My jaw kept dropping every time I read a right-of-center commentator who is licking their chops over a Sarah Palin candidacy in 2012.
For one thing, the 2008 election isn't even over. For another, how could these people ignore the obvious: While McCain has brought his own baggage to the big dance, his partner has been like a giant anchor, pulling the ticket down, down, down with every passing week since her post-convention boomlet faded like so many summer flowers.
Isn't it obvious that Palin will slink back to Alaska on November 5 to face the fallout from Troopergate and her other Cheney-esque abuses of power? As it is, she probably will have a helluva gubernatorial re-election fight in 2010 and may decide that the path of least resistance to Washington is appointing herself to Ted Stevens' Senate seat should he be forced to resign. Or maybe she can ride her celebrity to a Fox News show.
And then, dumb old me, I finally understood.
A Palin presidential run in 2012 would represent the final right-wing takeover of the Republican Party. This is because Palin has done something that McCain could never do: Energize the GOP's ultra conservative base even as the Republican tide has been running out.
These are the angrily moralistic culture warriors who don't give a damn that the more voters have gotten to know Palin the less they like her. Or that she is less qualified than Tina Fey and would be unprepared for that 3 a.m. phone call in 2012, let alone today.
For them abortion, gays and stem-cell research are the big issues, and their self-righteous sycophancy is far more important than the likelihood that a right-wing takeover will marginalize the GOP to the point of near electoral extinction outside the Deep South while further alienating the moderate Republicans and independents who are flocking to Barack Obama in droves.
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