By Gary P Jackson
My guess is we are about to see a lot of articles stating the obvious. Of course, had Sarah Palin ran for the Republican nomination, things would look quite different right now. There is no doubt that she would have been the leading “Not Romney” candidate, but it goes farther than that.
If you look back to last year, after Palin announced she wouldn’t run, you had nothing but “flavor of the week candidates rise to the top at breakneck speed, only to crash and burn with the same velocity.
About the only thing any of these candidates had going for them was they were not Mitt Romney. Santorum just happened to be the last somewhat viable “ flavor of the week” still standing.
Yes, I know Newt is still out there, but the guy is nearly $5 million in debt and bouncing checks. He’s done.
Sarah Palin, unlike the others, would have brought something to the table other than being a “Not Romney” candidate. Sarah has two decades of successful public service. She was an accomplished mayor, and oil and gas regulator, as well as the highest rated governor in the country. She has the best fiscal record of any governor who ran. Her Conservative bonafides are beyond question, as are her leadership skills.
One thing more, unlike Romney, or any of the other candidates, Sarah Palin has a strong base of dedicated supporters. The kind of supporters who don’t just vote, or donate money. Palin supporters are the type who get out and knock doors, man phone banks, and find other ways to actively support her.
Sarah energized a dead McCain campaign in 2008. She was far and away the one Conservatives wanted to see run against Obama. To this day she is more popular than Mitt Romney, or any of the other candidates in the race, and thought to be the unity candidate had there been a brokered convention.
Here’s what Klein has to say:
As he approaches the task of uniting the Republican party ahead of his all but official general election campaign, Mitt Romney will benefit from the same reality that’s worked to his favor the entire race — the composition of the Republican field. Specifically, Romney is fortunate that he had to beat out Rick Santorum to claim the nomination rather than Sarah Palin.
When Romney decided to seek the presidency for the second time, his moderate to liberal record in Massachusetts was bound to trigger a challenge from the right and set up a showdown, framed in shorthand, as the establishment of the party versus the conservative base.
Had Palin been in the race as the conservative alternative, it would have been very difficult for Romney to attack her given the passionate following she has among many conservatives, because he wouldn’t want to risk alienating them. Even if he had ultimately triumphed after a brutal primary fight, a lot of her loyal supporters would have found it difficult to bury the hatchet for the general election.
By contrast, Santorum came into the race with a very small following and was polling in the low single digits early on. Only when a number of other hopefuls fizzled did he emerge as the conservative alternative to Romney. Don’t get me wrong, as I wrote earlier, I think Santorum raised his profile over the course of the race and proved to be a tenacious campaigner. But the point is that Santorum’s support was as much about him being a vehicle for those who wanted to stop Romney than it was about a groundswell of support for him personally. His defeat is a disappointment to his supporters, no doubt, but less likely to sting as badly for as many people as a Palin defeat would have. Now that the primary is over, it will be a lot easier for Santorum voters to get behind Romney in the general election than it would have been for Palin given her built in fan base.
There is already a built-in animosity between Palin supporters and Romney’s hard core supporters. Romney has a reputation of using surrogates to do his dirty work, and even during the 2008 campaign, some of those closest to Romney were attacking Sarah Palin. It’s Romney people that still spout the left wing talking points when talking about Sarah.
While most of us, including Sarah herself, will support Romney if he is the nominee, only because beating Obama is that important, you can bet had Sarah ran for president, Mitt Romney would have been beaten and beaten badly.
Sarah would have been the nominee, and the next President.
You can also bet you’ll see a lot more authors, and party leaders, lamenting the fact Sarah didn’t run, before everything is said and done