Posted by Brad @ 11:01 pm on July 22nd 2008

Sarah Palin for VP Watch

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… scandal!

At issue: the Republican legislator is opening an inquiry into whether or not Palin had her sister’s soon to be ex-husband, a state trooper, fired.

Lots of talk today among legislators about investigating whether fired public safety commissioner Walt Monegan was pressured by the Palin administration to get rid of trooper Mike Wooten, who was in a messy divorce with Palin’s sister.

Senate Judiciary chairman Hollis French said he spoke over the weekend …

Comment by Cameron: … must the decent VP candidates be so tainted? Please …

Permalink: /2008/07/22/sarah-palin-for-vp-watch/

Posted by Brad @ 5:20 pm on July 21st 2008

Palin for VP Watch

Meanwhile, while nobody’s really paying attention, Obama has closed to a few points of McCain in Alaska.

John McCain still has a very modest lead over Barack Obama in Alaska, but the traditionally Republican state still remains surprisingly competitive. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey has found that McCain now leads Obama 45% to 41%

This is the third straight poll showing Obama within single digits of the presumptive GOP nominee. A month ago, McCain was up by nine. Two months ago, it was McCain by nine.

McCain is supported by 78% of Republican voters while Obama attracts 74% of Democratic voters. Among those not affiliated with either major party, it’s Obama 48% McCain 33%. A month ago, Obama attracted 47% of unaffiliateds while McCain was supported by 41%.

McCain is viewed favorably by 57% of Alaska voters, Obama by 53%. Both figures are up a point over the past month.

Bush beat Kerry in Alaska 61% to 35% in 2004. He won it by 31 points in 2000.

What’s more, they’re on track to lose what has been a very safe Senate seat.

A new Rasmussen poll of Alaska has some big news: Democratic candidate for Senate Mark Begich now leads long-time incumbent Republican Ted Stevens by a margin of 52%-44%, in a deep-red state that hasn’t sent a Dem to Congress since 1974.

Stevens is the longest serving Republican in the Senate.

Think this helps the case for Sarah Palin for VP?

Posted by Brad @ 5:30 pm on June 28th 2008

Sarah Palin for VP

Michael Tanner at Cato has written a piece taking aim at McCain VP shortlister Tim Pawlenty, on the grounds that his record as Governor has been pretty far from small-l libertarian, more in line with a mainstream Northeastern Democrat then anything that could reasonably be described as small government conservative. I don’t find the piece very persuasive—it seems pretty run-of-the-mill stuff for a popular Republican governor of a blue state, and most of it is “under his watch” stuff more then things he actively pushed—but it’s getting some play, and I do think it adds to the impression that Pawlenty, who most consider the most likely VP nominee, is a fairly uninspired choice. Perfectly passable, of course, but given that even his geographic pull might not bring his state with him, exactly nobody seems exciting about the possibility of Pawlenty (though nobody, Tanner aside, would seem to fault McCain much for the choice). The Wall Street Journal did a more thorough profile of Pawlenty here.

Add to this the fact that Huckabee is doing his own thing, Bobby Jindal is looking crazier and crazier (and crazier), Charlie Crist is still gay, Carly Fiorina‘s trial balloon never really took off, and nobody else obvious is coming to the top, some of the choices like perpetual VP-leg-humper Mitt Romney and Mark Sanford are probably seeing their stock rising (Sanford I think ought to also be looking better, if he’s under consideration at all, given Obama’s threatening strength in the South).

I’ll go on record with this though: the best possible person McCain could choose to balance out his ticket is Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. If he really wanted to take a bold swipe at Obama, he ought to not just choose her, but choose her before Obama names his VP—sooner rather then later. Choosing Palin automatically generates incredible buzz, gets McCain on top of several newscycles (and he could use more then a few weeks of steering the news coverage, lest he gets lost in the shuffle and Obama’s bounce keeps growing and calcifying), generates a honeymoon media tour of the very media-lovable Palin, and what’s more, puts Obama on the defensive and in some important ways starts to force his hand a bit on his own VP selection. What’s more, she passes the test of a very strong future Republican nominee, whether McCain wins or loses, who will please a lot of conservative voters who otherwise might not be thrilled with a McCain candidacy (and also make sure Alaska stays red; there is at least some chance that Barr turns it blue this year). The more I think about it, the more I think McCain would be nuts to not go for Palin. (Ed Morissey concurs).

Posted by Brad @ 2:00 pm on October 24th 2008

Was Palin a Defensible VP Pick?

I’ve gone out on a lot of limbs this cycle, and I have to toot my own horn and say I’ve been right more than I’ve been wrong (I’m willing to toot that horn because it is not always or even mostly the case). But one of the things I keep mulling over was my endorsement of Sarah Palin for VP. Looking around the field of potential short listers or dark horses in June, when I made that endorsement, she really seemed a potentially electrifying, ship-righting sort of pick. Of course, that comes with a few very critical caveats. I didn’t have any opportunity to vet her, and my endorsement presupposed she would pass. But mostly, I endorsed her as part of a pretty particular strategy, and a pretty particular way of utilizing her. And from day one, I’ve been vaguely horrified at how both the campaign managed her (or, more to the point, didn’t), and how severe the blowback against her was (though I’m pretty philosophical on that, and deem it, ultimately, to be as much a function of that mismanagement as anything).

