Sunday, 7 November 2010

Sarah Palin: "going rogue" for 2012

The Republicans might not know what to do with their midterm gains, but Sarah Palin's marketing team does. The most charismatic personality in American right-wing politics will seek to unite the powerful array of Republican Party and Tea Party interests that now own a majority in the US House of Representatives and drove some way towards getting one in the Senate. Palin wants to garner this strength behind her, before "going rogue" for the White House in 2012.

The following video is weak on words and strong on platitudes, but amid this dazzling marketing montage, you can detect two unmistakable points: Sarah Palin will be running for President of the United States of America; and that this has something, somehow, to do with a grizzly bear.

Palin has splashed some cash on a very talented marketing staff. Since receiving a media mauling as John McCain's running mate in 2008, Palin has cultivated some well-founded fears about engaging with the "lame-stream" liberal press. The video above is a fantastic opening move, and some great PR, but she will have to start swatting up on non-Alaskan economics and foreign policy questions before engaging toe-to-toe with the media prior to an election bid. 

Her message is simple. Unite behind Palin, and the Republicans can turn a successful opposition movement into something more cohesive: victory in 2012. The disparate spread of interests that converged to cause President Obama's discomfiture this November is now in a position to stymie further White House legislation, and force the use of the President's executive veto to prevent it from undoing the healthcare reforms achieved already by the Democrat administration. There is voter demand for the Republicans to start wrecking the President's healthcare plans that have so enraged opponents of any slide towards un-American "big government" concepts.

The problem is that the cards the Republicans hold are laced with negativity. It's now possible for them to use the House to block the budgets necessary for Obama's health plans and for stimulating the still weak US economy, but by doing so - and without suggesting an alternative strategy - the Republicans risk becoming the naysayers of US politics.

Whether Palin can secure political backing for the presidency is uncertain. The Tea Party movement certainly fielded some candidates with odd backgrounds. Tea Party-backed Republican Senate candidate for Delaware Christine O'Donnell was forced in October to announce "I'm not a witch" in her pre-election ad, after it emerged she had dabbled in such beliefs or practices in her teens.

O'Donnell lost, unsurprisingly. Palin isn't quite as batty, of course. She's more than capable of winning the nomination, but she's probably still unelectable across the country as a whole. Watching her in 2008 was cringeworthy. She is still probably far too right of the centre ground to win. The lady has some style, but it's doubtful whether she can come up with the detailed substance on the economy in a pre-election debate, or as an international stateswoman if elected.

To win in 2012, the Republicans should view themselves not as a leaderless rebellion, as is inferred by the Tea Party movement, but as the next government in waiting. The risk for the Republicans, is that by rallying behind the candidate who is most conspicuous, most charismatic, and closest to its core, the party will consign itself to naysaying and opposition, making it unelectable in 2012.


  1. To be fair to the Republicans, naysaying has done pretty well for them so far!
    After a round of midterms like that, why change!?

  2. Agreed Mark.

    In a country where the typical voter seems so far removed from reality and policy I fail to see how the Republicans can go wrong in the next two years. There seems to be such a lack of cohesion and fight amongst the Democrats that the Republicans could probably go to sleep for the next two years and still find themselves on top.

    On the topic of Sarah Palin. I think she'll either be the binding force that the Republicans need after the emergence of the Tea Party, or she'll be the clown that ruined the party. I'd like to think the latter will be true but I have so little faith in American voters that nothing would surprise me.

  3. I wonder if at this point some Republicans wish she'd run after all? Romney seems just as divisive a nominee, and they lack a "rogue" with Palin's charisma.