Michael Barone writes today that voters are expressing their frustration with the Obama administration but they aren't at all sure they can trust the Republicans as an alternative.
As William Galston points out in his New Republic blog, during Obama's presidency voters have been growing more conservative but remain disdainful of Republicans.
Now, supposing you were a politician wanting to take advantage of this situation. What would you do? Why, you'd probably endorse Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman in NY-23, as Sarah Palin has done. You'd say, on your Facebook page, that Doug Hoffman is a good conservative who stands for "smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty." You'd take the NY Republican Party to task for nominating a candidate so liberal that "there is no real difference between the Democrat and the Republican in this race." Then you'd finish with something like this:
Republicans and conservatives around the country are sending an important message to the Republican establishment in their outstanding grassroots support for Doug Hoffman: no more politics as usual.
A few weeks ago I wondered about the title of Palin's upcoming book: Going Rogue. Now I understand. Going rogue means running against the Republican establishment when running for Governor of Alaska. It means working around the Washington establishment and aiming for the sweet spot in the post-Obama electorate. It means not being a good follower but acting as an outsider willing to disturb the status quo and willing to risk the long shot.
A few weeks ago, when Palin ignited the "death panels" flap Pat Buchanan noted that Palin certainly knew how to frame an issue. It was the respect that one professional gives to another.
Liberals all think, after the 2008 campaign, that Palin is a lightweight.
But if there is one thing you should never do in politics, it is this: Never underestimate the opposition.