Dowd is not alone. Legions of Republican strategists, pollsters, and pundits have missed it on the former Alaska governor’s appeal to a party in meltdown after W’s eight years as the Not-So-Great Communicator. They are not misreading the Alaskan’s skills so much as misjudging the Caine Mutiny level volatility of the electorate. Although Palin hasn’t hurt herself in interviews plugging her critical mass bestseller, she remains weak on the finesse that seems like a gene implant in national politicians. What they are missing is that her common sense approach has an infectious appeal to people fed up with red, white, and blue ties stuffed behind pinstriped suits.
Not surprising, however, when one considers that underestimating the Palin is the biggest craze since the Beatles landed. I was particularly impressed with Palin’s feistiness in going toe to toe with Bill O’Reilly on policy. She didn’t back down on her insistence that we should enact an oil embargo on Iran when the Factor host insisted that Russian oil would keep the Muslim state afloat. O’Reilly was at least partially wrong; Russia takes a huge risk of creating serious Cold War-level friction in frustrating a U.S. embargo, and it is a war they would eventually lose.
Palin is in the proverbial win-win situation. The GOP is in disarray bickering over the age-old question of its identity—conservative or moderate—and the governor need only wait for the party to come to her. The GOP is and will forever be a right-of-center party if it is to survive.
Some suggest that Palin’s resignation as governor of Alaska showed weakness, but that is far from the case, in fact it was brilliant, albeit mangled in the media. What most don’t recognize is that Alaska is one of the few states in the union in which a governor can be sued. In most states the question of an official’s ethics is taken up in the legislature or by an arm of law enforcement. The Left used this archaic law to derail her governorship, costing the state millions, but freed Palin to do serious damage to Democrats and the Obama administration right now in the process.
Dowd declared that Palin was the weak link that lost McCain the election, a laughable conclusion for anyone on the planet at the time. Without the revitalization Sarah Palin brought to the ticket McCain would have lost in a double-digit landslide.
Palin’s position in an upcoming race is enviable compared to that of Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney, in that she doesn’t have to conceal any liberal or whacko leanings. She has none. Huck’s statism, and Paul’s libertarian-style nationalism are their Achilles heels while RomneyCare will haunt Mitt to the day he dies. Palin on the other hand has nothing to hide; DNC brown-shirts have scrutinized her life like a microorganism on a specimen slide. Now if only her party’s leaders will wake up.