The day Sarah Palin announced her resignation as Alaska governor, I wrote a post speculating on whether there was anyone who could stop her from getting the Republican nomination. (Answer: Huckabee). I was surprised to see that most of the subsequent commentary was not on whether she was a lock for the nomination or merely the frontrunner but rather whether her political career was destroyed or merely grievously wounded.
Why am I so much more bullish on Palin than most pundits?
The sources of her appeal remain undiminished. Her popularity never came from her track record as governor, so failure to finish the term won’t matter that much to her supporters. She’s beloved largely because of who she is and what she’s accomplished as a person not what she’s accomplished as a Governor. The most important fact for the religious conservatives who love her remains that she gave birth to a baby with downs syndrome rather than opting for an abortion. Everything else pales in comparison. She’s viewed as a pro-life politicians who practices what she preaches. Each conservative politician who ends up caught in the men’s room with a male prostitute or in Argentina with a soul mate, only makes Palin’s authenticity more powerful.
(And Palin is aware of the political importance, saying that the birth of Trig allowed her to “walk the walk” in her pro-life views. “I feel so privileged and blessed to be, I guess, chosen to have Trig in our life,” she told James Dobson, “because I do want to help us in in our cause here.”
She wears Christian protective armor. She uses every attack on her as proof that someone is out to get her and in fact many Christians believe that anti-Palin bias is anti-Christian bias. Like some superhero with special powers, the more she’s attacked the stronger she becomes.
Religoius conservatives will be as important if not more so in the 2012 Republican primaries. Evangleicals acocunted for a bigger percentage of John McCain’s general election vote than of George Bush’s meaning that these voters have become amore central part of the party coalition. Two of the three early states (Iowa and South Carolina) have large evangelical populations, the third (New Hampshire) liking “mavericky” types.
IOU Collection Machine – The most important advantage for Palin is the most simple: she can travel. She’ll be sought after to raise money and campaign for Republican candidates around the country. The more she does, the more IOUs she collects. Within two years, she’ll go from a popular outsider, to a woman with a lot of friends.
Her behavior since the election has not positioned her well with independents or for a general election. But politicians like her usually focus on the nomination first, and viewed through that prism, her decision to resign is neutral to positive for her.
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About Steve Waldman
- Safe, Legal & Early: A New Way of Thinking About abortion
- A Modest Proposal: Conservatives Back Gay Marriage; Gays Back Covenant Marriage
- The Rick Warren Interview
- Inaugural Prayer Archive
- 2008 v. 2004 Results by Faith
- The Obama-Falsani Interview
- The Gene Robinson Interview
Best Posts That No One Read:
- Our Patriotic Holy War
- Obama's White Family and Black Church
- Science & Religion Dispatched from Cambridge
Little Known Facts:
- The Rise of Prayerism
- Deism--It's Back!
- Abortion vs. Gays: The Evangelical Age Gap
- The Spiritual Atheists
Still Cracks Me Up:
Posts That Annoy Conservatives:
Posts That Annoy Liberals:
- Thomas Jefferson: Believer in Intelligent Design?
- Obama's White House Shouldn't Vet Prayers
- Agreeing with Values Voters
- Why the Catholic Bishops Matter on Health Care
- How to Defuse the Health Care Abortion Issue
- In Defense of Bloody Aborted Fetus Photos
Posts That Annoy Everyone: