Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Moose bites Woman

I haven't watched the Oprah/Sarah lovefest, but I wanted to weigh in on this discussion about Sarah Palin being a 2012 Presidential candidate. I was struck by a desperate statement/plea by David Brooks on ABC news on Sunday claiming that GOP primary voters would never nominate Sarah Palin.

You might try whistling louder past that graveyard David...

Brooks is wrong of course. GOP voters would gleefully nominate Sarah Palin. They want to nominate her. They will give her every opportunity to get that nomination, provided she meets a ridiculously low bar they will set for her. I don't think she will be the nominee though. Not because she doesn't have a good chance, but because she wants to run for President more than she wants to be President. She likes the process of being famous and the attention of a candidate way more than the crap job of governing. Sarah Palin has the job she wants right now. Running for President is part of that job. It's GOP celebrity in chief that she wants to be, not POTUS.

What this says about Caribou Barbie is less interesting to me than what is says about the GOP. It must really suck to be a GOP pol that isn't a complete Kool-Aid drinker. It was one thing when these Jesus freaks could be manipulated by Karl Rove and the Mighty Wurlitzer every two years by shouting "fag" at the top of their lungs and having Junior play Commander in Chief the way my four year old plays Jedi, only with less panache. Now these people want to actually run things. Don' they know that no one at the Country Club wants to hear them rattle on about salvation and how great Sarah is? It's one thing for them to grovel to Rush. Rush is on the team. Sure he talks like THOSE people most of the time, but he is one the elite. Being a freak is just his job on the radio.

What the GOP base voter considers a conservative is being redefined, or has been. Back in the day when Mojo was a reporter, I would occasionally accompany him to candidate forums, city council meetings, and all the rest of that ugly stuff that reporters use to do before they became too cool for that sissy wonk stuff. You could find Sarah Palins all over those local political events. It shocked me at first. Who the Frak were these people? I'm not easily weirded out by people of faith. I grew up in a tight Catholic community, I'm okay with people who wear their faith on their sleeves. But this was something different. Mojo then explained it all to me..(cue Kenny Rodgers "The Gambler" here)

"Son" he said, (no he didn't call me that, I'm just working the Rodgers groove), this is part of a larger movement. The Christian Right has been telling their people to get involved at the local level. They want them to run for School Board, City Council, Planning Commission. That is how they plan to get political power in this country. Work their way up from local, to regional, to state, to Washington. Be afraid." Guess what. He was right. That's exactly what they did.

There is nothing wrong with that plan really. They have right to run for things and get their political groove on. And it's not like it hasn't been noticed, or fought against, or that its' been easy for them to operate in a GOP where many of the career pols and money geeks who fund them see the Sarah Palin's of the world as nutjobs. I feel their pain to some degree. I'm a liberal and a progressive in a party that would like me to shut up about a whole range of issues. Just vote for us, fund us, walk precincts for us, but don't rock the boat too much. That's what you get when you are a Dirty Frakkin Hippie.

So when David Brooks claims she won't win the nomination, I have to laugh at that. She could if she really wanted to. Her ignorance and stupidity are not deal killers in today's GOP. They are irrelevant. She is one of the tribe to her potential constituents across the country. She talks their language, believes what they believe. The more heat she gets from the media, the more disapproval she gets from New York RINO's like Brooks, the more they love her. She's a natural at this. The people who picked her out were not wrong that she has potential. What they were wrong about and continue to be is her motivation. I seriously doubt she wants any job in politics that would involve governing. She had that in Alaska and she bolted at the first opportunity. And let's be frank, if you cannot handle governing a state like Alaska, you really aren't going to deal with the Oval Office.

The danger for the GOP here is that Sarah's traveling road show doesn't lead anywhere good in the long run. She's not looking to build their brand, or expand their base. She's wants to build brand SARAH!, or expand her base, not the same thing. The GOP desperately needs to figure out how to broaden their base. Their voters are getting older and whiter, a demographic trend that spells serious trouble. The best outcome for the GOP is for Sarah not to run, but to support the most electable candidate and stump for them among her faithful. If she runs and the GOP primaries get as nasty as they usually do, that is going to piss off her voters in a bad way.

The GOP made this bed by trying to play to the worst instincts of their base without weeding out the worst of it. They have played patty cake with the racists, the cranks, and the ignorant to a degree that would make the most cynical Democrat look like Pericles. This was the Rove strategy. It worked for his client just fine. If it creates a huge electoral problem for the GOP in the future, well, that's not his problem. The talk radio audience they have been gravy training on is slipping its leash. And all the happy talk and dismissive attitude from Brooks and his crowd is not going to change that. So get used to the Sarah Palin GOP Mr. Brooks.

I hope you enjoy your Moose Turd Pie.

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