George Will, the venerable conservative sage who has graced “The Week” since David Brinkley was the host, has joined Charles Krauthammer, Peggy Noonan, and a host of righty nabobs in concluding that Sarah Palin cannot become President.
Will, along with the rest, can cite current poll numbers that show Palin trailing President Barack Obama by double digits. There are two problems with this thesis.
Poll numbers measuring hypothetical matchups almost two years before the actual contest are all but useless as predictors of the actual outcome. Furthermore, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and all the rest know it. Contrary to the outrage being expressed by pro-Palin parts of the Internet, these people are not unintelligent.
Will, an early ally of Ronald Reagan, certainly remembers when the Gipper was considered electoral poison. Of all of the Republican candidates to run in 1980, Jimmy Carter yearned to go up against Reagan. Reagan was too extreme, too ignorant, too much the former actor to be president.
Ah, one might say, but Reagan was a world historic figure, not easily matched by any ordinary mortal. Point conceded. But Ian Lazaran, a sharp-eyed Palin supporter, found another example of a politician, well known, well vetted, and well despised who was given no chance of winning. His name was George Herbert Walker Bush.
The New York Times reports a poll conducted in July 1988 that showed Bush the Elder trailing the presumptive Democratic nominee, Michael Dukakis, by 16 points. But by November, it was Bush who had gained the victory, trampling Dukakis into the dust.
George Will and the other anti-Palin conservatives know this too. So why the hostility?
Aside from an adherence to other candidates (Krauthammer likes Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, a competent leader who is as dull as a post), the answer could be found by using high school as an analogy.
High school, as those who remember it know, is a culture of cliques. There are the cool kids and there are the outsiders. Will and company consider themselves the cool kids, stylish, erudite, well mannered, and insular to the nth degree.
Sarah Palin is an outsider, the Daria Morgendorffer of American politics. She is smart, pretty but not glamorous, and utterly disdainful of the inside-the-beltway crowd. What is worse, she is using new social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, to express her disdain. Naturally they hate her with the same fury that the fashionable crowd hates anyone who comes to town from the country who doesn’t dress right, talk right, or went to the right schools.
So the real reason the talking heads are running down Palin is not because they are afraid she can’t win, but they are afraid that she will.
Sources: Peggy Noonan Goes After Sarah Palin, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, November 5th, 2010
George Will Definitively Declares Sarah Palin “Cannot Be Elected President”, Frances Martell, Mediaite, January 2nd, 2011
Even George H.W. Bush Came Back from a Huge Deficit in 1988 to Win, Ian Lazaran, Conservatives4Palin, January 2nd, 2011