Sarah Palin 2012?
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 08:01:06 AM EST
Even notwithstanding my general feelings that the race for the White House in 2012 should at least wait until Barack Obama is sworn in to the office in January, I'm just not sure I get the Sarah Palin boomlet. I don't particularly like the Alaska Governor -- her policies, her stridency, what she stands for -- though my feelings aren't quite as hard as those of Andrew Sullivan. But leaving those feelings aside and just looking at the politics, I just don't see it happening for her in four years.
Palin clearly has a strong base within the GOP. Despite the fact that exit polling showed her to be a drag on John McCain last Tuesday, with three in five voters viewing her as unqualified to assume the Presidency, fully 76 percent of Republicans indicate they would like to see Palin as a major national political figure in the years to come.
Nevertheless, I can't see Palin going much of anywhere without making some serious changes in the next couple of years -- regardless of the strong support she still appears to receive from the Republican Party. If -- and this is a big if to talk about at this early juncture -- the Obama administration isn't the big success we all hope it is, will the country really turn to someone with a dearth of expertise, a dearth of policy understanding, a dearth of inquisitiveness? Wouldn't the stronger candidate be one who, unlike Palin (and, more importantly, unlike Obama), would come in with almost an excess of experience? Wouldn't the reaction to a fresh face be something akin to an old hand rather than someone with as thin a record and even thinner a grasp of the issues as Palin?
Perhaps I'm taking too rational an approach to what in the end is a more subjective or even gut level decision made by many voters. But I just don't buy the idea that Palin could mount a meaningful challenge to Obama in four years unless she does the hard work to seriously change her approach and her image.