The Woman Who Wins in the Sanford Affair

June 25th, 2009 at 1:03 pm David Frum | 57 Comments |

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It’s plain enough who the losers are in the Mark Sanford story: the governor, his family and loved ones. But there are winners too – the surviving GOP presidential candidates relieved of one more competitor in the crowded right edge of the party field. Who is likeliest to benefit?

Nominations are open. My guess: Gov. Sarah Palin.

Despite her advantages in opinion polls, Palin faces considerable obstacles en route to a GOP nomination.

1) It was Mitt Romney not Sarah Palin who came second in the 2008 contest – and the GOP has repeatedly turned next time to the candidate who finished second last time. (IE: John McCain finished second in 2000, Bob Dole finished second in 1988, George HW Bush finished second in 1980, Ronald Reagan finished second in 1976.)

2) Romney has already established an effective fund-raising and vote-mobilizing apparatus. Palin has to begin from zero.

3) Palin is prone to emotional mistakes, including her breach with Levi Johnston, father of her grandchild, and a man to keep inside the tent if there ever were one. (What do you bet that Johnston becames a national campaign correspondent for MTV or Comedy Central in 2012?)

Palin’s best hope is to quickly consolidate a conservative following and frame the choice as one between a “true conservative” and an unacceptably moderate Romney. Entry into the race by a Mike Huckabee, a Mark Sanford, a Newt Gingrich or a Bobby Jindal – each with their own credible conservative credentials – adds to the difficulty of her not-easy task. The fewer such entrants the better. Now there will be one fewer.

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57 Comments so far ↓

  • ottovbvs

    barker13 wrote 28 minutes ago”** Seriously. Explain how our debts and especially our unfunded future liabilities (which Obama and the Dems are busy expanding) will simply take care of themselves. Honor us with your theories concerning how the deindustrialization of America is nothing to worry about.”…….The public debt while a growing problem is actually much smaller as a percentage of GDP than it was in 1945, so it’s by no means unmanageable if the will exists…….You are however correct about the deindustrialization of America…’s a major structural problem……however don’t I remember you railing against plans to rescue the US auto industry.

  • KL7212

    >>Actually Sarah Palin energizes more than the base. Her relative unsophistication is attractive to those who are tired of the elitism that passes for our representatives and other leaders these days. People respond to a populist and she shops at Wal Mart like the rest of America. Sorry, but in my rather dismal moderate-conservative view of the world, I’d rather have the “elites” running things. I’d rather have brilliant guys like Barack Obama or Bobby Jindal in charge of the show than a spoiled, overprivileged, intellectual mediocrity like George W. Bush.The last eight years has soured me on the GOP’s phony populism. I’m tired of elitist twits like Mitt Romney who think that they can become “men of the people” simply by exchanging their $3000 suits for cowboy hats and work overalls. I’m sick of multi-millionaires like Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham spouting off about “elites” while living pampered lives in East Coast cities.

  • KL7212

    Besides, why are we talking about 2012 anyway?3 years is a political lifetime. We have no idea what we’ll be facing on the ground in 6 months, let alone 2 or 3 years from now…

  • balconesfault

    “Sorry, but in my rather dismal moderate-conservative view of the world, I’d rather have the “elites” running things. “I like Jon Stewart’s take on it:”You know what, candidates? I know elite is a bad word in politics. You want to go bowling and throw back a few beers. But the job you’re applying for, if you get it and it goes well, they might carve your head into a mountain! If you don’t actually think you’re better than us, then what the [expletive] are you doing? “

  • Cforchange

    KL – and shopping at Wal Mart is part of the problem…. No skill low pay jobs selling junk for cheap that we don’t even make. Oh but they give you a smock so if you start drooling, you’re covered.But the one thing I’m thankful for regarding WM, thank goodness they dropped that ugly grey/ navy adopting the more environ appealing camo tan store color. Maybe soon we won’t even know we’re shopping there.

  • ottovbvs

    balconesfault wrote 49 minutes ago”Sorry, but in my rather dismal moderate-conservative view of the world, I’d rather have the “elites” running things. “…….Somehow I think most people would prefer that elite surgeon taking their appendix out rather than Joe the plumber…….One of the Republican party’s besetting sins of late is their hypocrisy over elitism and intellectualism……They practice elitism themselves but spend endless hours accusing their opponents of it…..the result schizophrenia and incompetence……..In practice most people want elitism…….A good example is the British Royal Navy in the age of fighting sail….popular wisdom would have you believe the only reason seamen obeyed orders and followed their officers was fear of the lash…….well as anyone who has done any sailing will tell you in force 6 these British seaman wanted the guys on the quarter deck to be elitists who knew what they were doing.

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