 1, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Gracious, gifted, glamorous Gov. Sarah Palin will win the Republican nomination by popular acclaim, much to the chagrin of liberals & RINOs. The only question is: Does she even want the Presidency, a grubby, thankless job that makes people look old before their time.

Posted by: bubbasouth | December 1, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I have no doubt that Palin is shrewd and politically savvy. However, a woman who lies as much as she does, passes the blame when caught, and refuses to speak to anyone face to face unless they are co-workers at Fox (or Barbara Walters promoting her as 'fascinating,') is in no way a viable candidate for President. She hits you over the head with her "family is the most important thing" mantra while flying around the country away from her beloved kids. She promotes herself (not her state) on a vanity TV show, and then begs people to 'watch and learn' as if she has something vital to share. She snipes at the President, undermining his work constantly. Has another failed candidate ever been so mean-spirited toward the winner? She prides herself on being the outsider while raking in money from whichever group will fund her next speech.
And to tkmmd, what photographic memory? She writes her speeches on her hands, and has taken to using that evil teleprompter thingy. I also don't see her as this great multitasker. She can't even keep tabs on Willow's boyfriend heading upstairs while she's in the same room, and heaven knows what she was doing that was more important than keeping Levi out of Bristol's bed.

Posted by: smgess | December 1, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Gov. Palin will not run. She needs privacy and secrecy, and having Secret Service agents tailing her and her family won't work. Her use of Facebook and her twitter account would be compromised. People are fascinated to see her "lambast" and "lampoon" and lob grenades from the bunker, but it won't go farther than that.

Posted by: MinnyMa | December 1, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"Indeed, more Republicans -- on the Hill and around the country -- are beginning to suspect that she [Sarah] might not run. Why risk her fame and her rock-star status by running and possibly losing?"

Right - she's got it good now. It would be selfish to drag her family back into the political fray of running/getting public office. Sarah said she was discussing "the matter with the most important people in her life, her family" a couple weeks ago, but we've heard nothing since then (except, I think I understood, an article hinted the country is now more important to her than her family). If the family was even "okay" with her running, we'd know by now - though she'd continue to hold the "campaign carrot" to keep the spotlight shining. Personally, I think Sarah's close to meltdown. Her emotional instability was apparent with the "corrupt bastards" rant over the Miller/pedophile non-issue - she's dividing Republicans now (none are as good as her and the brood) - she cut down most repected media outlets and reporters - then she shot at Michelle Obama about supporting the anti-obesity issue and hit concerned parents who want to wean their kids off Twinkies, the military which says many applicants are too fat, the AMA (diabetes risks), and the health of the nation (health costs related to obesity will skyrocket). Sarah has a unique way of disrespecting voters within and across party lines - this is not normal behaviour for a candidate.

It would also be unique for someone to campaign from within a shelter of Facebook, Twitter, and Fox reporters - more signs of her inability to function outside the her protective bubble. The chick has emotional issues and they show everytime she barks (like a little insecure Pomeranian dog).

Posted by: chris76543 | December 1, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

But conservatives suspect there's also some mischief-making afoot -- the desire by liberal-leaning members of the media and the White House to make Palin the symbol of the Republican Party,

============================================

Your colleague Charles Krauthammer made the same observation on Inside Washington last week.

I'm not sure if liberals in the media are deliberately creating this impression but until someone else emerges Palin will be perceived as the GOP front runner.

Posted by: bbface21 | December 1, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The "punditocracy" (and the regular "reporters") are not obsessed with Palin, they are obsessed with tearing Palin down and destroying her popularity.
There are NEVER straight positive articles on her, it is ALWAYS negative or, "yeah, she is street smart, but intellectually incurious", or some such underhanded hit job.
It has been a steady campaign to bring her down, not to position her as the Republican leader.. Not to get ratings.
The 85% of "journalists" and pundits who vote Democrat, love Obama, and think Socialism is our future, well, they see her as a wall to tear down, and a threat.

