Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Palin and Polarization

You could tell that most people were a bit embarrassed when Sarah Palin accused President Obama of being too cosy with BP last weekend. Is she crazy? Don't Democrats hate the eevil oil corporations?

But after the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs patronizingly responded that Palin should "get slightly more informed as to what's going on in and around oil drilling in this country", the spunky Alaskan responded by Twitter.

"Obama is the top recipient of BP PAC & individual money over the past 20 years. Dispute these facts," she wrote, linking to a Politico article citing campaign finance reporting showing more than $3.5 million given to candidates by BP since 1990.

Ouch. Be careful Bob. Palin knows quite a lot about the energy issue.

Earth to Dems: Do not misunderestimate Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin might not yet be up to speed on the arcane details of foreign policy but she is a practical politician that knows how to frame an issue.

But will Palin turn out to be too polarizing to win in 2012? I listened to an east-coast gay tell how he "loathed" Sarah Palin--because of all the usual Democratic talking points, especially gay marriage.

You wonder whether the Democrats have managed to define Sarah Palin as so out of the mainstream to make it very difficult for moderate women to support her.

No doubt Palin would disagree. Her book Going Rogue went to great lengths to present her as a Common Sense Conservative. In her speeches since she has said "common-sense conservative" with practically every other sentence. She is obviously aiming for the center.

The danger for Democrats is that when the moderate women get to know Palin in the middle of 2012 they may discover that she is completely different from the image that Democrats have invented for her.

But still, Palin has a long uphill road to travel. Unlike a certain American politician who, despite a career as a left-liberal, presented himself to the American people in his immaculate conception at the Democratic Convention in 2004 as a healing moderate.

Who knows what will transpire? But we do know this. Sarah Palin sure has a way of putting herself in the middle of everything. She did it with her "death panels" remark on ObamaCare and now she is doing it with the gulf oil spill.

What issue will come next? Taxes? Supreme Court? Public Pensions?

Whatever it is, it will be timed to have the maximum impact.


  1. I'm sure many people, even some supporters, don't see her as "presidential" in her style. She's more of a firebrand. But perhaps that's just what is needed these days. More measured and thoughtful folks don't seem to generate the celebrity it takes to get recognized, especially by the old media (I hate granting them "mainstream"). Whatever her future, many of us like the "plain talk" that her running mate pretended to have.

  2. Don't blame me. I voted for the war hero and the beauty queen...