Palin for president not as unlikely as it might sound

November 2012 still seems ages away. But politics is all about speculation, and although President Barack Obama is by no means a shoo-in for the Democratic nominee, at this early time it is much more interesting to discuss the Republican side, where there is obviously no incumbent and no clear frontrunner.

Despite the absence of any favorite, no potential Republican candidate has generated more buzz than Sarah Palin, partly because of the polarizing figure she has proven to be in politics, her reputation as an outsider of the Karl Rove establishment and partly just because of the ambiguity of her presidential goals.

But how likely is it that Palin, former governor of Alaska and running mate to 2008 presidential candidate John McCain, will in the end decide to run for the Republican nomination — and how will she fare if she does take the plunge?

After nearly two years of evading the question, Palin has finally begun to show some decisiveness about whether or not she wants to run for president in 2012. Whereas in the past the question drew indistinct responses from her, such as, “That certainly isn’t on my radar screen right now,” her tone has changed since the midterm elections earlier this month.

At a recent fundraiser in Pennsylvania, Palin slyly asked the young man who sang “God Bless America” before her speech, “Daniel, would you like to sing at an inauguration?” She quickly clarified, “Not necessarily mine,” amid cheers from the crowd, followed by something Palin-esque about being just so proud to be an American.

Perhaps most indicative of Palin’s openness to running were her recent statements published in an interview with Robert Draper in The New York Times.

When asked if she is weighing a run for president, Palin answered, “I’m engaged in the internal deliberations, candidly, and having that discussion with my family, because my family is the most important consideration here.”

Illuminating as that statement is, Palin has also recently remarked that her decision would include “getting a good lay of the landscape, too, the political landscape, because I’d be in it to win it.”

In other words, she’ll run if she thinks she can win.

This political landscape Palin would be looking at in order to win could include a variety of scenarios: a highly unpopular Obama and Democratic party; a bid for the Democratic nomination by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; a surprise run by multi-billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as an Independent (which he considered in 2008, and which the Obama administration is reportedly concerned about for 2010); or any combination of these events.

For those who would be quick to dismiss Palin’s viability as a general election candidate, citing the intense opposition coming from the Republican establishment, her gaping lack of credentials, newcomer status and style of speech that is as lacking in substance as it is uplifting in spirit, I would advise another look.

Do these repudiations (or refudiations, as Palin might say) sound familiar? They should. These are, point-for-point the same criticisms leveled against Obama as he began his bid for president — and we all know how that turned out.

Indeed, the circumstances credited for allowing an inexperienced outsider like Obama to be elected — a highly unpopular incumbent administration led by the other party, a desperately ill economy and a general disillusionment with politicians and the direction of the country — might be as present for Palin in 2012 as they were for Obama in 2008. That should be a scary thought for those who don’t want to see Obama become a one-term president.

Of course, this is all still premature. It’s not uncommon for presidents to struggle with low approval ratings after their first two years in office, in which much political capital is spent to accomplish the more controversial agenda items, and in which Congress is the focus of re-election efforts.

Nevertheless, Obama’s popularity is declining in ways few could have imagined just a year or two ago, and it is possible that if this persists Palin might find reason, rightfully or not, to believe that she has a fighting chance.

In her acceptance speech as Republican vice presidential nominee in 2008, Palin had this to say about then-nominee Obama: “When the cloud of rhetoric has passed, when the roar of the crowd fades away, what exactly is our opponent’s plan?”

Perhaps Palin will be hit with the same question two years from now, in a place much like the one Obama stood in two years ago.

Justin Davidoff is an undeclared sophomore.

11 replies
  1. Montana
    Montana says:

    The half term governor is a “Dan Quayle” in heels. Since we already had an idiot “W” that caused our current economic debacle, America knows not to trust in fools who think they are brilliant. One of the reason for “W” failure was his drinking, Palin just has bad genes.

    • Noted
      Noted says:

      What do you mean? The article does not support Palin, it just says that she might think about running for certain reasons. Or maybe you are talking about the pro-Palin comments…

      Can you be more clear when leveling criticisms?

  2. Noted
    Noted says:

    I’m not much of a Palin fan, but I think its a fair assessment… I didn’t realize she was this serious about running.

    Also, thannk you author for not being a Palin cheerleader or hater!- seems these days that everyone has to be one or the other. The unbiased view is very refreshing.

    Great article overall.

  3. tjay
    tjay says:

    Who could possibly want 4 more years with another Obama administration?
    Talk about being a “polarizing figure”, Obama should go back to being a pompous university professor…in Cuba. Palin stands for what the majority of Americans want…forget the college crowd~they’re still in their evolutionary “dream world” of academia.
    Once you evolve into the Real World, you’ll see that important things like Family, Faith, & Flag actually do matter and are worth dying for.

  4. Letscheck
    Letscheck says:

    Palin saw Obama clearly in 2008 and since that day, when she made that speech, millions of others have had the same question about Obama.

    Especially those who voted for him.

    Since Obama has put much of his plan on the table, people are running away in a panic because there is nothing good on the horizon with the Obama Plan…unless you are Obama.

    O is having a great time being President while the nation suffers under an economic crisis he and his friends created, and then he made much worse with his directives to Congress.

    I said over two years ago, and I still believe…that if Obama was elected President, people who made fun of Sarah Palin would be running to support her for the next President.

    She is the only one who sees Obama for who he is, and she is the only one who had a better plan for this country way back in 2008. McCain’s strategists would not let her run with it and stiffled her. The media attacked her, along with Obama’s Organizing for American paid supporters who run to attack every time there is an article or message about her.

    In the long run…Palin is the stronger person who does have the best interest of the American people as her goal.

    A self interested O vs. an America interested Palin…we have two years to find out how strong or weak this country will be in standing up for itself by correcting our government back to one that is for, by and of The People.

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