Good luck with that.

Posted by: johnL1 | December 1, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

bubbasouth: "Gracious, gifted, glamorous Gov. Sarah Palin will win the Republican nomination by popular acclaim, much to the chagrin of liberals & RINOs."

Someone is auditioning for a job as a jokewriter for Leno and Letterman. There is no other possible explanation for this post.

Posted by: Observer691 | December 1, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

The best way to knock Palin down is for Republicans to jump off the finger pointing bandwagon and come up with viable solutions (plans and numbers to back up what they say). Ignore her and move on.

Posted by: chris76543 | December 1, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Another person pretending to be a conservative, wow, how original. What's the matter, Kathleen Parker have writers crimp from her last Palin Derangement Syndrome infected rant?

Palin will crush all of the gop wannabees in the primaries, and then go on to crush 0bama in the general. Count on it.

Posted by: gatshanson1 | December 1, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Leave Palin alone! She's my hero and is just like me. She farts when she's nervous and just pees where ever she can. Stop trashing her!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 1, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

gatshanson:

Do you have an basis for this opinion?

Posted by: 54465446 | December 1, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Palin will run. I think she is self-aware enough to know that she won't win. She is smart enough to talk herself up and thus keep her in the news, increasing the value of her "brand." She will keep the talk going about her for a long enough time to build up her ultimate announcement that she won't run, again, keeping her in the news for maximum effect. I love her, but I really admire her shrewdness.

Posted by: ericmilitary | December 1, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Palin is performing a valuable service to the GOP at the moment. She's playing the role of a Stalking Horse. While the left obsesses a front runner will emerge from "nowhere" and the left won't have time to demonize them. I think Palin understands that role and is comfortable with it...we'll see.

Posted by: vargo17 | December 1, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I applaud Rubin for not spewing hysterical nonsense in the way so many others do (Scarborough, Frum, etc.) regarding Palin. Nevertheless, there seems a gaping hole in the logic here. The whole point is that we don't yet know the front-runner, and it will shake out, yet she makes a firm conclusion that Palin absolutely is not viable, providing nothing more than her current low numbers with independents. Anyone in politics know that the amount of time between now and the Iowa caucuses might as well be an eternity. Anyone underestimating Palin, particularly her ability to come from behind, has clearly not spent much time studying her background. The ambivalence towards Huckabee, Romney, Daniels, and others is based in their actual records. As of right now, the ambivalence about Palin in based almost entirely in perceptions.

Posted by: funfb | December 1, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Sarah will not run. She will be a factor. Mitch Daniels is spot on with his approach to social issues. 2012 will be about more pressing issues. Once we fix the economy, get our fiscal house in order and bring two wars to their conclusion, then we can argue about abortion. It'll be a great day in America when abortion and school vouchers are the most important issues facing the country. I'm all about Gov. Daniels. If you want a wonk, put Jindal on the ticket..... leave Paul Ryan right where he is.

Posted by: Hopeful64 | December 1, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

funfb wrote:

"Anyone underestimating Palin, particularly her ability to come from behind, has clearly not spent much time studying her background"

I could never agree with her politics, but I DO admire her drive and determination. However coming from behind to win one race as Governor of Alaska has no national implications whatsoever.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 1, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I love Sarah Palin but don't want her to run for President nor do I think she has any intention of doing so. But, boy is she having fun driving all the liberals nuts. I love it.

Posted by: usr105 | December 1, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

You fools. Palin is already running.

For the past year, she has penned two best-selling books, has given dozens of speeches nationwide attracting tens of thousands of people, has her own TV series, has earned millions for her political action committee, has endorsed winning candidates, and has kept her name, face and activities in the mainstream media on a near-daily basis - even as she avoids talking to them like a plague.

All of this is nothing short of genius, and you fools lap it up, then sit around with your fingers up your noses pondering, "Duh....I wonder if she'll run....?", too stupid to admit the obvious, too scared to admit she'll win.

