July 07, 2009
President Palin (not an obituary)
Posted by: Andoni
I'm a little nervous that a lot of the liberal chattering class is proclaiming the death of Sarah Palin's political career. I'm old enough to remember a similar situation with Richard Nixon in 1962 after he told the press that they wouldn't have Nixon to kick around any more. The liberals were dancing in the streets with joy. By 1968 he was elected president.
The short version of how Palin can be elected president is as follows. In a 2 party system, your choices are either A or B. If the public turns on candidate A (or his party), they then vote for candidate B no matter who it is. The prime example of this happening is incumbent President Herbert Hoover losing to Franklin Roosevelt in 1932. The public turned on Hoover because of the economy. The Democrats could have run anyone against Hoover and would have won.
Only two things have to fall in place for Palin to become president: 1). she gets the Republican nomination in 2012 and 2.) Barack Obama cannot turn the economy (or the unemployment rate) around and it gets worse. When the public turns on A, the only alternative in a 2 party system is B, even if B was fairly well despised at one time (Think Richard Nixon). The public has a short memory.
Richard Nixon was much disliked by the public when he left politics in 1962. He was regarded as mean and not to be trusted ('tricky Dick"). But between 1962 and 1968 he traveled the country helping other GOP candidates raise money and win elections. The IOU's he gathered were immense. As a result he got the Republican nomination in 1968 largely due to all the favors owed him.
Sarah Palin's popularity among the base will put her in a position to raise enormous amounts of money for other GOP candidates and help them win in Red states. The IOU's she collects could help her get the Republican nomination, just as it did Nixon. The other half of the equation of course depends on Obama's ability (or luck) in turning the economy around.
Herbert Hoover was one of the smartest people of his day and he followed the advice of supposedly wise economic advisers .... who turned out to be wrong. As a result the public turned on Hoover and the Republicans after a 70 year dominance of the White House. Like I said, it didn't matter who the Democrats ran against Hoover, the people did not want Hoover.
Other examples of the public turning on a party in power and choosing the other candidate are as follows: Richard Nixon (the despised) beat Lyndon Johnson's chosen successor largely because of the public's turning on the Vietnam War ...as well as the disgust over the police beatings at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. The public turned on Gerald Ford for pardoning Richard Nixon and elected a rather inexperienced, unknown Jimmy Carter in 1976. In 1980 the public turned on Jimmy Carter because of rampant inflation and the Iran hostage debacle and turned to Ronald Reagan, someone the left thought could never, ever be elected president.
So the bottom line is the pundits don't know everything and don't have a good track record in predicting the political future. And when the public turns on the incumbent, the other person has a darn good chance of winning, no matter what their previous reputation was.
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