Being Right: What the Party Needs?



There have been recent rumblings that Sarah Palin will be running for President in 2012. After making a big splash with her vice presidential campaign in 2008, Palin continues to be one of the defining Republicans in the post-Bush political world. She is now emerging as one of the top Republican challengers to Barack Obama. Let’s get one thing straight right away: Sarah Palin will run in 2012.

In modern presidential races, the media determines the frontrunners by the amount of the coverage they give to each of the candidates. Potential candidates become frontrunners by declaring themselves as good candidates early on in the race. The media has begun putting forth Palin as a frontrunner nearly three years before the 2012 election. Therefore, it is certain that she will be present in the 2012 primary races. Simply put, she would be crazy to ignore the media support she is currently receiving.

Palin has many good qualities. After resigning as the Governor of Alaska, she wrote a wildly successful book, Going Rogue. She has been a trendsetter within the Republican Party. She was the first major Republican politician to support Doug Hoffman in the 2009 election for New York’s 23rd Congressional District. She has become an unofficial figurehead for the anti-Obama Tea Party Movement. Palin has large amounts of political credibility among the right wing of the Republican Party. Although most in the Northeastern United States have no love for her social conservatism, her stances against abortion and gay marriage appeal to a very large number of voters in the heartland of America.

Palin’s political tactics are very uncomplicated. Her barrages of “maverick” and “you betcha” are political maneuvers. She intends to be a non-elitist candidate of Middle America, just as President Obama positions himself as an intellectual savior of the rich and poor. Yet while many Democrats snub their noses at her down-home jargon, it is that jargon that makes her appealing to a large percentage of Americans. She, like many of today’s politicians, positions herself as a Populist. Yet she is one of the few that has the working-class background to make it believable. Palin is a breath of fresh air in the face of the typical Washington politician from the law firm of Harvard, Columbia, Yale and Sons. She is, above all, a self-made woman, who, unlike Obama appointee Hillary Clinton, worked her way up the American political ladder.

However, for all of her good qualities, Palin is not what the Republican Party needs. The fact of the matter is that most informed voters do not take Palin seriously. Many see through her rhetoric to find a politician that is very self-contradictory. She is an ardent social conservative, yet she heavily criticizes big government. She claims to support capitalism and low taxes, but she consistently endorsed government crackdown on ‘corporate greed’ during the 2008 campaign. Like our current President, she has a distinctive political style but very few substantive political convictions. I am a dyed-in-the-wool fan of the Republicans. Therefore, I am compelled to support Palin, however reluctantly. Yet it is impossible to conclude from her stated political positions that she holds the American people’s interests.

Ultimately, she is a proponent of big government at a time when America needs small government more than ever.

Sarah Palin will prove to be a valuable asset for the Republican Party. She has been leader in many Republican causes during the Obama administration. Any Republican candidate will need her support in 2012 to validate themselves with the right wing of the Party. Thus, she will ultimately play kingmaker to the 2012 challenger to Barack Obama. However, Palin herself will not make a good nominee. Her political tactics and policy positions are unappealing to moderates. She will be unelectable in a national race against President Obama. If Palin is the best the Republicans can come up with for 2012, the party is in much worse shape than we all suspected.