Posted by: QuineGeology | December 1, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight: being a two-time incumbent slayer in a state with one of the highest percentages of independent voters has no national implications whatsoever? If you say so.

Posted by: funfb | December 1, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

>>Has another failed candidate ever been so mean-spirited toward the winner?<<

Um, let me think a second .... Al Gore? Jimmy Carter?

Has another *winner* ever dissed the loser as doggedly or for as long as Barack Obama?

Posted by: wumhenry | December 1, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"Has another *winner* ever dissed the loser as doggedly or for as long as Barack Obama?"

Child, please. How has Obama dissed McCain at all? Your post is nonsensical.

Posted by: Observer691 | December 1, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

rlj1 writes: "Too bad Republicans let her ride the gravy train now they're stuck with her and all the negativity she brings to them."

Yeah, all that negativity. Such as an 88% approval rating as governor - highest on record. Such as going after, exposing and defeating corruption in her own party. Such as an energy policy that supplied domestic oil to the U.S., put people to work and held the oil companies accountable. Such as cutting government spending, then cutting it again, on her watch. Such as being able to manage a team, balance a budget and still have charisma to spare that keeps the entire nation transfixed. Such as always maintaining a positive, can-do attitude and a smile, in spite of slings and arrows launched at her by the media. Such as believing in "radical ideas" like individual freedoms, reducing the size of government and following the Constitution.

Wow. Why would we want anyone like that as president? I'd rather keep the incompetent, America-hating, Marxist sissy we have now in office. After all, he has a Harvard degree and speaks well (with teleprompters).

Posted by: QuineGeology | December 1, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

gatshanson: "Palin will crush all of the gop wannabees in the primaries, and then go on to crush 0bama in the general. Count on it."

LOL More comedy gold. Thanks, funnyman!

Posted by: Observer691 | December 1, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

"Palin is performing a valuable service to the GOP at the moment. She's playing the role of a Stalking Horse. While the left obsesses a front runner will emerge from "nowhere" and the left won't have time to demonize them. I think Palin understands that role and is comfortable with it...we'll see."

I have to give you credit for at least hedging a bit, but seriously, there is NO chance Sarah Palin cares about anyone besides Sarah Palin. There is ZERO chance she thinks she's serving as a stalking horse for anyone else. That is simply nonsensical.

Posted by: Observer691 | December 1, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

funfb: "Let me get this straight: being a two-time incumbent slayer in a state with one of the highest percentages of independent voters has no national implications whatsoever? If you say so."

That is correct. Alaska is a tiny state. No national implications whatsoever. Internal Alaskan politics means nothing to people outside Alaska. Further, it's ancient history. Palin is now hated by a majority of Alaskans, and is considered unqualified by a majority of independents nationally.

Glad I could lay that out for you.

Posted by: Observer691 | December 1, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Distraction. One of the pillars of Republican Political Theory.

Fear, Hatred, Distortion, Distraction and Division. That's all they have to offer America.

Posted by: thebobbob | December 1, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I see the very nasty QuineGeology is another trashbagger who has drunk from the Palin Kool-aid tub.

Another fool who thinks that anything Palin did before expose herself as a moron to the nation means anything. Her approval rating from years ago could not possibly be more irrelevant now.

But you just keep on drinking that Palin Kool-aid, sport.

Posted by: Observer691 | December 1, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

How is it that I a non-American can examine in detail Sarah palin's actual record of accomplishment while Jennifer Rubin, an American journalist, premuably with research resources at her disposal cannot? I used to repect Jennifer Rubin at Commentary Magazine.

Posted by: genecarr100 | December 1, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

How is it that I a non-American can examine in detail Sarah Palin's actual record of accomplishment while Jennifer Rubin, an American journalist, premuably with research resources at her disposal cannot? I used to repect Jennifer Rubin at Commentary Magazine.

