Sarah Palin: Is There Anything She Can't Do?
Friday, October 29, 2010 - 09:10 AM
Having already covered that any and all rage can be directed at Sarah Palin, today's topic is Sarah Palin and her obvious superpowers. The reality show star, the news commentator and the mother of a Dancing with the Stars contestant is both the most amazing politician who ever lived and also the worst. She's that versatile.
Writing in the Daily Caller yesterday, Dorian Davis blames her for Republicans likely not capturing the Senate on Tuesday. This is amazing for several reasons. For one thing, it hasn't happened yet: this might be the first time Sarah Palin is blamed for something that only may happen. For another thing, Republicans need to capture 10 seats to win control of the Senate. That is, as I can imagine Palin saying, a whole heck of a lot. Davis writes:
Her backing of Tea Party candidate Joe Miller over incumbent GOP senator Lisa Murkowski in Alaska’s primaries, for instance, led to pointless drama: a Miller upset and subsequent Murkowski write-in campaign. Despite a minor speed bump though — the latest CNN/Time poll has Murkowski and Miller tied at 37 percent each and the National Republican Senatorial Committee is spending $160,000, a small fraction of its budget, to keep an otherwise safe seat from falling into Democratic hands — experts at least expect the GOP to hold Alaska.
So her big crime is supporting the candidate she thinks is best for the job? Scandalous!
Here's a reminder of what happens when people support a candidate just for the sake of the party. In 2004, Pat Toomey ran for the Republican nomination to US Senate from Pennsylvania against sitting Senator, and walking disaster, Arlen Specter. Specter, while having the requisite (R) following his name, was trouble for Republicans. He was an unreliable Republican vote who supported amnesty for illegal immigrants and eventually a public healthcare option, and whose power was growing with each year he spent in the Senate.
George W. Bush and then-US Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum campaigned for Specter because the party apparently came before their principles. Their support gave Specter the narrow edge and thus the election. Santorum would go on to lose his own seat, at least in part because conservatives in Pennsylvania were still bitter over his support of Specter. And Specter? The guy who we all had to support because he was a Republican? He's not a Republican anymore. Out of political expediency, which ended up backfiring on him, he became a Democrat in 2009.
This is why supporting a candidate can not only be about party; it must also be an alignment of values and trust in the person's ability. Sarah Palin is doing the right thing backing candidates who appeal to her personally. That's what a private citizen should do. Her endorsement carries that much more weight because of it. No one considers her a party shill, and she doesn't always pick the strong horse. Davis writes that her support of Christine O'Donnell will cost Republicans the Delaware Senate seat. Perhaps, but who knows if Republicans would have won it anyway? Now if Palin had supported Mike Castle that would have lost her some credibility. He was a fine candidate, but it would have been clear that Palin was picking him out of political calculation, not because she agreed with him on the issues.
Ultimately, Palin has influence, but she isn't the be-all end-all in conservative politics. Voters make their own decisions, and to blame (or cheer) Palin for those choices is farfetched.
Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 Baby. She can be followed on Twitter.