Sarah Palin and the Future

I‘ve been watching this disgusting performance concerning Palin and anonymous McCain staffers leaking unflattering information about her from a distance, not really wanting to get involved in it. While I understand that it is fairly normal for a losing campaign to evidence some of the dissonance that helped them take 2nd place, this has been both unprofessional and unseemly on the part of those doing the ‘leaking’.

All that to say the very same staffer’s (and some pundits) who’ve also declared that Palin was one of the big reasons McCain lost have a Rasmussen poll to munch on before they open their traps and again make themselves look foolish:

Only 20% of GOP voters say Palin hurt the party’s ticket, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Six percent (6%) say she had no impact, and five percent (5%) are undecided.

Ninety-one percent (91%) of Republicans have a favorable view of Palin, including 65% who say their view is Very Favorable. Only eight percent (8%) have an unfavorable view of her, including three percent (3%) Very Unfavorable.

When asked to choose among some of the GOP’s top names for their choice for the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, 64% say Palin. The next closest contenders are two former governors and unsuccessful challengers for the presidential nomination this year — Mike Huckabee of Arkansas with 12% support and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts with 11%.

Three other sitting governors – Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Charlie Crist of Florida and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota – all pull low single-digit support.

And in case that still hasn’t sunk in, try this:

These findings echo a survey earlier this week which found that Republicans were happier with their vice presidential candidate than with their presidential nominee. Seventy-one percent (71%) said McCain made the right choice by picking Palin as his running mate, while only 65% said the party picked the right nominee for president.

So it appears to me, at least when considering this poll and those numbers, that the reason the Republicans lost the election was John McCain.

I guess the McCain staffers involved in this bit of nastiness had better get used to the fact that Sarah Palin is going to be around in Republican circles for a long time.

What she has to do, obviously, is go to school. And I have little doubt that’s something she can easily accomplish.

One top McCain aide came to Palin’s defense today. Randy Scheunemann, McCain’s top foreign policy adviser, who helped prepare Palin for her vice presidential debate, praised Palin’s campaign effort and intelligence.

“I’ve been working over 20 years in Washington and I’ve been around literally dozens and dozens of politicians. She is among the smartest, toughest, most capable politicians I’ve ever dealt with,” Scheunemann said. “She has a photographic memory.”

She also has to broaden her appeal. One of the things no one seems to understand is the role she played, that of the attack dog, is the traditional role of a VP candidate.

That. Was. Her. Job.

That is also now something she has to overcome.

As to the nasty rumors – Nichole Wallace has been named as one of those spreading them. In an interview today she took a very large step in disavowing that and stating “Sarah Palin did nothing wrong”.

Palin is going to be around a while. As stated, she has some work to do. But as even Bill Clinton understood, she’s an instinctive politician who has the ability to connect with people and turn them on and turn them out. If you thought McCain suffered a fairly heavy defeat with her, imagine what it would have been like without her. She has the type of charisma effective politicians must have. Something that McCain has never had nor will ever have. And you can add Romney, Pawletney and Crist to that list as well.

What I’m waiting to see is her unplugged – away from the constraints of playing second fiddle to a marginal candidate with a flawed campaign plan and the thankless job of doing the dirty work for a campaign which, at least among some, didn’t seem to understand or appreciate what they had.

She’ll be interesting to watch over the next 4 years.

[Crossposted at QandO]

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