Posted by: genecarr100 | December 1, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

From QuineGeology: "Yeah, all that negativity. Such as an 88% approval rating as governor - highest on record. Such as going after, exposing and defeating corruption in her own party. Such as an energy policy that supplied domestic oil to the U.S., put people to work and held the oil companies accountable." Etc. etc.

You paint a pretty--and misleading--picture. There's too much misinformation here to correct, but here's a few things. Palin was elected under the "anybody but Frank Murkowski" banner--she got 48 percent of the vote, or an astounding 114,000 people. Her approval ratings in our state were high for a while, and why not when you've given everyone in the state $1,200 on top of their annual dividends? They were diving even before McCain picked her.

Right now, she is regarded less favorably than Obama in Alaska. In the last quarter, her PAC received exactly one Alaskan donor. We understand what you don't: the woman is incompetent, greedy, a phony, and a liar. You're in love with a myth, not the real person. She did not "lead" a team--she was constantly firing people, and several people who worked under her have told me how disorganized and disinterested she was. In short, she liked being governor but disliked the work of governing. Hence, she quit.

As for cleaning up corruption--no. She was a whistleblower on the state GOP chair before she was governor. She had absolutely nothing to do with the FBI sting that convicted so many Republican legislators on corruption charges. All that happened before she was governor.

Look up the ACES tax she succeeded in levying on oil companies here. It has discouraged development and drilling so much that the legislature has been trying to figure out how to undo it.

I have long believed that the only people who would take Sarah Palin down are either (a) Sarah Palin or (b) the GOP. I'm betting on (a), as long as she keeps shooting off her mouth about things she doesn't know anything about. She may yet save the GOP from doing the dirty work.

The first serious question from a real reporter (meaning, Not Fox), and she'll melt down. Hate to break it to you, but she's not writing most of those Facebook posts and speeches that pretend to say anything about anything. She only writes the snotty, rambling, ill-informed, self-serving posts.

That's because she is snotty, rambling, ill-informed and self-serving.

Posted by: BlueDog1 | December 1, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Laughable. Who exactly is mentioned in this piece that is searching for new Republican presidential contenders. "pundits"; "Republicans on the Hill"; conservative activists". Voters, except for the vaunted independents, not mentioned. The chattering class is working overtime to prevent a tidal wave they still don't understand and that has not yet crested. Hopefully it will sweep all these tired hangers-on away.

Posted by: davidlbooth | December 1, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Pence and Ryan are going to be the point men in the new Congress, taking on Obama and the Democrats every day on a multitude of issues. A backbencher like Obama can walk away from the Senate and campaign for two years without it bothering anyone but these guys are too busy. Ditto Christie. He cant walk away from the fight like that. If you go through the candidates the Huckabees, Romneys, Pawlentys, Barbours everything points to Palin being the nominee. She's front and center in every fight. Her opinions on the issues matter. Only Rush matters more. Does she have any executive ability? That's a scary question when you consider the current White House zero.

Posted by: skep41 | December 1, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

skep4:

Sorry, but absolutely nothing points toward her being the nominee, except a serious economic downturn that would invite in a demagogic candidate.

The Republican establishment emphatically does not want her and she won't control any of the party machinery or have anyone in key spots.

Being front and center is exactly the wrong strategy as Hillary found out.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 1, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

funfb wrote:

"Let me get this straight: being a two-time incumbent slayer in a state with one of the highest percentages of independent voters has no national implications whatsoever? If you say so."

No Alaskan politics has never held any kind of political influence upon the rest of America. She didn't even serve two terms, quitting on the peopl who voted for her, and yes, quitting will be a HUGE issue if she ever were to run.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 1, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

What about the columnist who uses the Palin name and then pretty much says nothing new (to be charitable)?

Posted by: Pugetkid | December 1, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

"quitting will be a HUGE issue if she ever were to run"

Hmmm... I doubt it. After all, nobody cared a peep when Obama quit the Senate 146 days in to begin his full-time, 7-day-a-week campaign for the presidency. And he stayed on the public dime throughout the remainder of his Senate "career", voting "present" or whatever the mood dictated. Wasting taxpayer dollars, and wasting the Senate's time.

