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    Palin's Window of Opportunity

    So, the rollout of Sarah Palin's book has led to a flurry of speculation about whether she will someday run for President. That conversation, in itself, is evidence of how little the American political media listens to what it's saying.

    Palin is an unpopular politician who badly botched her Vice-Presidential run. But on the other hand, she badly botched her Vice-Presidential run and is unpopular. She will never make a serious run for the White House, because she can't.

    Is she running? Or just cashing in on the media ride? The answer, of course is both and neither. Palin's job is now Potential Presidential Candidate. Her media value depends on the perception that she may be running. It is in the media's direct interest to keep her valuable, so that Sarah-related stories and interviews get lots of lucrative attention. Naturally, they encourage the speculation that she's a candidate. And that's in Palin's interest, too, because she profits directly from that media value.

    Palin is going to make a lot of money for as long as the press treats her like a serious political player. But her ability to command top prices ends the moment it becomes clear that she isn't running for President. It also ends if she actually runs.

    If Palin runs, she will cease to be a potential contender and become just another defeated candidate. Her national stature will vanish. And after she gets drubbed at the polls, her standard speaking fee will plummet. She'll still be highly paid, but not at anything like the rates she currently demands; you don't get a $5 million book deal after you've been humiliated in New Hampshire.

    Maybe Palin understands this consciously, and maybe she does not. (For the record, I believe that Sarah Palin is crazy like a fox. A delirious, rabies-maddened fox.) But she has a window of opportunity in which to build a large personal fortune. The amount of money she makes while that window is open will probably determine her lifetime wealth. When she runs for President, or refuses to run, the window will close. So it's time for her to make her money now.



    Yeah, see, the problem is you're trying to apply logic to Bizzaro-world.

    Just doesn't work.

    Also, too, there's a chance IMO she could win not only the Republican primary, but also the general. I know that's an insulting thing to say about the voting populace, but that's what I think. I will be nice enough to state that I think it's a pretty small chance.

    She can certainly win the primary. She has a solid and energetic following among a large chunk of the Republican base, which could be enough in the face of poor competition. I expect that the party elite will try to find someone else who has a better chance of winning the general, but they may not be able to find a popular enough alternative. Huckabee won't be the party guy, and none of the rest of last year's batch has much going for them. McCain won mainly b/c everyone else sucked. So it would have to be someone new.

    But I don't think that she can win the general without some massive shift of political fortune.

    PS Cleve, I fixed up your poll. Did I get the right one?

    Yes, thanks. Sorry to fubar it.

    No worries. For anything other than a basic youtube video, you have click "disable rich-text" and insert the code in html.

    Y'know, if you'd added that "disable chicks-text" feature like Wolfrum suggested, you would:

    a) Not have to worry about Sarah Palin coming on your site and lying; and,

    2) Orlando.

    Software - Making guys life simpler (If they install it)

    Her winning the general would definitely require the recession taking a turn for the worse (or some other disaster). However, if that happened, I wouldn't rule it out.

    I respectfully disagree, Nebbie. I don't think Obama is invulnerable, and his electoral fortunes are tied to the general health of the country. But if things got so bad that Obama could lose to a challenger as weak as Palin, things would also be so bad that Palin would become entirely unelectable herself. Obama loses in, say, an economic disaster, but voters won't just turn to anyone in a disaster. They need someone who feels trustworthy, who seems capable of solving problems. Palin doesn't fit the bill. A demagogue could beat Obama in a national crisis, but not this particular demagogue.

    Palin could do well in some Republican primaries, but not others. And I believe there are powerful interests within the Republican establishment who would oppose her ruthlessly, both because they don't want her anywhere near the White House and because they don't want a loser as their national candidate. If the White House looks even remotely winnable, they're going to put their chips on someone who can win, and they'll shed as much intraparty blood, and spend as much money, as they need, to sink Palin. If, on the other hand, the country's doing well and Obama seems unbeatable, those people might, *might*, allow Palin to burn out in a general that wasn't winnable anyhow, and then use her defeat to take the party back from her supporters.

    All of this, of course, is before we factor in whether Palin can build the campaign organization she would need, whether Republican campaign operatives will want to work for her after she publicly shat upon McCain's staff, and whether she'll say or do anything stupid or crazy over the next 35 months.

    If, on the other hand, the country's doing well and Obama seems unbeatable, those people might, *might*, allow Palin to burn out in a general that wasn't winnable anyhow, and then use her defeat to take the party back from her supporters.

    I had the same thought. Also, if Obama is strong, the best Republican candidates may choose not to run, which would mean less competition for Palin.

    OK, I hear you, but if I learned anything from '04, it was not to apply logic too rigorously to the voting public.

    Do you see Palin '12 as a possibility if Putin rears his head into our airspace? ;)

    '04 was clearly an emotional decision on the part of enough swing voters, but it made sense to me at the time, even as disappointed and angry as I was.

    '04 came down to a referendum between competing visions of reality. Either Bush was strong and in control, or things were frighteningly bad and we needed Kerry, who wasn't always inspiring but was sober, to start putting things back together.

    A large enough wedge of voters decided that it was accepting how bad things were was scarier than not. So they chose believing in Bush and the illusion of safety. Twelve months later, Bush could not have swung that, as the reality got harder and harder to deny.

    (And no, if Putin rears his head in our airspace, some wingnut retired general will be President. The wingers won't be able to sell another chicken hawk.)

    Spot on, IMHO.  Your sentiment generally mirrors recent comments by Bob Schieffer:

    Harry Smith's incredulous "Really?!" after Schieffer's matter of fact dismissal of Palin's political future is the icing on the cake here.

    I don't think she's going to run for anything ever again.  From what I understand, ending up in the Governor's office in Alaska was something of a happy accident for her.  She clearly didn't want the actual job.  She did, however, seem to like campaigning, so she quit actually governing to do more of that.

    If you thought last year's Democratic primary was brutal, imagine what you'd see if Palin actually had to campaign in a primary against career politicians who feel like they really deserve to have the next shot.  Ask yourself how tolerant you think the old boys club would be of her Caribou Barbie routine then.  Hell, most GOP politicians hardly have to pretend to respect women or non-whites.  Does anyone really honestly believe they'd just let Sarah the Quitter waltz in and take it from them?  She'd get knee-capped faster than Nancy Kerrigan.

    That is, of course, assuming that she actually wants the job.  I doubt she really does.

    Yeah. The reaction of shock to an expression of pretty common-sense facts is the shocking thing.

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