But even I have to admit that I don’t deem Sarah Palin to be qualified to President, and by extension Vice President. I, like most, have been amazed at the whole not-ready-for-prime-time nature of her. And more than that, I would have hoped she would have been primarily used as a libertarian populist sort of candidate, whereas she has instead become the glamour candidate, the low blow candidate, and the anti-intellectual social conservative candidate. Her pick, despite my endorsement, made me less likely to vote for McCain (for the record, my esteem of the Biden pick, which I also endorsed, has only grown). And I think it goes without saying by now that Palin, in an objective sense, has proven to be a bad pick. Hindsight and counter-factuals are 20/20, of course, but I can’t shake the idea that the race would be a lot less cartoonish—and probably a lot more living up to its billing as “the best foots forward”—with a Pawlenty or even a Lieberman pick (where McCain proved decidedly unmaverick in clearly being pushed off his far-and-away #1 choice).

All that said, it’s with mild interest that I read the “in the know” blogs at present, and am beginning to pick up the rumblings of firing squads forming in insider GOP circles. Palin herself is subtly going off the farm a bit, and some insiders (and McCain staffers) are apparantly of the opinion that she’s starting to swing the knife back at McCain a bit, setting herself up for 2012.

Marc Ambinder has a great bit of insider ear-to-the-cattle-trail reporting on this subject, and others related. But, by way of stepping on my mea culpa, I think this bit remains true:

A Sunday morning quarterback still makes a persuasive argument for picking Palin. In this environment, the Republican candidate could only win if he consolidates his base and wins a majority of persuadable votes; the Democrat simply has to turn out Democrats. Though McCain at one point wanted to pick Joe Lieberman, he’d have cut a leg from the stool and replaced it with one that, aside from his party affiliation — independent Democrat — has no real appeal among independents anymore. One step backward and no steps forward. By the time the news began to leak out that McCain wanted Lieberman, the trail balloon was also leaky. Republican delegations made it clear that they’d walk out on McCain. We still don’t know why McCain decided that the risk wasn’t worth taking — that’s for another Draper piece — but we know that he suddenly shifted back to someone who had impressed him early on, someone who, at the time, could check the two boxes: excite Republicans and convert independents and persuadables.

Whether the vetting was complete or rushed, whether Palin and her advisers were completely forthcoming about her record…. again, wait for the Draper piece. The point here is that the choice was defensible.

The nature of risks is that they’re risky. I think the Palin pick was a smart play, that has gone horribly, horribly wrong pretty much across the board, save the notable exception that it did indeed prove electrifying and base-consolidating, though even that effect appears to be wearing off. Still, I can’t help but feel a bit of shame that I advocated for her, only to see the Frankenstein monster created out of her on the campaign trail. It’s not been as big a disappointment for me as the larger McCain campaign has been, but it’s up there. “She coulda been something…”

Oh well. There’s always Mark Sanford.

Posted by Brad @ 8:53 pm on October 2nd 2008

Palin-Biden VP Debate Liveblog

I can’t remember a VP debate with this much buzz going in.

As per someone or other’s suggestion, try to make your first post about who you are. Just a sentence or two, on where you’re coming from going in.


Posted by Rojas @ 9:04 pm on October 11th 2012

VP Debate bloggish-ness

Herein. Not sure how much I will want to say; gonna try to get the vive, like an idiot undecided voter should. Both of these two are pretty strong debaters, based on what I’ve seen from them.

Posted by Brad @ 3:40 am on July 6th 2012

Kelly Ayotte for VP

Longtime readers will know that, when it comes to the Presidential election, I generally lean away from pundit-style hedging, instead preferring to force myself to make concrete, falsifiable prediction. Mostly I do that as an exercise – it’s very easy to say, for instance, “Obama might do this, but he also has to consider that”, but it’s also not entirely useful, because in the real world he has to do one or the other, and so he and has team have to push themselves off the fence eventually. And, if you can’t go through the mental exercise of pushing yourself off that same fence, you are essentially creating a line for your own thinking that you’ll go up to but not cross. But what’s interesting in things like the Veepstakes is the thinking that actually makes you cross the line. To actually run through the same kind of thinking a campaign has to, and to put yourself on the line in actually coming down somewhere, really does entail a different kind of thinking than just outlining options, and when you do it, you find that some assumptions you had coming in don’t follow through all the way.

That’s a bit esoteric and self-rationalizing, I guess, but in addition to just being a parlor game enthusiast, I do also find some value to actually putting money on the line, as it were. Besides, I assume it’s more interesting to readers, because hey, when I’m wrong, you can encase that in amber and hold it against me forever.

So generally every campaign cycle, I try to predict the primaries, including order of finish, general election results state-by-state, and throwing down in the Veepstakes by putting out a single name that, according to the logic (real and imagined) of the campaign, makes the most sense. It’s kind of a half endorsement, half prediction. The endorsement part isn’t in the sense that I think Person X would be the best Vice President (which I don’t really go into), but that, if you follow the campaign’s logic/needs, Person X represents the best possible choice, as determined at the time.


In the 2008 campaign, I actually nailed it. I was one of only maybe three or four people to accurately predict Sarah Palin for VP, in June (the campaign announced her at the end of August). I also called Joe Biden for VP for Obama that July, when most people were assuming it was Kaine, Sebelius, Bayh, or Clinton (a month later, Biden was announced). That same year, I correctly predicted the finish of both the Democratic and Republican primary a few weeks before Iowa – which was a LOT less clear at the time than it is in retrospect. And while some could quibble with my Romney-Huckabee back and forth, I think it stands up damn well (to be fair, we did a lot of cattle calls, and the last one we did before voting began (linked) was the only one that that’s true for).