Contrast with Palin, who resigned to save herself from going bankrupt fighting phony ethics charges drummed up by hateful Democrats, as well as to save the state of Alaska the money paying off a lame duck governor and to save the time her staff would have wasted fighting ethics charges. She left the office in good hands with her lieutenant governor who mirrored her policies. Commendable. How many other politicians have put their constituents ahead of their own careers? That's right - a big fat NONE.

Posted by: QuineGeology | December 1, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Krugman admitted the other day that death panels are one of two components needed to save the health care system. I guess he's an extremist, too? When will the hacks on the left start CREDITING Palin for being the first to make an issue of it? It's now part of the left's narrative, thanks to their intellectual leader, Krugman.

Posted by: GregBuls1 | December 1, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Folks are sick of the Washing Ruling Class - we need someone who didn't go to Harvard and grew up with the Ruling Class mentality.

We also need someone who has some guts - someone who can talk without a Teleprompter.

The Libs hate Sarah because they are scared out of their whits - someone not in the Ruling Class makes all of them look like dunderheads.

Posted by: PerryM1 | December 1, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh - puleeze...

We all know what Sarah Palin isn't about, isn't up to, isn't capable of...

What we don't know is whether her devoted followers have any discretion at all.

So far, they don't.

The whole kit and kabootle seem 'ell bent for leather to elect a bimbo to be the leader of the free world.

Posted by: dutchess2 | December 1, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

“By attacking the democratically elected President of the United States of America at a sensitive time in her country’s history, she shows the tact of a boorish drunkard bawling obscenities at a funeral….

If anything is a threat to the national security of the United States of America, it is this screaming, unrefined oaf with as much class as a searing release of flatulence followed by hysterical giggling at a state banquet. Is this what the people of the USA deserve?

And those, my friends, are not the actions of a patriot. True Glasnost has arrived when the International Press says what the American Press will not. Sarah Palin is no patriot.

http://www.politicususa.com/en/foreign-sarah-palin-traitor

Posted by: dutchess2 | December 1, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

The media has successfully assassinated her character, and have united the idiots of the country in a cacophonous, never-ending howl of mocking derision. They aim to use this straw-character they have invented in the collective conscious of these morons, as a sacrifice to their child-king in the next election.
The GOP doesn't have the spine to defend it's own positions, much less to defend the few who do have the spine.
It's one of the reasons they are likely to become a permanent minority third party.


Posted by: MrMeaner | December 2, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

From the looks of your writings it didn't take much for you to sell your soul, Ms. Rubin.

We had a bet going on how long it would take you to present your first hit piece for Journolist.

Another azz kisser and another failure.

It is to late. It is what it is. Deal with it.

Posted by: Truth35 | December 2, 2010 12:57 AM | Report abuse

dutchess2, Are you drunk? Obama is a stupid clueless phoney but in the WH by a corrupt MSM.

The man is a train-wreck.

The spookydude probably punched the manchild in the mouth.

Posted by: Truth35 | December 2, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Her photographic memory and uncanny ability to multitask make her one of the most gifted leaders we have seen in many years.
Posted by: tkmmd
====================
Oh God, here we go again. Partisans continue to try and build up their fave as a Mental Giant. We got that with Algore, Kerry, Obama the smartest guy in any room he walks into despite no LSAT, SAT, or school grade records released. We had Hillary and Michelle Obama as the "most brilliant lawyers of their generations"
despite 3 failed Bar exams between the two of them.

Truly brilliant politicians are rare (see Nixon, Hoover, Jefferson, Bill Clinton, Bobby Jindal). But Sarah Palin, the Goddess of middle age right wing males - is not among them.

Her photographic memory? Uncanny ability to multitask? Gifted?
So much on display when it took her 7 years to get a 4-year degree in sports broadcasting as a communications major??

