Ben Buchwalter

Palin in 2012? I Doubt It.
October 23, 2008, 8:37 pm
Filed under: 2010 and 2012, Republicans | Tags: , ,

Both Ambinder (Atlantic) and Yglesias (Think Progress) have written today that Governor Sarah Palin is the leading contender for the 2012 Republican nomination if the McCain/Palin ticket fails on November 4. It would make sense for the 2008 VP candidate to turn around and run for President in 2008 in regular circumstances, but that is simply not the case here. Recent polls have shown that Palin is the central reason that McCain has dropped so sharply in the polls. More voters have chosen not to vote for McCain because of his choice of Palin as his running mate than because of his connection to George W. Bush. And he is very unpopular. 

So why would she run in 2012? If she thinks that the VP nominee gets a lot of scrutiny, then she would be in for a rude awakening while running for President. In that case, you can’t hide from questions about foreign or domestic issues because you actually have to endure a couple hundred primary debates (and, you know, be accountable for yourself). And her largest weakness, foreign policy, is not likely to get any stronger. This could only improve if she were to finish her term as Governor in time to run for US Senate in 2010 (She would face Republican incumbent Lisa Murkowski). But since Palin became the Republican nominee, her popularity in Alaska has plummeted so it could be difficult for her to overcome an incumbent in the Republican primary.

So in 2012, I think that Romney, Giuliani, and Huckabee will all be back and will compete much more strongly than they did this year. I think we will also see Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty enter the race (it would be smart for the GOP to try to get some of those blue battleground states back). Also, Texas senator Kay Bailey Hutchenson could take a shot at the nomination as many commentators have been saying that she should have been chosen in lieu of Palin because of her strong appeal to moderate and independent voters.

In short, Palin will be a future star in the Republican party. But most likely as a commentator for FOX News, not as a Presidential candidate.


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