Palin around with populists on the bridge to nowhere

Right Turn – The myth of Palin’s frontrunner status

For months now the real story on the right has been the search for new presidential contenders. There is far more awareness than many in the media imagine among conservative activists, Tea Partyers included, of Palin’s limited appeal to independent voters. Her backing of questionable candidates in the Senate races, most especially Christine O’Donnell, rekindled concerns about her political judgment in a general election context. Is she admired for her ability to rally the base? Yes. Is she especially talented at throwing the White House off stride? Obviously. Does she give voice to populists’ suspicion about media bias and liberal elites? Better than most anyone on the political scene. But the notion that she is a frontrunner is an eye-roller for most elected GOP officials (Chris Christie tipped his hand a bit on late-night TV) and even for many fans who furiously defended her against what conservatives saw as excessive and unfair criticism during the 2008 race.

Indeed, more Republicans — on the Hill and around the country — are beginning to suspect that she might not run. Why risk her fame and her rock-star status by running and possibly losing?

So political observers should watch the non-candidates and the maybe-candidates.


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Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution. 

5 comments on “Palin around with populists on the bridge to nowhere

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  1. well, I got as far as here:

    You don’t have to buy into a conspiracy to see that many in the media and on the left are convinced Palin will be the nominee

    when I realized that I wasn’t able to comprehend the assemblage of words.

    I was impressed that the WaPo doesn’t have a photo running with the column.

  2. It is her ability to shape the zeitgeist, to channel the mood, on a whole host of issues, in a fairly calm way, the Czar didn’t like it
    how she lamented the GZ Mosque, but it was better than Newt’s
    hyperinflamatory sputterings comparing Islam to Nazis. Now if you’ve
    actually read a decent account of her career, Mansfield’s latest tome is the most balanced, you’ll see she runs because she wants to do something, not just be someone. In her last post, it was because she felt the previous regime was corrupt and self dealing, that’s why she didn’t ‘play all their reindeer games’, the party chief up there, still has scorchmarjks from when she forced him from the commission, which is probably as big up there as the Port Authority

  3. @ miguel cervantes:It is her ability to shape the zeitgeist, to channel the mood, on a whole host of issues……

    ….that make her well-suited to the entertainment industry, rather than for a position in government that is best served when filled by someone endowed with greater intellectual ability, a more extensive education, and a bit more experience.

  4. As opposed to which one of those savants, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Howard ‘Yearg’ Dean, then there’s Gore, who is profiting directly at our expense, pushing the ‘green energy scam, we had that, 300 hundred years ago, that’s why we went to gas and ultimately oil

  5. You may not care much for Bill Clinton, but you might have an interesting degree of difficulty trying to show that Palin stacks up to him in intellect, education, or experience.

    and yeah, I guess that Kerry, Dean and Gore also might have a bit more of all of the above than she might ever muster.

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Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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