Timothy Stanley: Sarah Palin was the Strongest Candidate for 2012

By Gary P Jackson

This is obvious to every Conservative, but now Timothy Stanley, writing for CNN, is saying what we all know, Sarah Palin was the best option for 2012.

I’m always suspect when a left wing bunch like CNN puts out something like this, but I must honestly say, there are some over there who have been incredibly fair to the Governor, more so than some of her Fox colleagues in fact.

Timothy Stanley is a historian at Oxford University and blogs for Britain’s Daily Telegraph. He doesn’t get everything right, and of course uses some of the tired old talking points such as Sarah couldn’t name a newspaper during the obnoxious Katy Couric interview, but he is spot on about the fact that Sarah would not only have wrapped the nomination by now, but be taking it to Obama all day, every day.

The Republican presidential primary hasn’t exactly overflowed with talent. In December, it was a roll call of the undesirable Right: Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, Paul, Perry, Huntsman and Bachmann — a list so long and bizarre that Count Dracula could have slipped in on the end and no one would have noticed. Except, as the citizens of Chicago will tell you, the dead always vote Democrat.

Now, we’re down to a final three, discounting Ron Paul, who, I’m guessing, is only staying in the race to collect air miles. Although the talent pool has shrunk, it has gotten no deeper. As Mitt Romney suffers defeat after defeat at the hands of Rick Santorum, whose chances of winning this thing aren’t high, his negatives mount up, and the president looks stronger by the day. The Republican Party is divided and in danger of becoming out of touch.

It didn’t have to be this way. If Sarah Palin had entered the contest, I’d hypothesize two alternative realities. One, she’d have the nomination sewn up by now. Two, she’d be running even in the polls with the president.

What have proved to be problems for the top three candidates wouldn’t have been problems for Palin. For starters, she has none of Newt Gingrich’s intellectual hubris. There’s no way Palin would have promised to put a mine on the moon or suggest arresting judges who make decisions that are too liberal. Her conservatism is far more domestic and down-to-Earth.

She’s also more disciplined than Santorum. Although we’ll probably be talking about them into the next century, Palin’s only two serious public gaffes in 2008 happened when she was unable to name a newspaper and was stumped by the Bush doctrine, both slips a product of ignorance. Santorum, on the other hand, is guilty of knowing his own mind all too well, offering unwelcome opinions on everything from the evils of hard-core pornography to the racial politics of the Trayvon Martin tragedy.

Compare the response Palin gave to questions about her attitude toward evolution — “I think it should be taught as an accepted principle, and I say that also as the daughter of a schoolteacher” — with Santorum’s claim that Satan … has attacked America.

It’s Palin who seems to have a better sense of the limited role that faith should play in politics and a better idea of when to keep her mouth shut. Moreover, she would never tell a journalist that he was talking “bull***t,” even if she did congratulate Rick Santorum for doing so. Contrary to the media narrative, even at her most accident-prone, Palin has always been a classy, well-choreographed performer.

Lacking the foibles of Gingrich and Santorum, Palin would have been a far more effective anti-Romney candidate because her strengths accentuated Romney’s weaknesses. Romney is known as the Etch A Sketch candidate; Palin is aggressively authentic. Romney is seen by many as a moneyed elitist; Palin is the conservative class warrior, happy to slam the “crony capitalism” that benefits both big labor and big business. Romney’s limitations have been revealed, one by one, in the course of the primary campaign; Palin was well-vetted by the press in 2008 and has nothing left to say or do that would surprise us.

Love her or loathe her, we all know who Palin is. Her weaknesses, being old news, wouldn’t have dominated the primary narrative like Bain Capital or Seamus the dog, made famous by his terrifying ride atop Romney’s car. Palin would have spent the past three months attacking her opponents. Then she would have turned her guns on the president.

While it’s reasonable to speculate that Palin could have gathered a much stronger anti-Mitt coalition earlier — and broken out as the GOP front-runner sooner — it’s probably a bigger stretch to say that she would be running stronger against Obama right now.

The last national polling done on a hypothetical Palin candidacy was in September, and that showed the president beating her by double digits. Daily Kos did the math and gleefully calculated that Palin would win just seven states in November, and even Mississippi would be a tossup.

But those polls asked the public what they thought of a candidate who hadn’t declared, who wasn’t representing herself in the debates and who was still solely defined by the 2008 race. Guesstimating how well she would have done had she entered the 2012 contest is tough, but considering that at least some polls show both Romney and Santorum within a few points of Obama despite all their problems, it’s not unreasonable to presume that Palin would run just as well.

Subtract Santorum’s gaffes or Romney’s elitism, and she might even do a little better. Polls suggest that many voters agree with Romney’s approach to the economy but think he lacks empathy for the struggles facing the middle-class. Were she in the race, you can bet your bottom dollar that Palin wouldn’t score so low on compassion and authenticity.

Most important, Palin has the character and reputation necessary to break out of the Republican Party’s demographic prison. In matchups with Obama, Romney’s core vote is financially comfortable seniors. He pulls even among all men and folks aged 35-54.

