The GOP’s God Gap, Take 3

palin10.jpgNotice how so much political reporting these days about the future of the Republican Party is about the God Gap between religious conservatives and the rest of the party? Much of it hinges on the fact that Sarah Palin has become the movement’s new political face. The New York Times reports today that conservatives are already discussing her future political prospects should the McCain-Palin ticket be defeated next Tuesday (The Times says it’s “conservatives” who are excited about Palin, but the paper is basically writing about social conservatives):


Whether the Republican presidential ticket wins or loses on Tuesday, a group of prominent conservatives are planning to meet the next day to discuss the way forward, and whatever the outcome, Gov. Sarah Palin will be high on the agenda.
Ms. Palin, of Alaska, has had a rocky time since being named as Senator John McCain’s running mate, but to many conservatives her future remains bright. If Mr. McCain wins, she will give the social conservative movement a seat inside the White House. If he loses, she could emerge as a standard bearer for the movement and a potential presidential candidate in 2012, albeit one who will need to address her considerable political damage.
Her prospects, in or out of government, are the subject of intensive conversations among conservative leaders, including the group that will meet next Wednesday in rural Virginia to weigh social, foreign policy and economic issues, as well as the political landscape and the next presidential election.
Ms. Palin’s aides insist that winning this time around is her sole objective. But there are signs that she, too, is making sure that she is well positioned for the future if she and Mr. McCain lose.

The 2012 Republican primary could be waged on winning religious conservatives than the ’08 GOP primary was, with Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Mike Huckabee vying to become the movement’s political standard bearer.


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Charles Cosimano

posted October 29, 2008 at 10:31 pm

If that is the case then Obama is assured of two terms unless the country really goes to hell.

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posted October 30, 2008 at 1:42 am

Palin could have excused herself from the ticket when it became clear she wasn’t ready during the first few weeks, saying it was too much of a strain on her family. No one would have questioned it. McCain could have had this election sewn up by now, easily, with any number of Palin replacements. Now, people shudder at the very thought of her every time McCain runs a commercial attacking Obama’s lack of experience. How could she have been so selfish and refused to bow out? She has shown personal ambition matters far more to her than conservative values. How will any Republican forgive her for that if they suffer through four years of Democrats controlling the House, the Senate and the Oval Office?

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Mark G

posted October 30, 2008 at 1:22 pm

From the reporting of Jonathan Martin, who provides the most detail of the post-election meeting of conservatives, it appears that the attendees are not all from the social/religious conservative side, and that the goal is to talk about revitalizing the Reagan coalition, not jettisoning one group or the other. (Text below) Looks as if plan A is to close the God gap, if possible. And Palin might be a good person to do it, if she can learn what she needs to about economic and foreign policy.
The meeting will include a “who’s who of conservative leaders — economic, national security and social,” said one attendee, who shared initial word of the secret session only on the basis of anonymity and with some details about the host and location redacted.

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Mark G

posted October 30, 2008 at 4:49 pm

WakeWashington — Maybe you’re right that McCain would have been cruising to victory if only he had chosen — who, Pawlenty? Leiberman would not have won the day for him. But then again, Mccain was well behind Obama most of the summer, and the party faithful — absolutely crucial to getting out the vote — were unenthusiastic about him. Obama got an additional 5 point bump from a financial crisis that many voters blame on Bush and the Republicans (half of that in the week after McCain foolishly said he thought the economy was fundamentally sound). I figure McCain was toast, and a hail Mary play like Palin was his only hope to come from behind. (I also figure McCain is still one miracle short of squeaking out a win).
And really, how in the world is an inexperienced VP scarier than an inexperienced president? McCain blunted the experience argument by picking Palin, but he didn’t eliminate it.

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posted November 2, 2008 at 12:31 am

Religion has no place in politics and politics has no place in religion. Everyone has a right to their beliefs, and since there are a lot of different belief systems that should all be treated equally in this country (yours are no more right in the eyes of government than those of others) government should not be involved in them. Religion belongs in the home/church/temple/mosque/etc. and not in the halls of government. This is not a theocracy. How would you like it if politics and government was based on another religions beliefs?

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