Josh has left a comment about my post "Piling On Palin" and his views are worth showcasing here. His cogent comments should remind all of our readers to click on the comment feature at the end of each post. The comments that so many of you leave here actually add greatly to the value of the blog.
Here's what Josh has to say:
The difference is that Huckabee, Romney and Pawlenty all finished out their terms (in Huckabee's and Pawlenty's cases, multiple full terms). Palin resigned in the middle of her first term, and did so, even by Republican accounts, in a very clumsy manner. If she tries to run in 2012, she's going to have a hard time explaining that to the satisfaction of independent voters.
As for why Dems pay so much attention to her, it's probably because she comes across as divisive and in-your-face with her beliefs, much like Nancy Pelosi is for the left. She gets under her opponents' skin, so when she has a moment of vulnerability (the Couric interview, etc.), they're more than happy to exploit it.
Reagan espoused his values in a more genteel, welcoming way. Reagan understood that everybody wasn't going to agree with him on every part of his ideology. But he based his message on a few key non-divisive issues that unified Americans of many persuasions. That's how he won over the Reagan Democrats (of course, Jimmy Carter being the worst President of the last 60 years helped his cause).
Sarah Palin, however, went on the campaign trail last year talking about "Real Americans" and questioning people's patriotism and belief in their country's values. The implication was that anyone who didn't believe in her brand of conservatism was somehow less of an American. Maybe that wasn't her intent. But between her campaign style and some of the words that she said and some of the things that happened at her rallies, that's how it came across. And while it fired up her party's base, it equally galvanized her opponent's base against her.
I don't recall Reagan inspiring that kind of divisiveness. I don't recall him questioning Jimmy Carter's patriotism or accusing Walter Mondale of palling around with terrorists. He unified.
If Sarah Palin or any other Republican wants to win next year or in 2012, they need to run the type of campaign that Reagan did, and that Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell did this year. Espouse conservative principles, but do so based on the issues of the day in your constituency. Present a clear alternative to your opponent, but don't be a jerk about it. And don't focus simply on pandering to your base with culture war rhetoric. Reagan, Christie and McDonnell didn't win because of their stances on abortion, gay marriage and gun rights.
Thanks, Josh for taking the time to leave very throughtful and insightful comments!