Making sense of Sarah Palin’s third-party threat

October 19, 2010

For Sarah Palin, it’s Tea Party first, Republican Party second:

Some in the GOP, it’s their last shot, it’s their last chance. We will lose faith, and we will be disappointed and disenchanted from them if they start straying from the bedrock principles. … If they start straying, then why not a 3rd party?

A few observations:

1. She’s in, but not as a third-party spoiler. Let me reiterate that I think Palin is almost certainly running for president as a Republican. So does the Romney campaign. So does Weekly Standard reporter and Palin expert Matthew Continetti:

I do [see her running]. I see her endorsing candidates and joining them on the trail, raising money through her political action committee, establishing a national voice through her books and upcoming television series, and engaging the Obama administration through television appearances, Facebook, and Twitter. Palin sees her influence in Republican circles, sees her continued popularity among Republicans, sees the potential weaknesses in Obama, and sees the potential parallels between the 1980 election and the 2012 election. She’s getting ready.

2. She has a shot. I also think she can certainly win the GOP nomination and presidency. The media-created caricature of her has created such a low competence hurdle that she only needs to be as well-spoken/well-versed on policy as the typical member of Congress to clear it.  In fact, she may already be there. And don’t underestimate the Dancing with the Stars factor.  Bristol Palin’s time on the show is allowing America to see a whole another side of the Palin family, one that seems firmly in tune with middle-American culture.

And the bigger the GOP primary field — and it is looking like it could be quite crowded right now — the better it is for her (and Mitt Romney). As for the general, two more years of abnormally high unemployment — twice as high as the typical level for the past generation — has created  for vulnerability for Obama that is hard to measure. But the midterm results will give a big hint.

3.  She has a potent potential agenda. If I were plotting a Palin campaign, I would encourage her to run on a free-market populist agenda. That would mean pushing free trade agreements while attacking Obama for being soft on Chinese protectionism. That would mean advocating less cumbersome financial regulation while attacking Obama for not breaking up the big banks on Wall Street. That would mean advocating lower corporate taxes but reducing corporate loopholes and subsidies. In short, portray Obama as soft on banks, China and big business.  That, and him being a big spender and taxer who has failed to turn around the U.S. economy, natch.

4. She’s Ronald Reagan — at least a smidge. Palin frequently invokes the name of the 40th president. Of course, she can’t match his decades of debating public issues before winning the presidency in 1980. But like RR, Palin has been maligned and downgraded by the media and punditocracy. But when Reagan stood next to Jimmy Carter and got to make his case in his own words, opinions changed.

4 comments

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[...] HMM: Earlier I mentioned a Rush Limbaugh third-party threat. Now I see there’s one from Sarah Palin: [...]

Interesting article. I would suggest that “Free Trade” in any form is not a winning issue. America’s industrial economy is down to 12% of GDP. Much of the recession is the inevitable result of the ridiculous free trade agreements, and the fantasy of the “service economy”. My fortune 1000 company is now outsourcing marketing jobs to India. What’s left for Americans to do: empty bedpans of flip burgers? Of such occupations great nations are not made.

Palin, or other successful GOP candidates would do well to take up real populism, not the mock-populism of the Forbes-magazine crowd. Free trade has failed. The proof is all around you. Our biggest car company is a bankrupt hulk, Kia’s and Hyundai’s rule the streets. India and China will soon want to import cars here – cars built in subisdized factories, by low-wage workers, without any overhead of the EPA, OSHA, Unemployment Insurance, state run Disability Insurance, Medicare and Medicaid mandates, Social Security and powerful union contracts.

If we want free trade then we need to get rid of all those things. We don’t want to get rid of all those things, so we can’t have free trade.

The ruling elites of both parties have turned America from a manufacturing powerhouse into a giant banana Republic. Here in Oregon we see raw trees as a our biggest export. The “added value” of milling into lumber is done in Asia. One simple definition of a third-world nation I learned in junior high is: “exports raw materials, imports higher priced manufactured goods”.

We’re a 3rd world nation with a big Army. No wonder we fight so many wars!

Posted by DrZero | Report as abusive

[...] Sarah Palin, it’s Tea Party first, Republican Party second. James Pethokoukis This entry was posted in Global News and tagged Making, Palin’s, Sarah, sense, ThirdParty, [...]

Look, one of the things Palin realizes is that the news media will largely try to blame economic misfortune on a Republican House (I suspect the Senate will remain in Democratic hands).

She also gets, instinctively, the utter estrangement of the “cocktail party” (HT: Hillbuzz’s Kevin DuJan) ruling class that controls the GOP from the rank and file that licks envelopes and sends in the 15 and 20 dollar contributions. They are all for Romney.

So she has decided to run against the DC Republicans (the Murkowski/Miller shenanigans are a foreshadowing of this) and only then against Obama. She has to triangulate, as Clinton did. Palin is aware that the first thing the GOP Establishment will do once they are back in a Majority is go straight down to K-Street, kick the Democrats out of the way, and dive into the hog trough.

The last thing she wants to do is be identified with the Neo-DeLay Republicans. Palin will remain a renegade, and run for President that way.

Posted by section9 | Report as abusive

Don’t worry! The GOP will “go along to get along” with the Tea Party instead of with the Elite because there is a new sheriff in town. Whether or not it is a lasting change will depend on the “sheriff” staying involved with the principles of fiscal responsibility, shrinking the size and scope of the Federal Government, and the restoration of the Constitution.

Posted by arnonerik | Report as abusive

I never really had a problem with John McCain – a tad old, but generally a pretty reasonable guy. But I will NEVER forgive him for bringing this woman to (in her words) ‘Lame-stream media’ and giving her an agenda to push. If Neo-Cons could take off their partisan hats and instead put on thinking hats I would sleep so much better and Sarah Palin would return to obscurity – or Hollywood?

Also – though not as if Americans care – but the rest of the world thinks LESS of Sarah Palin than even her most strident haters in America. Food for thought…

Posted by CDN_finance | Report as abusive