By telling Barbara Walters that she thinks she can defeat President Obama, Sarah Palin has dimmed hopes cherished by sensible Republicans that she might decide against a run for the White House in 2012. Here are just some of the reasons she should not run.The GOP better hope she doesn't run in 2012.
The Republican nominee should be someone with vast and impressive experience in government and the private sector -- and a proven record. Voters chose a novice with plenty of star power in 2008 and will be inclined to swing strongly in the other direction in 2012. Americans will be looking for sober competence, managerial skill, and maturity, not sizzle and flash.
After the 2008 campaign revealed her weaknesses on substance, Palin was advised by those who admire her natural gifts to bone up on policy and devote herself to governing Alaska successfully. Instead, she quit her job as governor after two and a half years, published a book (another is due next week), and seemed to chase money and empty celebrity. Now, rather than being able to highlight the accomplishments of Sarah Palin's Alaska, we get "Sarah Palin's Alaska," another cheesy entrant in the reality show genre. She'd so much rather be out dog sledding than in some "dull political office," she tells the audience. File that.
She is wildly popular with a swath of the Republican electorate, it's true. And, as a conservative woman politician told me, the consultants (who get paid the big bucks win or lose) will doubtless descend upon her with game plans showing how she can win in Iowa and then cruise to the nomination. Maybe. But the general election would be a problem, since 53 percent of independent voters view Palin unfavorably, according to a recent Gallup poll, along with 81 percent of Democrats.
There is no denying that Sarah Palin has been harshly, sometimes even brutally treated by the press and the news/entertainment gaggle. But any prominent Republican must expect some of that and be able to transcend it. She compares herself to Reagan. But Reagan didn't mud wrestle with the press. Palin seems consumed and obsessed by it, as her rapid Twitter finger attests, and thus encourages the sniping. She should be presiding over meetings on oil and gas leases in the North Slope, or devising alternatives to Obamacare. Every public spat with Dave Letterman or Politico, or the "lamestream media," or God help us, Levi Johnston, diminishes her.