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Bye-Bye Rachel Ray, I found my true love

I can feel my arteries clogging already.

This is an open thread.

Could Sarah win? Oh you betcha!

Pop quiz:

Name the top five contenders for the 2012 GOP Presidential nomination

1. Sarah Palin

2. some white guy

3. some white guy

4. some white guy

5. some white guy

There aren’t any official candidates yet, but there are several prominent Republicans trying to raise money and collect IOU’s from GOPers around the nation in preparation for announcing their candidacies a year from now. It’s gonna be tough for all those white guys to start running with Sarah Palin sucking up all the oxygen.

Sarah got a big boost this week, but most of Obamanation was too busy giggling about “hand jobs” to notice. David Broder:

The snows that obliterated Washington in the past week interfered with many scheduled meetings, but they did not prevent the delivery of one important political message: Take Sarah Palin seriously.

That was the guy they call “the Dean of the Washington press corps.” Several people found his column amusing, but the Beltway media take their cues from him. Back in 2006-2007 the media decided an inexperienced freshman senator from Illinois was a serious candidate for President, and also wrote off two more experienced senators, two governors and two members of the House of Representatives. Did Broder’s column signal a change in the media conventional wisdom about Sarah Palin?

Greg Sargent:

Excellent timing! David Broder’s column says Sarah Palin must be taken “seriously” and places her in the company of other successful “populist” presidential candidates — on the same day that new WaPo polling finds 71% say she’s unqualified for presidency.

Mr. Broder, with all due respect: Palin will only remain successful if she confines herself to her current well-insulated role of celebrity quasi-candidate. If she ever sets foot in the presidential ring in earnest — a very big if — she will rapidly implode under the genuine scrutiny she’s now being spared.

A couple a problems with Greg’s thesis. That same poll reflects a bigger problem for Barack Obama – his approval rating is dropping like a rock. I don’t know what planet Sargent has been living on but we know more about Sarah than her husband, mother, father, best friend, hairdresser and gynecologist put together.

If the media haven’t found a way to knock her out by now they’re not gonna. And if she starts getting treated seriously by the media like Broder suggests her approval ratings will go up.

Sarah Palin is not running for President yet. She is running for the GOP nomination, and she is following Nixon’s advice and running to the right towards her base. With the way the GOP “winner take all” primaries are set up a sizable minority of motivated voters could easily produce plurality victories in a crowded field of candidates, giving her early victories and momentum.

With Mike Huckabee out of contention Sarah should do very well among the religious conservatives that comprise a big chunk of GOP voters. (Mitt Romney has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the fundie votes) The Tea Partiers like Sarah as much or more than they like any other contender, and her book signing tour demonstrated that she’s got lots of supporters in the GOP rank and file.

The biggest obstacle for Sarah is the GOP establishment who will favor someone like Romney. The last thing they want is a nominee that’s a real maverick reformer. If Sarah convinces them to support her (or at least not oppose her) then she has an excellent shot at winning the nomination.

Sarah has been collecting establishment IOU’s by making appearances in support of GOP candidates around the country. Expect to see her doing a lot more of that this year. What you won’t see will be the private meetings and dinners she will be having with GOP power brokers and big money donors.

Lets assume for a moment that she wins the GOP nomination. That’s the easy part. It’s hard to make long-range predictions about the general election because there are a couple major variables.

The first variable is Barack Obama. I fully expect him to run for reelection and to be the Democratic nominee. I’m not going to go into all the possibilities if he isn’t.

That means the 2012 election will essentially be a referendum on Obama. If the economy remains in the toilet along with Obama’s approval ratings then he’s toast just like Carter was in 1980. If the economy has rebounded and there hasn’t been a major crisis or scandal, Obama will probably be reelected, much like his hero Ronnie Raygun was in 1984.

The misogynist frat boys of Obamanation seem to think the key to defeating Sarah Palin is mockery:

We must never stop mocking her unbelievable lack of smarts, veracity and substance.
When we stop mocking her, when the press and the netroots and the Democrats begin to say, “Enough with the Palin is stupid remarks,” that’s when she begins to be taken seriously. That must not happen.

The angry chihuahuas of Obamanation are completely clueless about the fact that their actions are not just ineffective but are counter-productive. When Joe and Jane Bagodonuts see a wankfest like the one over Sarah’s hand-writing they might say “That is so stupid” but if they do they aren’t referring to Sarah.

Most people outside the political blogosphere are not paying close attention right now to what Sarah Palin says in her speeches and interviews or to who she endorses. The people that are paying attention already have pretty firm opinions about her.

By the time most people are paying attention she will either be the GOP nominee or will be out of the race. If she is the nominee she will not sound like a religious fanatic or a radical reactionary and by then she will have lots more practice at doing interviews and debates.

When Obama began running in 2007 he was egregiously bad in the debates and his policy positions were mostly copied from Hillary’s. His only real skill was at reading speeches from a teleprompter. Despite massive financial support from Wall Street and media favoritism he lost the popular vote in the primaries and only became the nominee because the Democratic leadership rigged the outcome.

The 2008 general election was mostly a referendum on George W. Bush and pretty much all of the people who voted for Obama that November would have voted for any of the Democratic contenders except maybe Vilsack and Gravel. There were even polls that showed that Hillary would have likely beaten McCain by a larger margin.

The Democratic party has a long history of nominating smart guys who lose to genial buffoons and charming mental light-weights. In 1952 and 1956, the intellectual Adlai Stevenson lost to “I like Ike.” Al Gore is one of the smartest politicians of our generation but thanks to SCOTUS he lost to a guy that people wanted to have a beer with.

In 1966 Pat Brown was running for a third term as governor of California. He was fairly popular, the economy was doing well and his two terms were generally considered successful, so he didn’t take his GOP opponent (a former “B” movie and television actor who had never held political office before) seriously. Brown lost, 42%-58% and Ronald Reagan became governor.

In 1980 Jimmy Carter tried to portray Reagan as a dangerous reactionary and got his ass handed to him by the Electoral College. In 1984 Walter Mondale’s campaign tried to suggest that Reagan was senile and Mondale got beat like he stole something.

Sarah Palin is a mainstream conservative Republican politician. She may not be a rocket scientist but she’s not a brainless airhead either. She’s got charisma, magnetism and the ability to connect with people.

She’s also got something else going for her – she’s a woman. Women make-up about 52% of our population and tend to vote Democratic. In 2008 the Democratic party forgot that fact and tossed women under the bus.

Will 2012 be the year they find out how big a mistake they made?