Why its not necessarily the Kiss off of Sarah Palin’s political career

Posted by By at 17 January, at 12 : 21 PM Print

Scott Paterno

Over the past few days, several commentators – almost all of them on the left side of the aisle – have posited whether the events in Tuscon will mark the end of Sarah Palin’s political career. The theory goes that Sarah’s comments like “don’t retreat, RELOAD” and her use of gun sights over congressional districts – including the heroically tragic Congresswoman Giffords’ district – will finally expose this gun toting “mama grizzly” as the reckless, feckless fool they are certain she is.

These are the same group of pundits who spent 2001-2009 in the “Bush stole the election” fever swamp – who actually in their heart of hearts BELIEVE there is a link between these purely rhetorical, political actions and the tragic shooting of a political opponent by a deranged kid.

But even a loose fit could spell political doom for some candidates whose base is moderate in nature. This is hardly a description of Sarah’s supporters. What this means is that in order for this to be the “end of her career” two things must be proven to be fact: 1) that the gunman did base his actions on her PAC’s website; and 2) the far right believes that this is really true.

For all of the vitriolic spewing against vitriol that Paul Krugman cares to do, the inescapable fact is that very few – if any – of Sarah’s supporters link the shooting with her actions. This is, in the main, because there is NO link, but facts are rarely dispositive these days (remember Dan Rather’s “fake, but accurate” nonsense?).

No, the portion of the GOP base still enamored with Gov. Palin – and most rational thinking people – recognize that the use of targets in politics is hardly a literal call to arms. Is it perhaps over the top? Sure – but so is claiming that reducing school subsidies is akin to wanting to starve poor kids.

Keep in mind, nothing would improve the GOP’s prospects in 2012 as much as Gov. Palin exiting for a couple of years, as I have stated before. As popular as she is with the base, she is an enormous liability with the middle of the electorate that actually decide elections these days. The left – rather than praying for her exit – ought to be seeking her nomination as perhaps the best and only path to President Obama’s re-election (it will take a radical and unsophisticated candidate to make Obama’s administration look moderate and/or competent thus far).

Regardless of the pundit class’ opinions, the bottom line is simple: Sarah Palin has a place at the table as long as she represents a segment of the electorate that feels it has been betrayed by compromised moderate Republicans and the entire Democratic party alike – and that group will have a say in the 2012 GOP primary. Like her or hate her, Sarah is not going anywhere.

One concluding thought from a non Palin-o-phile: even though I think it would help my party and the issues I care about, I would be disheartened if this did end Gov. Palin’s career, because it would be unfair. The use of targets is commonplace to identify goals –for example, I ran in a “targeted race.” The use of military jargon is a non-partisan concept; Clinton’s 1992 team worked out of the “warroom” and developed a “rapid response” team built on military (ironically) terms.

So let’s all stop being so sanctimonious – this isolated tragedy had no more to do with Sarah Palin than it did the Barrack Obama.

(So what is the upshot for Sarah Palin’s political career — Palin is mum , but the speculation is still running wild click on Rock The Capital for more.)


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This post was written by:
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Scott Paterno is an accomplished policy analyst and political consultant based in Hershey, PA. Mr. Paterno, never one to sit still, has practiced law, run for a house seat, and worked as lobbyist in Harrisburg and Washington. Paterno is Vice Chairman of the Sustainable Energy Fund and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Political Science. He is happily married with three children. - Email scottp

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