So, I’ve found actually going through the entire exercise gets you closer to the real result than just putting up if/thens or hedges you can point to later to avoid being called out on being wrong (we can discuss the validity of my Palin choice separately, if you like). Weirdly, I also think it’s a more interesting / deeper way of talking about the election than just shallow day-to-day observations.

ALL THAT SAID, while we here at TheCrossedPond have been relatively lax in our 2012 campaign coverage (due to cynical disinterest), I want to throw down on this one. So, below the fold, is my thought exercise leading to one name for a potential Mitt Romney VP pick – junior New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte.


Posted by Brad @ 12:48 pm on January 18th 2012

Sarah Palin Endorse Newt Gingrich Kind of

And nobody cares.

I have to admit, as an evangelist of Sarah Palin’s lack of party influence and relative unimportance in national politics (pushing back against the Andrew Sullivananian idea that “OMG the Republicans are the party of Palin and she rules 40% of the electorate in this country and is the leader of the Tea Party movement!”), even I’ve been pretty surprised as just HOW unimportant she actually is. I predicated, in making the case in 2010 that there’s no way she would run for President (still waiting for Sullivan’s mea culpa on that one), that she would instead lord her endorsement over the candidates and her involvement in the campaign would win up being a month of Sarah Palin – kingmaker.

Nope. It really does look like Sarah Palin’s 15 minutes of fame – certainly as a political figure, but now even as a tabloid/media figure – is pretty much up. Thank God.

Posted by Rojas @ 9:26 pm on January 11th 2012

The overwhelmingly obvious Republican VP choice…

…is Senator Rand Paul.

At a stroke, Romney ensures the full support of the Paulites, who would otherwise overwhelmingly defect to Gary Johnson in November; indeed, he likely cements them to the Republican Party for a generation. He brings any possibility of a third-party campaign by Ron Paul to a screeching, immediate halt, and resolves any possible convention dispute by giving Ron Paul a Thursday night speech in which he introduces his son–a platform on which Ron will promote the ticket rather than his own pet causes. He enhances his candidacy in an otherwise loseable state and region and bucks up otherwise questionable support among independent libertarian centrists AND tea partiers.

Meanwhile, he adds to the ticket a candidate with much of the appeal of Ron Paul but none of the baggage, racist or otherwise. Rand Paul is a critic of defense spending but otherwise very much on the wagon with the party on foreign policy. On domestic policy his views on the drug war might be fractious but his credentials on federal spending and against Obamacare are unmatched.

Finally, if the ticket wins, the vacated Kentucky Senate seat is very winnable for the GOP.

What’s not to like?

Posted by Brad @ 10:34 am on December 8th 2011

Sarah Palin to Join Long List of Wannabe-But-Not Republican Party Figureheads

For the record, I predicted this all along:

Sarah Palin told Fox Business Network today that she will not be endorsing a candidate in the next few weeks.

“Not before Iowa,” Palin said, in an interview set to air at 10 p.m. EST on FBN. “And Iowa’s not the end of the road. It’s the beginning of the road really. Newt Gingrich, I believe, has risen in the polls because he has been a bit more successful than Romney in reaching out to that base of constitutional conservatives who are part of the tea party movement. He hasn’t been afraid of that movement. He has been engaged in that movement most recently in order for them to hear his solutions and there’s been some forgiveness then on the part of Tea Party Patriots for some of the things in Gingrich’s past.”

“Romney and others need to reach out and convince Tea Party Patriots and constitutional conservatives that he truly believes in smaller, smarter government,” she added.

She said she was “most interested” in seeing in who Ron Paul, if he does not win the nomination, endorses, citing his strong record on “domestic spending issues.”

A letter to Andrew Sullivan:

At some point I look forward to a post from you about how irrelevant Sarah Palin has been since her brief media boomlet in 2009. Seriously, has there been a less influential major Republican figure? Both Donald Trump and Ron Paul have been more important figures than she. Not only is she not a a candidate – as we all told you she wouldn’t be – but she’s not even a player. I expect that will change, briefly, during the downtime before Super Tuesday when it’s a slow news cycle and she tries to fill it by lording over her endorsement, but at the end of the day your critics were right and you were wrong: Sarah Palin didn’t merit the level of attention you were directing at her. America at large had moved on from her a long time ago. Besides herself, the only person keeping her in the spotlight – was you.

In the moment, it’s easy to get caught up in the “Republicans have lost their minds!” hysteria. This race, and party, has seen a lot of charlatans that absolutely merit alarm. And it’s justified to point that out. But when you pull back the camera, you notice that those charlatans appear to have been largely over-hyped and over-represented not by the GOP, but by the media (and by critics of the GOP, rather than the GOP itself). They all went precisely nowhere and never actually had voter support, and faded just as quickly as they had come. Sarah Palin. Donald Trump. Michelle Bachmann. Rick Perry. These were all the “OMG LOOK WHO THE REPUBLICANS ARE NOW FLOCKING TOO!” figures of 2011 – and yet it turns out every single one of them were paper mache, with no real support to speak of. The last holdout is Newt Gingrich – who while certainly extreme, is of a different order than the Bachmanns and Palins and Trumps of the world. And I expect him to flame out too.

