Sarah Palin is front and center (again), being featured in this weeks New York Times magazine as well as being the subject of the latest Frank Rich column. Rich does, as you might expect, beat her up, but he also lays out the case for a potential Palin victory in the Republican race for the presidential nomination.
But logic doesn’t apply to Palin. What might bring down other politicians only seems to make her stronger: the malapropisms and gaffes, the cut-and-run half-term governorship, family scandals, shameless lying and rapacious self-merchandising. In an angry time when America’s experts and elites all seem to have failed, her amateurism and liabilities are badges of honor. She has turned fallibility into a formula for success.
Republican leaders who want to stop her, and they are legion, are utterly baffled about how to do so. Democrats, who gloat that she’s the Republicans’ problem, may be humoring themselves. When Palin told Barbara Walters last week that she believed she could beat Barack Obama in 2012, it wasn’t an idle boast. Should Michael Bloomberg decide to spend billions on a quixotic run as a third-party spoiler, all bets on Obama are off.
The discussion on Morning Joe seems to get a few talking heads into the position of agreeing with the Rich assessment. This woman is the real deal in many critical political respects, and underestimating her ability to show real strength with key Republican constituencies is a big mistake. If she runs she will wreak havoc with the Republicans. Her dismissive attitude towards the “old boy” network means that the Republicans run the risk of alienating a key part of their base if that base feels she hasn’t been treated fairly. If she runs it will be a real wild ride, although I still am of the belief that she cannot win the Republican nomination. But by goodness she will make it interesting.