I mean, that is what the Div 1-A schools promise football jocks. "Look, just play ball and show up for classes. You can leave here with a communications degree. It don't matter if you can't read so well - you can talk and see enough words you can understand in the teleprompter to get by in your sports commentator job after your playing days are over."

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | December 2, 2010 6:04 AM | Report abuse

Where is it written that you have to be some sort of career politician to be POTUS? Plenty of career politicians have been POTUS and have botched the job at some point (many made botching a hobby). Palin is as suited to be POTUS as anybody. At least she has a realistic view of how things are compared to Obama's ivory league tinged outlook on the great unwashed masses that were suckers enough to vote for him. Is she another Reagan? Maybe, maybe not. Remember Reagan was "feared" by the Republican elite as too extreme, too conservative, and too Hollywood. At least the American public knew and recognized him for what he actually was and what he stood for. Don't be surprized if the voters make a similar choice in 2012.

Posted by: PTParks | December 2, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin should probably not be the Republican presidential nominee in 2012. But why is there so much focus on her qualifications? Barack Obama is a poorly read and intellectually shallow man with even a slimmer legislative record. It is amazing how few people feel comfortable talking about Obama's inadequacies. Palin is an intellectual giant next to him.

Posted by: DavidThomson | December 2, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin should probably not be the Republican presidential nominee in 2012. But why is there so much focus on her qualifications? Barack Obama is a poorly read and intellectually shallow man with even a slimmer legislative record. It is amazing how few people feel comfortable talking about Obama's inadequacies. Palin is an intellectual giant next to him.

Posted by: DavidThomson | December 2, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Did it ever occur to you, Jenn, that the reason she’s the frontrunner is BECAUSE she’s rallying the base, going after the Obama Administration’s failed policies, and holding the drive-bys accountable for their partisanship, hypocrisy, and general laziness?

Maybe if one of the other so-called contenders would get off their lazy behinds and do what she’s doing(Newt and Pawlenty are the only others who are even trying), they’d achieve frontrunner status themselves.

Oh, and for those Palin bashers who think she'd guarantee Obama a second term, stop deluding yourselves. Take a look at the electoral map. Right now, he'd be very hard-pressed to beat any GOP nominee. Odds are he ain't winning Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Indiana, and North Carolina again. All that's left is for Palin or any other Republican to pick off one of the 2004 Bush states and they've reached 270.

Posted by: Adam_ME | December 2, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin is a great advocate for the Republican Party. Yes, she has spunk! Yes, she is fearless. But, she is NOT presidential material nor would she get elected. If she runs, it will be a colossal train wreck for the Republicans. We will lose voters on every level and Obama would win.

Posted by: magsthecat1 | December 2, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I, personally, love it. 96% of the progressive/uberleft media establishment is praying for her candidacy...hoping to hang her like they have with others in the past. I can't wait for the final death throe of the talking heads of ABC/CBS/NBC/PBS and most newspapers and their staffs. I hope she waits for a few years when her knowledge increases...look out then, whoever you are!!

Posted by: sharinlite | December 2, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin....living rent free inside of liberals and establishment politicians for over two years.

Posted by: feman185 | December 2, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

She won't run, but she will tease everyone until the last second, and campaign tirelessly (for a high price) for whoever gets the nod from the GOP. She will do NOTHING to tarnish her solid gold knack for raking in wing-nut dollars by the bucketful. She is the goose that lays the Golden GOP Eggs and she will milk her political celebrity for all it is worth.

Posted by: mnbucklew | December 2, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Just imagine the firestorm of negative attacks and carpet-bombing comedy jabs to be unleashed if Sarah Palin said this tomorrow:

I could be content with the adoring crowds, the bestselling books, the ideological media applauding my every move — or I could go for the presidency.

But wait – someone ALREADY said those egomaniacal words, in 2006. Guess who?

Posted by: dfoster1 | December 3, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

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