Republican voters passed on every single one of them, for the same reasons you or I would have. And if the race, as I expect, comes down to a Romney victory with a Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and John Huntsman showing, isn’t it about time somebody, somewhere, starts giving the Republican electorate a little bit of credit? Maybe, just maybe, they’re NOT a pack of foaming-at-the-mouth lunatics looking for the most extreme idiot in the room to put on a pedestal as their standard-bearer.

Just a thought.


Posted by Brad @ 3:00 pm on January 12th 2011

The Palin Boomlet Contracts a Little

While I think most reasonable people agree that Sarah Palin’s role in the Tuscon tragedy is pretty cosmically minute, it nevertheless begs questions enough to force her to respond. And respond she has, in a way that will satisfy probably no one except maybe the most blinkered, most paranoid, most hyper-polarized conservatives (which is to say, her base). While I’ve made it clear that I think the Tuscon tragedy, and the nature of our political rhetoric, are two entirely, entirely separate issues that should not be conflated, I do have to at least throw in with Andrew Sullivan on this one.

Just the sheer “I’m the victim here!” staggeringly self-centered tone of her response, combined with its massive hypocrisy and nearly complete lack of self-awareness, is rather startling. To say that rhetoric can’t incite violence, and then in the next statement say that blaming people for their rhetoric might incite them to violence…to say that you can’t hold anybody but the terrorist responsible, from Sarah “Obama pals around with terrorists / 911 mosque! / death panels!” Palin who has never, ever extended any other community that same courtesy…to un-ironically invoke the phrase “blood libel” in reference to the mainstream media’s coverage of conservatism…and all this while cocooned behind stilted language and idiotic and over-reaching tropes, just makes the whole thing come off badly. I even imagine many of her supporters are cringing a little.

This was not hard. You give a genuine statement of shock and compassion, lay off the victim and score-settling card for one friggin’ week, and make some empty pledge about political rhetoric, and you’re out of there. Palin, instead, throws the Vimeo equivalent of a nonsensical hissy fit and pretty much leads with her persecution complex. It’s on par with her press conference announcing her resignation (which was nearly as rambling and hard-to-follow as Laughner’s YouTube videos). I agree with Nick Gillespie that she can’t even meet the already very low bar of “seeming presidential” at what might be a very critical moment in her public life. Instead she manages to come off even more shallow, lost, and disproportionately petulant than she normally does. I very much shy away from assumptions about a public figure’s intelligence, but this pretty much cements for me the assumption that she’s just not a terribly bright person, and has surrounded herself with like confidants.

Posted by Brad @ 3:51 pm on August 26th 2010

Sarah Palin: Kingmaker

Good post from Talking Points Memo on the sheer power that Sarah Palin is beginning to wield in GOP primaries. It is not that she can simply swoop in and declare anybody she likes the winner – her win % is good, but not phenomenal. But likewise, she isn’t just picking winners, and her winning percentage is good despite picking some pretty dark horses. But the key is that her endorsement has shown an enormous power to transform races, in a way almost unique in the recent history of political endorsements (normally a fairly flaccid business). She almost overnight brings in a swoon of national media attention, a sudden powerfully strong brand loyalty that she can practically merely anoint people with, and immediately puts who she doesn’t endorse in an incredibly uncomfortable defensive position that has them not just having to push back against Palin and her brigades but, in a sense, the larger energy and ranks of the grassroots right—never a good thing to suddenly have to do a week before a Republican election.

I have guffawed at claims to Palin’s political importance before, but she really is starting to turn into an enormously interesting and influential figure on the right. And I’m further beholden in my belief that she will, in fact, sit out the 2012 race. Better to be the Queen than the Prime Minister. Why have to get on the record and do hostile interviews and debates and be considered for your governing potential, when instead she can sit out, have the entire political and media landscape hang on her every tweet, and be the most coveted potential endorsement – and most potentially fatal non-endorsement – since…I don’t know when. Can you imagine the level of prostration Romney, Pawlenty, Huckabee, Gingrich, et al will go to to woo her? More to the point, is there any more surefire way to advance her brand, clout, and earning potential—all while entirely and eternally insulating her? In some ways, it would be BETTER if Palin ran in 2012…then people will have to run against her. Not if she sits out and plays the game the way she’s been playing…then they have to run for, and to, her. If you’re a relatively vapid but media savvy egomaniac who who loves the spotlight of politics but hates the pressure of, you know, governing, or knowing anything about policy, which would you choose? I don’t think it’s even close.

Posted by Brad @ 10:13 am on June 17th 2010

Two Great Sarah Palin Interviews

My relationship to Sarah Palin is sort of weird, at this point. I was one of quite literally the first, say, dozen people trumpeting her as a possible VP pick for McCain. When that pick actually materialized (despite predicting it, even I was pretty surprised), I was aghast at the fierce and seemingly knee-jerk backlash against her, and frankly rooting for her to bloody some noses, which she then did in her convention speech and VP debate. But once the novelty had worn off and the spotlight was trained on her, it became not very hard to see both the massive cracks in the edifice, and also to watch as she adapted to the media spotlight and overcompensated for her glaring weaknesses by carving out a new niche for herself and refashioning herself from an executive (where she’d have to defend her record, have ideas moving forward, and, like, know stuff) to a media figurehead, an Oprah for the tribally right-wing set. By the end of the election I, like most people, just wanted her to go away.

Which is where I’ve been ever since, and as she dropped out of the Alaska governorship for reasons that still nobody has nailed her on (that was the biggest load of bullshit I think I’ve ever seen, her press conference), and her family pyschodrama played out, and she started her publicity tours and whatnot, I’ve pretty much been with everybody else in just really, really disliking her and, again, wanting her to go away.

