Leave Sarah alooooooooooooone!!

Yes, Sarah Palin presents a target-rich environment. Tying other Republican candiates to Palinism is a useful political tactic. But attacking Palin herself is worse than a waste of time. Establishment Republicans have figured out that they need to keep her off the ticket in 2012. Why help them?

If you have time to spend digging up and spreading dirt about Republicans, concentrate on Romney, Huckabee, Barbour, and Pataki: especially the last two, who as yet have almost no national profile.

Update Per a commenter, I’m happy to add Mitch Daniels and Chris Christie to the target list. The work on Christie has a had start in the story of Alissa Ploshnick, the heroic schoolteacher Christie helped James O’Keefe victimize.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

14 thoughts on “Leave Sarah alooooooooooooone!!”

  1. I know that Palin is the best bet for the Republicans to lose in 2012, but is the risk of having a President who doesn't know the difference between North Korea and South Korea small enough to be worth taking? Just asking.

  2. Jimmy Carter's re-election team hoped and prayed that the Republicans would be crazy enough to nominate Ronald Reagan, because he was the one candidate they were sure they could beat.

  3. Was it Shaw that said "Hell is full of musical amateurs?

    Well I say Pshaw to that…

    Hell is full of endless photos, tweets, and links to Sarah Palin.

    Help!

    Will someone please create a browser add-on that will automatically strip out all Palin content?

  4. I don't know. It seems as if "ignoring the crazy" hasn't really stopped them at the political level. Maybe ignoring them in the broader public sphere will only allow their twisted world-view to spread completely uninhibited. Remember, this was the lady who created "death panels", right?

  5. Daniels and Christie are the two I would absolutely vote for over Obama, why have you no ire for them? Yes, I see Palin as the Christine O'Donnell (or Sharron Angle, if you prefer) of the 2012 elections, if nominated. And I would grit my teeth and vote for Obama, if Palin were the Reep nominee.

  6. No need to be attacking Palin, since the Republican primaries will do whatever is needed to discredit her. The ad that will sink her ship will feature her resignation speech, especially when she said that the point guard in a full court press has to pass the ball off. Then the grim voiceover will just say, "If she is sitting in the Oval Office, and a full court press is on, who does she think she will pass the ball to?"

    Some version of this ad is certain to appear if she actually runs and picks up any steam. It is not necessary for Democrats to go after her right now.

  7. Pataki? Someone mentioned on another blog that he's tacked to the right, and hard, since he left office. Even if that's true, can he make up for relatively social liberal past? Besides that, what's his appeal? To the extent that it is possible, he doesn't put any states in play. I doubt he wins New York, even in a very, very bad year for Democrats.

    Then again, maybe you are on to something. The candidates that worry me the most are the bland, unassuming, non-firebrands, like Daniels. I'd also add Pawlenty to that mix. Pataki wasn't that liberal, but he also wasn't that conservative. For some reason, I believe Christie when he says he will not run in 2012.

    I'd include Romney here, but I am simply not sure how he deals with the health care issue besides running away with it or insisting, contrary to, you know, reality, that what happened in Massachusetts was so different than what happened at the federal level. The press can be useless, but I am not sure I believe it's so useless as to let than crap fly. And if he runs away from it, what, exactly, does he run on? There's also the issue of his religion. Is there enough an problem amongst the religious right that they decide to not vote rather than choose between an alleged Muslim and a certified Mormon? I'm scared to find out.

    As for Palin, I don't agree with Charlie Cook on everything, but I think he's sort of right when he says that Obama must pray every night to go up against her. Unless unemployment is at 17 percent, in a match against he wins, probably by a bigger margin than last time. People can always change images of themselves, but what suggests she would do that? If anything, she'll probably double down on her current strategy. And while I don't know that much about Reagan, I know enough to say that he's not a blithering idiot like Palin. That's a key difference.

  8. Brian J:

    Reagan probably would not win a Republican primary today, especially if the right wing machine looked at his having raised taxes and having negotiated in good faith with Gorbachev. Newt Gingrich deplored these actions, and Reagan would be a RINO in the view of today's party base.

    Another key difference between Reagan and Palin is the palpable resentment and prominent chip on the shoulder of the latter, who projects her grudges widely and bitterly. Also her sing-song voice tone is a stark contrast with Reagan's husky delivery, which sounded presidential to so many voters.

    Big thing is that Reagan served two full terms and was not a quitter. The GOP primary season is likely to be a bit testy, and I remain confident that her rivals will not hesitate to capitalize on Palin's liabilities before the Democrats even fire a shot.

  9. Democrats everywhere pray that the nasty one runs. Sarah will be served up to the Republicans on a silver platter….Karl Rove & Mama Bush have already started the attack. The big boys will shred Palin during the first debate. She's in Huckabee & Gingrich's way….. & neither are getting any younger or thinner. Eventually Palin will have to appear on something other than Hannity or from her perch on FaceBook. Maybe by then….she'll know that North Korea isn't our ally. She's a birdbrain w/ a dysfunctional family….the Wasilla Hillbillies. Grandma Clampett would have been embarrassed to claim her as kin.

    ll

  10. Barbour? Does God love Obama so much to give him a virtual neo-Confederate to run against?

    In re Reagan in '80, I really don't think that Obama will combine getting primaried (by one of his party's most beloved figures, brother of one slain president and another slain almost-president, no less) and having American diplomats held hostage in a Middle East country. If the economy remains bad, there is a chance that he could lose, but it's not the way to bet.

  11. What is the tactical argument here? The politique du pire is usually a bad idea, but cendidate Palin´s defeat in 2012 is so probable that her candidacy might be worth encouraging.

    Actually the presidential prospects for the GOP are generally awful regardless of candidate, assuming the recovery continues to stumble forward. Shouldn´t progressives concentrate on restoring working congressional majorities in both houses and killing off the filibuster?

  12. Hoping for Palin to be the nominee seems to me to be what I think the British call "too clever by half."

    There are scenarios where she could win. Call it a 5% shot. Are you ready to bet the country, at 19-1 odds, that she'll lose? I'm not.

  13. I agree with Bernard that 19:1 odds are still unacceptable, but there is one other factor to consider in addition to Palin being in the way of the other Republicans who want the nomination. There is a very good chance that the tea party in 2012 will be just as disaffected at the progressives were in the 2010 election: their hopes shattered as the health care repeal runs up against the industry lobbying machines, their heroes marginalized by the establishment’s continued hold on power, and their agendas remaining unfulfilled. If the tea party is demoralized and depleted of energy, that will have an effect on Palin’s chances that will lengthen the odds considerably.

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