The Republicans desperately need a candidate who can appeal to lower-income voters, who can rally men, who can gain women’s votes, who can bring out conservatives in large numbers and who can appeal to a younger demographic. All these things happened in the 2010 midterms, when the GOP made inroads into blue-collar households and middle-class suburbs on a policy platform virtually embodied by the Alaskan maverick.

The GOP needs a Tea Party candidate — either Sarah Palin or someone very like her. Alas, it’s going to have to wait until 2016 to get its rogue.

As Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich continue the race for the GOP nomination, their only hope being a brokered convention, Palin supporters look to that same idea of a brokered convention as a chance to have what amounts to a do-over, a chance to get it right.

As recent polling shows, Sarah has a far higher approval rating than any of the actual candidates. As Stanley points out, the Republican Party is in dire need of a unity candidate, one who can bring everyone in the party together, while appealing to independents and blue dog democrats. Sarah Palin is the only one who can pull that off.

We may, indeed have to wait until 2016, but then again, maybe not. These are interesting times we live in.



Filed under In The News, Politics, sarah palin

14 responses to “Timothy Stanley: Sarah Palin was the Strongest Candidate for 2012

  1. Jim Thompson

    Hear, Hear. Right He is. Frank Luntz and his so-called focus group says the majority of the republicans don’t want Sarah Palin To run for president. This one lady in that same ‘Frank Luntz Focus Group’ commenting on Michele Bachmann running for President Of The United States saying ‘Thank God She’s not Sarah Palin.’ Now This stupid crap. I Really Hate To Quote Fellow Mysogynist Bill Maher: ‘The S@#$t Doesn’t Fall Far From The Bat.’ This Really Burns My Ass As Well As Having Me Laughing On The Floor.

  2. jerseyflash

    In 2008 “The Luntz Group” thought that Sarah was the greatest thing since sliced bread…Luntz included…I wonder what group did the last (survey says)
    with Sarah kicking everyone’s A$$…this photo of Sarah doing what POTUS should be doing instead of having there feet on OUR DESK…almost as good as seeing Sarah putting on her shoes, coming off of Air Force One
    Get in the game Sarah…..Palin/West 2012 and 2016

  3. Carol Cumbie

    I don’t know how many polls Bill O’reilly put out trying to show republicans didn’t want Sarah to run for president. He could not prove it out of all the people he polled. Palin always had the highest. Billy boy would take the polls down and not announce anything. Then he tried not letting you see how many voted. While he reported that he had higher polls for people not wanted Palin. That didn’t work so then he used a poll from someone that no one heard from.It was a poll of 100 people it was easy to pick that many that would vote the way you want them. Everyone laughed at that. They did another Palin was on top again. Bill ORielly turned on Sarah Palin I don’t know why.The GOP is stupid to not have tried to talk Sarah into running. I know one thing the GOP is over after this election. The Gop is so far away from the people. They saw people come alive like never before.The tea party wanted to go on their own but Sarah talked most of them all into staying with the republicans. What did the republicans do. I don’t even know if I can talk myself into voting. Luntz picks the people in his group so tell me he doesn’t know the out come before the questions.

    • Gary P Jackson

      I was a proud, card carrying member of the GOP for decades. I no longer am. Sadly, the GOP is the only game in town if you are a Conservative. Third parties are currently a waste of time, and the democrat party is now full on socialist.

      Ronald Reagan always said our goal should be to take control of the GOP from with-in. Sarah’s efforts have been in service of that goal as well. I’m starting to think the GOP is just too far gone to save. It’s too late to start a new party for 2012, but depending on the outcome of this election, it just might be time to start a new party and have the GOP go the way of the Whigs.

      Congress in general has lost it’s way. There are some great individual members, but as a whole, it’s not serving the people.

      We need serious reform.

      • no it’s not we have the Tea Party now. it’s an officially registered caucus since sometime last year. we won’t be cooperated with the et tu gop anymore at all.

  4. Sarah Palin has a stellar record over the 20 years of serving the people!!!!

  5. Jim Thompson

    ..And After All Of The Crap Flying Around, Including Sarah Palin Giving One President Barack Obama The Infamous Smackdown Heard Around The World, The Establishment Elites Are Going To Get Exactly What They Want: The second Term Of Barack Hussein Obama As President. Damn, That Pisses Me Off!!!!

  6. Gary – and all the others – my very thoughts & words!! The GOP is like the Dying Swan – but not near as graceful. It WILL go the way of the Whigs – and Sarah, like Esther (in one analogy) and Moses (in another) will lead the People to the Promised Land of Commonsense Conservatism within the next 2 or 3 election cycles. We must NOT back down and we MUST stick together – “in Unity there’s Strength!” Of course, we’ll always have to battle the Dems – now Socialists – to achieve our political goals, but there’ll be no more squishy center RINO element worth worrying as much about as in 2012. Here’s to the Demise of the RINO – let’s make it not just an endangered species, but an extinct one as well!!

  7. Gary & all the others – my words exactly! The GOP will go the way of the Whigs! Just like the Dying Swan – but not as gracefully… Like Esther in one biblical analogy – and Moses in another! – Sarah Palin will lead the People to the Promised Land of Commonsense Conservatism within the next 2 or 3 election cycles. No tears for the RINOs – let’s make them not only an endangered species, but an extinct one! Game ON!! Lock & load…

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