Lately though, she’s jumped the shark for me in the way that people who are so brazenly idiotic do, wherein, after awhile, it almost starts to become endearing. Call it the Rod Blagojevich syndrome. She’s managed to carve out an almost perfect niche for herself as somebody who is not expected to know anything about politics or policy and yet whose transparently vapid pronouncements are hung on by voters, journalists, and all her fans. That she’s also become an endorsement-machine, and one that dances only to the beat of her sometimes fairly arbitrary drum, is also something I’ve taken to. And nobody walks the line between personality politics, shallow punditry, and tabloid celebrityism, quite like she does. Don’t get me wrong, those are all bad things, but that she kind of perfectly encapsulates all of it at once is a pretty neat trick (and probably says worse things about us than it does about her).

So, that’s my brief thinking on Palin of late. What spurred that were two interviews with her, the first in a long time I found worth watching.

Number One, here is Bill O’Reilly giving her both a fairly softball interview, but one in which he’s just pushy enough (or rather, not deferential enough) to give her trouble. This isn’t her being grilled on policy specifics so much as facing an interview that’s taking what she’s saying at face value and going “what the fuck are you talking about?”

It also includes an excellent Quote of the Day.

O’REILLY: Obama obviously doesn’t know how to stop the leak. Do you know how to stop it?

PALIN: Well, then what the federal government should have done was accept the assistance of foreign countries, of entrepreneurial Americans who have had solutions —


PALIN: — that they wanted presented.


PALIN: They can’t even get a phone call returned, Bill. The Dutch. They are known in the Norwegian. They are known for — for dikes and for cleaning up water and for dealing with spills.

This is, I think, a nice portend for why I don’t believe she’ll run for President. Why should she? She’s got everything she wants right now, and the second she declares as a candidate this, rather than her current charmed life, becomes the norm. She has precisely no interest in governing, and has no specific policy agenda as near as I can figure. Why run for President when you can instead sit on the sidelines as Kingmaker and simultaneously avoid having to, like, know stuff.

But the second is a fascinating discussion, moderated by Judge Andrew Napolitano, in which the de facto figureheads of the two dominant strains of the tea party—Ron Paul and Sarah Palin—are asked specifically about the issues that presumably divide them—foreign engagement, support of Israel, legalization of marijuana, etc. And what’s fascinating about it is, while she is indeed on a Paul-sympathetic program, how she’s not particularly afraid to be deferential on most of it (for instance, on sort-of granting that the American empire is making us broke, on her utter lack of enthusiasm for the police placing too high a priority on pot busts, etc.). Both Paul and Palin are giving each other fairly wide berth and respect here, which is interesting, because it indicates A. Paul sees Palin as somebody it’s probably worthwhile to be nice to (a sign that even he isn’t tone-deaf to political considerations and, as Rojas often talks about, accepting somebody at the table if they’re willing to let you have your say), and B. More amazingly, Palin sees Paul in the same light. If anybody should be hostile to libertarianism, it’s the Palin wing of right wing activism. And yet, just watch, and see who is deferring to whose worldview here.

I don’t believe that Sarah Palin will run for President. But it is interesting that, unlike Rudy Giuliani or other 00-decade figures, Palin sees a vested value in libertarianism and keeping those lines open (she was, remember, the first major figure to endorse Rand Paul). I don’t begrudge anybody who hates Sarah Palin, and truth is she would be about the worst President of any major American political figure that I can think of, and I loathe to think of what the ’12 race would be like were she in the mix, and would not look forward to suffering it. But at the same time, if you are working in right-wing activism, she’s unavoidable. And while some will see any “playing nice” with her to be verboten or a stab in the back (liberaltarians, for instance), for me it’s sort of a fascinating marriage of convenience, and one worth watching).

Posted by Brad @ 12:13 pm on April 19th 2010

The Two Camps of the Tea Party: Paulites and Palinites

The Politico exit poll of the April 15th Tea Party protests in D.C. roughly match my own impressions of the movement, as I’ve been sketching out here the last few weeks.

The results, however, suggest a distinct fault line that runs through the tea party activist base, characterized by two wings led by the politicians who ranked highest when respondents were asked who “best exemplifies the goals of the tea party movement” — former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a former GOP presidential candidate.

Palin, who topped the list with 15 percent, speaks for the 43 percent of those polled expressing the distinctly conservative view that government does too much, while also saying that it needs to promote traditional values.

Paul’s thinking is reflected by an almost identical 42 percent who said government does too much but should not try to promote any particular set of values — the hallmarks of libertarians. He came in second to Palin with 12 percent.

When asked to choose from a list of candidates for president in 2012, Palin and Paul also finished one-two — with Palin at 15 percent and Paul at 14 percent.

Interestingly, Tea Partiers track much less socially conservative than regular Republican voters. According to a different poll, 3/5s favor legal recognition of same-sex marriages, for instance (more great findings from that poll (NYT/CBS) can be found here). Also interesting: Ron Paul gets a 50% favorability rating from this crowd, beating Sarah Palin by 10. The only figure more popular than Ron Paul with the Tea Party crowd is Glenn Beck.

Posted by Brad @ 4:15 pm on April 5th 2010

Sarah Palin and Marijuana

Tip of the cap for this stunt:

Tomorrow, at Caesar’s Palace, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin will deliver the keynote address at the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America’s national convention. Immediately following that speech, Dave Schwartz, the campaign manager for Nevadans for Sensible Marijuana Laws (NSML), will offer Palin $25,000 to deliver a similar address to supporters of a regulated marijuana market in this country.

