In the Washington Post, former Bushie Matthew Dowd—who swears he’s no Sarah Palin fan—argues that the Baked Alaskan could win the White House in 2012, primarily by making the election a referendum on Barack Obama.
Gallup polls over the past 60 years show that no president with an approval rating under 47 percent has won reelection, and no president with an approval rating above 51 percent has lost reelection. (George W. Bush’s approval rating in the weeks before the 2004 election hovered around 50 percent.) The 2012 election will be primarily about our current president and whether voters are satisfied with the country’s direction.
Who the Republican candidate is, and his or her qualifications and abilities, will matter only if Obama’s approval rating is between 47 and 51 percent going into the fall of 2012.
It’s hard to believe that Palin could beat Obama no matter the level of frustration or discontent with him. The seriousness gap is too great.
(And, ironically, you know what percentage of votes Sarah Palin won to get elected governor in 2006? 48%.)
Dowd, of course, references the fact that Obama’s support has fallen below 50%. Which would mean something if this were November 2012, rather than ten months through the Obama first term.
But, this being one of those editorials where a former politico is announcing that he wants to work on someone’s campaign in 2012, Dowd gives Palin this advice:
Quality over quantity. You don’t need to “tweet” quite so much. You don’t need to be at countless rallies and photo ops. Instead, seek out substantive platforms where you can relate to people in a thoughtful, measured way. Appear on Sunday shows every now and then, sit down with Charlie Rose and editorial boards, and give serious speeches on your approach to the world in the 21st century.
Well, he has a point there: Tweeting does have a diminishing effect upon a person.
What Dowd doesn’t acknowledge is that Sarah Palin—like the even more appalling Joe Lieberman—is narcissistic and creates drama in order to attract attention. She’s an addict. She should go to attention rehab. Except that she’d probably milk that for attention.
A lot of this refusal to accept the reality of Palin has to do with what I call the Rhodes Scholar Syndrome (the theory that not all Rhodes Scholars are equal, because in general, it’s harder to be a Rhodes Scholar from California than from, say, Alaska, so the competition in California is greater, thereby elevating the level of candidate).
We in the East Coast press tend to fall over ourselves idealizing places where we’d feel out of place, like Alaska, so as not to appear snobs.
But the truth is, you can be the governor of Alaska and be kind of an dingbat. Whereas someone with Sarah Palin’s qualifications could almost (I want to leave a little wiggle room) never be elected governor in New York or Massachusetts or, Arnold notwithstanding, California.
You know how many people voted for Palin for governor? 114, 697. I’m not sure that would get you elected to Congress from New York City.
That Palin was governor of Alaska says a lot about her ambition, but not much about her skills, character, or substance.