McManus, who I think is mostly a tepid liberal, suggests in his column that La Palin's most current bizarre comments have finally done in any chance she might have had to gain the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. He was referencing, of course, her outrageous claim that the attacks by the media and lefty bloggers on the dangerous rhetoric of the far right constituted a "blood libel" and a far more dangerous rhetoric.
Here's what he concludes on her chances for the presidential nomination:
...the Arizona shootings and their aftermath will probably be remembered as the end of Palin's chances of being taken seriously as a Republican presidential candidate. She had an opportunity to rise to an occasion, and she whiffed. ...
In surveys of Republican voters, Palin still ranks as one of the four top choices for the 2012 presidential nomination, along with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. But the most important numbers aren't going her way. In an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll last month, 50% of respondents said they had an unfavorable view of Palin; that's huge. Only 20% said they had negative feelings toward Romney. A year earlier, Palin's negative rating was 40%. Her principal accomplishment over the past year, it seems, has been to alienate more voters.
Now, McManus seems to be assuming that Sarah Palin keeps herself the center of attention in order to gain that nomination, and I'm not so certain that is her intention. She has made millions of dollars since the 2008 election in speaker's fees, books, a reality show, and a post at Fox. Why on earth would anyone give up such a cushy life for the unending pressures and relatively low pay of the presidency? I think she is enjoying her new status too much to give any of it up. This is a woman, after all, who walked away from her governor's job to cash in on her notoriety.
Like Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Anne Coulter, Michelle Malkin, she is making a lot of money by saying outrageous things. She also knows that the more outrageous she is, the more attention she will get from the rest of us and the more money she will make. It's a formula that, sadly, works only too well in our culture.
But assuming that I'm wrong, which is certainly possible, and that Ms. Palin really is positioning herself for a run for the presidency, why aren't the GOP regulars clamping down on her? Probably because right now she is a very handy tool. She is keeping the basest base all fired up, and that basest base was instrumental in taking the House for them in 2010. Why would they want to cut off a good thing? There will be plenty of time for that as the primary season opens.
So, under either scenario, Sarah Palin will be with us, probably as close to center stage as she can manage, for at least another eighteen months.
Labels: Election 2012