In exchange for the $25,000, Palin will be asked to speak at one of NSML’s upcoming events, acknowledge the fact that marijuana is just as legitimate a recreational substance as the substance she is talking about at the WSWA convention (in fact, it is objectively much safer), and endorse taxing and regulating marijuana in Nevada and throughout the U.S.

Posted by Brad @ 3:05 pm on February 19th 2010

Sarah Palin Smackdown

Family Guy aired an episode in which Chris goes on a date with a girl with Down’s Syndrome. One of the throwaway lines was in response to Chris asking “tell me about yourself,” and the girl, in describing her family, saying “…and my mom was the former Governor of Alaska.”

Since Sarah Palin has suddenly become the arbiter of special needs PCism, both she and Bristol (?) released statements calling the writers of Family Guy “heartless jerks”.

Well, the chick that did the voice for Chris’ date in that episode happens to be an actress with Down’s Syndrome, her name is Andrew Friedman, and she has a statement of her own.

My name is Andrea Fay Friedman. I was born with Down syndrome. I played the role of Ellen on the “Extra Large Medium” episode of Family Guy that was broadcast on Valentine’s day. I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor. I thought the line “I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska” was very funny. I think the word is “sarcasm”.

In my family we think laughing is good. My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life. My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes.


Posted by Adam @ 4:56 pm on February 1st 2010

It’s Palin for Paul!

Sarah Palin has come out in support of Rand Paul in the GOP primary for Kentucky Senate. His opponent’s campaign manager isn’t very impressed and is also a bit of a meanie:

Nate Hodson called the Paul campaign’s announcement “a release by a campaign that has demonstrated previously the ability to report things that are not true or half-truths.” Asked if the Grayson camp believed Paul was fabricating support for its candidate, Hodson replied: “It wouldn’t be the first time.”

If it’s true, he’s going to own the market in “activist crazy”.

Posted by Adam @ 5:20 pm on December 15th 2009

Shatner-Palin, Palin-Shatner

From last week but I had missed it as I was away. Shatner reads more Palin, then Palin reads some Shatner.

Posted by Brad @ 12:55 pm on November 13th 2009

Sarah Palin Names Names

Obligatory Going Rogue Post.

Excerpts from the book are trickling out, including an interesting segment wherein Palin names names of McCain campaign advisers who, according to her, held her back.

In the excerpt, Palin describes how the McCain campaign kept up a media blackout after she was named as the VP candidate, despite the criticisms of the press. When she was on a plane with reporters and wanted to talk to them, Palin says, the headquarters would say “block her if she tries to go back.”

And Palin says Nicolle Wallace, the McCain communications aide who became (so it’s been reported) an arch-nemesis of Palin within the campaign, worked hard to convince Palin to do her first sit-down interview with CBS’s Katie Couric, painting Couric as someone with “low self-esteem” who needed a career boost.

The full excerpt, in the link above, is sort of interesting, though obviously the picture it paints—poor serious Palin wanting to talk to places like the Wall Street Journal while advisers cloistered her in with the likes of Katie Couric—is obviously laughably one-sided. And, from earlier leaks from McCain campaign advisers, it was pretty clear that Palin had pretty bad media and political instincts and a phenomenal lack of awareness of her own limitations and weaknesses, so essentially when the campaign trumped her, it really was for her own good.

Still, they did botch her first month pretty spectacularly badly (convention aside), though letting her loose wouldn’t have been very good either. In any case, I feel really bad for McCain in all this. The sheer audacity for Palin, plucked from total obscurity into the national spotlight that she clearly revels in and bizarrely thinks she deserves, backbiting on the campaign for holding her back, must be a little much to take.

Posted by Brad @ 2:10 pm on July 9th 2009

Republicans Split on Sarah Palin

That’s not the headline you’ll most often find associated with the new Rasmussen and Gallup polls finding that Sarah Palin is still the second-most favored potential 2012 presidential candidate among members of the Republican base, such that they have any preference at all (an important caveat). But it’s the truth.

Believe it or not, there are still a few of us non culture warrior conservatives out there, and we still vote. Rasmussen, for instance, finds Mitt Romney leading the pack as the person Republicans would most like to see win the 2012 nomination, with 25%. Palin, alarmingly, comes in second with 24% (beating Huckabee and Gingrich and Barbour and Pawlenty, though I have to say I think the latter two lose on name ID (the most germane thing polls this far out are good for checking), and I can’t say I blame them on Gingrich’s poor showing)). What’s alarming is that, among those voters, Palin’s favorables have actually gone up since her resignation.

However, the flip side. Asked who they would least like to see win the nomination, about an equal number of Republicans also name Palin, who wins that particular metric with 21%.

The lesson?

It is silly for smart Republicans to dismiss Sarah Palin, much as we might want to, as not being representative of the party. Frankly, she is, to the extent anybody is. She remains very popular with a significant chunk of the GOP base, and of course as many reasonable and/or moderate Republicans bail on the party, that chunk of the base has only grown more significant (and thus Sarah Palin even more representative). This is why, dogged and overbearing as it is, the persistence of say an Andrew Sullivan on Palin is not misguided. She is not just a sideshow. She can stake as good a claim as a national Republican figurehead, in every sense of the word, as anybody.

