Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 | Obama and the Dems
By Arnold Vis
John McCain has three opponents this last week of the campaign: Barack Obama, George W. Bush and his own running mate, Sarah Palin.
What started off as a friendly disagreement between two “mavericks” over the extent of drilling in Alaska has slowly evolved into a rift about political strategy on the Republican ticket.
Governor Palin let it be publicly known that she disagrees with McCain on a number of important decisions:
-Ceding the state of Michigan to Obama: “I read that this morning, and I fired off a quick e-mail and said, ‘Oh come on, you know, do we have to? Todd and I, we’d be happy to get to Michigan and walk through those plants of the car manufacturers,”
-Not making Obama’s association with Revered Wright an issue: “I don’t know why that association isn’t discussed more,”
-The use of robocalls by the McCain campaign: “They get a bit irritating”
-The way the McCain campaign discusses the economy: “I would be sitting at a kitchen table with more and more Americans, talking to them about our plan to get the economy back on track and winning the war, and not having to rely on the old conventional ways of campaigning”
Last week an aide close to Palin said she would like to voice her own opinions even more, and would like to go “more rogue”. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1008/14929.html
Over the last few days, senior McCain advisers have started to retaliate and called their own VP nominee “a diva”, “a whack job” and someone who “does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else”. It’s been reported that on a long bus ride on the campaign bus McCain snubbed Palin, to the embarrassment of those sitting nearby.
What is going on here? Is Sarah Palin’s inexperience as a national candidate leading to a series of unfortunate slip-ups? Or is she thinking ahead and making sure she’s politically viable in the future in case the McCain/ Palin ticket lose this year?
I strongly suspect the latter. She is preemptively distancing herself from McCain to make sure she is on record disagreeing with him about some of the big campaign decisions he made (apart from picking her as his running mate). The list of disagreements above reads as a laundry list of potential “I told you so” items to be used in the wake of a McCain defeat.
Rather than being unseasoned (as some of Palin’s critics have suggested) this points to a hard nosed and rational approach on her part; after all, if they win she’s the VP, and if they lose she can credibly make the case she would have run a totally different campaign. Some might feel sorry for McCain for what you could consider ingratitude on Palin’s part, but I don’ t see it that way at all.
He chose to pick someone nicknamed Sarah “Barracuda” as his VP nominee based on watching some YouTube videos of her and meeting her once in his life. What did he expect, undying loyalty?
Sarah Palin sees herself as the future of the GOP party and a frontrunner for the 2012 nomination in case McCain loses this time around.
I agree with her and think she would have a good shot at the Republican nomination in 2012.
Due to his age and lack of real support from the GOP base McCain would not play a significant role beyond this year if he loses. In defeat the GOP will split in a few factions and will do some real soul searching as a party. Each of these factions have their own champion:
The fiscal conservative, club for growth types have Romney, the economic populists have Huckabee and the social conservatives have Palin.
Besides these three the only other senior Republicans with a shot at the nomination I can think of would be Bobby Jindal and Jeb Bush. But Jindal is very young (41 in 2012) and Jeb’s last name will still be Bush in four years time.
In any race between Palin, Huckabee and Romney my money would be on Palin.
Romney heavily outspent his opponents in this years primary and still lost. The economy will probably have improved in fours years, robbing of his main calling card; he’s out of public office so he does not have a platform for the coming years.
Huckabee has a similar folksy appeal as Palin, but would probably lose big in a straight contest with her. He’s now a talkshow host, and let’s face it: Fox News would not think twice about cancelling “Huckabee” for the “Sarah Palin Show”.
Palin is the only political figure in recent times that has matched the energy generated by Obama. She has a natural ability to communicate and relate to people. As the first Republican woman candidate with a good chance of winning she’d probably have strong support of GOP women in the primaries.
Considering the headwind faced by the McCain/Palin ticket this year and the limited competition for the mantle of GOP leader in waiting I am not surprised Palin already has her eye on the 2012 nomination.
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