After Nov. 4, whether John McCain wins or loses, the Republican party is going to go into the next room, close the door and give itself a good talking to [www.politico.com]. Party apparatchiks, conservative leaders, activists and think-tank know-it-alls alike will gather and determine “whither conservatism?” and “who gets to drive?” George W. Bush slinks off into ignominy having left the Republican brand a shambles, with no obvious heir to the reins of the party save McCain, who the base is determined to keep on a leash. Moderate Republicans will attempt to argue for sanity and a broader outreach to new voters instead of scaring them, but if the Rush Limbaugh wing of the party has anything to say about it, moderation will get drowned in a bucket and they will choose the next leader of the Republican National Committee [www.latimes.com]. The lesson learned by many conservative leaders in the Democrats’ 2006 mid-term rout was that the GOP wasn’t rightwing enough, that if only Republicans had run on more staunchly social and fiscal conservative platforms – despite the unpopularity of one and the utter failure of the other – Americans would see the light and jump on board. Conservatism can never fail, it can only be failed by politicians being insufficiently conservative [www.salon.com].
Into this breach in the Grand Ol’ Party steps Sarah Palin, Conservative Dream Girl. Should McCain win, expect Palin to be an active behind-the-scenes advocate for the megaphone minority on immigration, abortion, torture, teh gays and Islamofascism; a wingnut Lady MacBeth to McCain’s manipulated, power-blind ruler. More than whispers are saying Palin’s excessive maverickiness on the campaign trail and the friction between her supporters and McCain’s are a sign she’s anticipating a loss next Tuesday and paving the way for a 2012 presidential run [www.nytimes.com]. She has undoubtedly captured the ardor of the base, her understanding of the issues and concepts of government notwithstanding. Palin’s complaint that the McCain campaign hasn’t gone negative enough on Obama is just what they want to hear. A Palin ’12 campaign would enjoy a good deal of financial support from both grassroots groups and established players, and she’d have three whole years to become more familiar with things like foreign policy, the constitution and basic math [www.factcheck.org].
There are, however, a few speed bumps on the road to installing a tanning bed in the Oval Office. Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani come to mind. Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson too, if someone wakes him up from his nap. Mitt in particular wants a return on his initial investment and won’t lie down quietly for Sarah Six-Pack to waltz off with his nomination. A full Republican primary schedule after a period of Democratic rule at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue would be a brutal gauntlet for Palin, as her opposition would have three whole years to dig up every hidden scandal, comb through every questionable association and capitalize on every breathtakingly stupid thing she’s ever said. The last two months would be a good place to start.
But that won’t stop Sarah Palin, Conservative Dream Girl. She doesn’t need to acknowledge difficulty, or even be aware of it. She has her adoring fans; she understands them, and they understand her. And to prove that, when Sarah Palin rides that ultra-conservative war pony all the way to the Republican nomination in 2012, she’ll choose as her Vice President someone who literally is one of them. Someone whose lack of qualifications and even less knowledge of the issues than Palin has is seen as an advantage. Someone the base can relate to.
Palin & the Plumber 2012
You gotta believe.
— Michael Turner