But opinion on Palin, even among self-identified Republicans circa 2009 (a rare breed indeed), is not homogeneous by any means. And yes, Sullivan et al, there remain a significant of Republicans who are as horrified by the tabloid express as the rest of the country, and are saying so, and, presumably, will vote so, doing more to keep her out of power, arguably, than all the liberal teeth-gnashing will.

I think, ironically, that the most fair assessment of her prospects in this respect comes from Dailykos.

The good news for Republicans is that Palin’s negatives will make it very difficult for her to win their nomination. The consolation prize for Democrats is that her numbers are strong enough that she just might give it a try.

Posted by Brad @ 2:26 pm on July 8th 2009

The Curious Thinking of Sarah Palin

Not to crib Sullivan, but I think one illustrative thing that Sarah Palin said was about the ineffectiveness of lame ducks.

But, of course, to be thinking of herself as a lame duck is pretty weird. Not because she was only in her first term, but because, as Ed Rendell (lame duck governor of a State That Matters) points out, Alaska doesn’t have term limits.

The more the Palin thing festers, the more I believe there is no other shoe ready to drop. I think it’s mostly face value narcissism. She got a taste of The Good Life as a VP candidate and national figure, completely bought into her PR bullshit from Day One, and then had to return to Alaska to govern, and F that.

Posted by Brad @ 6:43 pm on July 3rd 2009

Sarah Palin – The Biggest Hissyfit Self-Martyrdom in Politics?

That’s pretty much my first impression. Sarah Palin will not just not run for reelection, she will actually resign in a few weeks, and precisely nobody seems to be real clear on why, including her.

Actually, my real first thought, and I know it’s a cliche saying, but I really mean it: what the fuck? Seriously, watch that video and try to put yourself in her head from the perspective of a rational human being. It is impossible. It is impossible.

Reactions here and here.

Bottom line: Andrew Sullivan appears to have been right. She may really just be nuts.

Or, maybe the leaks of the last week were portends of something bigger coming down the pipe. The Vanity Fair piece and the Steve Schmidt revelations, it was becoming clear that the Republican establishment, if not the foot soldiers, were really not looking forward to having to deal with her again. Maybe the insiders had a lot more on her than we know, and she got wind that she was in their crosshairs for real.

But it sounds from her presser like she may be resigning the governorship to…mount a run for the presidency.

Seriously. Cra-zeee.

Matt Cooper sums it up:

Okay, so why would Palin do this on a Friday before a holday, traditionally a day for dumping bad news? A couple of theories:

1. She has more bad news to report. There’s something going on with her family again. There’s more to come with the state’s finance. Whatever. There’s no good reason for her to suddenly up and quit the governorship, her one claim on elective experience.

2. She wants the money. Palin is probably turning down tons of lucrative speaking offers, corporate boards and others ways of getting righ while she bides her time waiting for the presidency. Maybe she just cant say no to the money any longer?

3. She’s totally impulsive. Assuming this wasn’t a well calculated, move maybe she’s just being utterly impulsive. She got sick of the job, sick of dealing with declining revenue, sick of having to stay close to Juneau and Wasilla when she really wants to be in Manchester and Des Moines.

Posted by Brad @ 3:02 pm on October 29th 2008

The Democrat’s Soft Touch on Sarah Palin

We said a lot here, in the first week following Sarah Palin’s unveiling as the Vice Presidential nominee, about the immediate onrush of over-reach hysteria from the left.

I think it’s worth revisiting how the Democrats have approached her in the two months since that week.

Xpostfactoid has a good post on the subject that reminded me. Namely, the Obama campaign, even in that first week, after the first six hours more or less went mum on the Palin subject. After about a week, almost all of his institutional campaign and surrogate machine followed suit. And since that time…well frankly, the Obama campaign has been about the least critical mouthpiece on the Palin question, following, in order, liberal blogs, mainstream media, conservative blogs, and now McCain insiders. Obama and (mostly) Biden and their surrogates and staffers…nary a word.

The post that got me reflecting on it:

Palin sinks under Obama’s light touch

The polling evidence is overwhelming that Sarah Palin is dragging McCain down. And the reason is simple. While Democratic news junkies may be convinced that she’s a Putinesque thug (see the Troopergate report), a quasi-fascist demagogue (whipping up mobs to violent fantasy) and a Christianist kook (accepting a laying on of hands from an avowed anti-semite to protect her from witchcraft), most Americans view her simply as likeable but unqualified…

If Obama were McCain, he would have hammered Palin’s unreadiness home–along with her sinister demagogic rhetoric–in speeches and ads. But the Obama campaign, and Obama himself, pretty much kept hands off. Obama’s only criticism of Palin that I can recall was in the third debate, embedded in his quasi-defense of John Lewis’ attack on the McCain campaign’s incendiary attacks…

Obama & co. let Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric and most of all Tina Fey do the necessary. They let the process work. Anyone who’s ever been unprepared for any test who saw the Couric clips knew that Palin was completely out of her depth. The Obama campaign simply left that image unfiltered.

The author notes that some, James Fallows (and myself) expressed at the time that just leaving it alone was the best way to handle it. Certainly, liberals in general have not “left it alone” by any stretch, but neither have regular American voters, the media, etc. The difference is the Obama campaign has pretty well cleaved itself from that, and precisely nobody can really attribute her current drag on the ticket or the image of her that has solidified being as a result of any concerted Obama effort. They stepped out of the national debate on it almost entirely, and the voters and media did the work (and the McCain campaign largely let them).

It was both the right thing to do and the politically wise thing to do. I said, pretty vocally at the time, that I was mightily disappointed by the left on the Palin thing.

Worth revisiting to note that it’s pretty hard to find any criticism of the Obama campaign on the matter. It’s an example of the Obama campaign tone living up to its hype (and not for want of target, opportunity, or potential return). The rare instance of a campaign not taking the bait, and doing the right thing, and profiting from both.

Just throwing that out there.

Posted by Brad @ 8:44 pm on October 25th 2008

The McCain-Palin Schism

A lot of rumblings about it this weekend, and Marc Ambinder’s blog in particular has been fascinating not so much for what he’s posting, but for the reading between the lines that you can do (as an embed, he basically has to make sure he doesn’t fall into a black list, so he has to be a little coy about what he can say). Nevertheless, it appears to be real, judging from the amount of “anonymous insiders” who are apparently coming out of the woodwork to start the backbiting. It’s quickly becoming reminiscent of the last months of the Clinton campaign during the Wolfson-Penn, only there’s still 10 days to go in the race, and, of course, it’s not between campaign insiders, but the two candidates heading the ticket and their respective staffs.

Ambinder, who has bent over backwards to let the senior McCain staffers speak to his reporting on record, nevertheless can’t help but title his latest post “McXplosion”.

Says one Palin source:

“The campaign as a whole bought completely into what the Washington media said — that she’s completely inexperienced,” said a close Palin ally outside the campaign who speaks regularly to the candidate. “Her strategy was to be trustworthy and a team player during the convention and thereafter, but she felt completely mismanaged and mishandled and ill advised,” the person said. “Recently, she’s gone from relying on McCain advisers who were assigned to her to relying on her own instincts.”

Says another:

“She’s lost confidence in most of the people on the plane,” said a senior Republican who speaks to Palin, referring to her campaign jet. He said Palin had begun to “go rogue” in some of her public pronouncements and decisions.

“I think she’d like to go more rogue,” he said.

Says someone loyal to McCain:

A second McCain source tells CNN she appears to now be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.

“She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone,” said this McCain adviser, “she does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else. Also she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: divas trust only unto themselves as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom.”

And so on.

Bad juju all around, it sounds like. The campaign is doing an okay job keeping a lid on it, and undoubtedly campaign trail reporters are salivating over the story, but still, it’s become at least somewhat clear that Palin and her people are looking to 2012, and McCain and his people are already grousing over 2008.

Posted by Brad @ 1:40 pm on October 23rd 2008

Palin in 2012

Marc Ambinder makes the case.

Posted by Rojas @ 3:42 pm on October 15th 2008

Palin as President

As unfair as some of the criticism has been, quality parody is always welcome. Particularly when it’s laden with easter eggs.

Posted by Brad @ 12:37 am on October 5th 2008

Regular People Heart Palin and Starbursts!

Glenn Greenwald, who has somehow missed being on our blogroll despite being a daily read for I think all of us (remedied), echoes my reaction in the liveblog thread to part of the reaction people had to
Palin. It struck me at the time, as it often does, that there are a lot more people out there who purport to speak to or know the mind of the almost mythical “middle America” than there seem to be actual middle Americans. And that people who purport to speak for middle America tend to be either patronizing Republicans or cynical Democrats, but both, remarkably, view “the average Joe” about the same in terms of their intelligence, engagement, and interests. I call it the Jonah Goldberg syndrome, Greenwald goes for David Brooks, but really, it’s the same thing.

There are few things that make political coverage more unbearable — and more distorting — than The David Brooks Syndrome: the extremely patronizing and ill-informed pretense, shared by media and right-wing elites alike, that they can study the Little Common People like zoo animals, and then translate and give voice to their simple-minded and ignorant though good-hearted, salt-of-the-earth perspectives. Rarely has this mentality been so transparent as it has been in the wake of the Biden-Palin debate, as pundits and right-wing polemicists like Brooks, Peggy Noonan and Rich “Starbursts” Lowry rushed forward to proclaim giddily that Regular Americans would love Sarah Palin and this love could even help McCain win, despite — or, really, because of — her vapid, content-free telegenic presence.

Actual empirical evidence — called “polling data” — has almost uniformly demonstrated how false these condescending pats on the head are…This joint right-wing/pundit claim that Americans would swoon in the face of Palin’s empty chatter, self-conscious folksiness and chronic, seizure-like winking says much more about those making the claim than it does about their Regular People subjects.

There’s certainly a kernel of truth in the Regular People characterization, but on the whole, the obnoxiousness of the Washingtonian right’s patronizing mythologizing of them is a drum I just can’t beat enough.

Posted by Brad @ 7:12 pm on October 3rd 2008

Music Video of the VP Debate

Michael Gregory is my new hero.

An up-and-coming Rx.

Posted by Brad @ 6:20 pm on October 3rd 2008

Famous Person Endorses Sarah Palin

Man the McCain web ad team are dumb.

Posted by James @ 7:14 pm on October 2nd 2008

VP Debate Predictions?

Do you have have any?

My first one is the eye-contact factor. McCain was criticized for his lack thereof during the presidential debate. I expect Palin to use a lot of Biden “eye mojo” to both compensate for McCain’s eye fail and to throw Biden off balance.

Second, I am expecting a lipstick adorned bulldog, which may or may not work.

Third, I expect Biden to stick very close to message to reduce his chance of saying something like “Governor Palin’s experience is like an Alaskan version of Barbarella.”

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