Sunday, August 07, 2011

Palin's Perry Problem

Texas Governor Rick Perry's pending entrance into the GOP Presidential primary contest poses a particular problem for Sarah Palin. Perry is making a passionate pitch for the evangelical Christian vote, particularly evident after his powerful prayer meeting. Sarah Palin's predicament is obvious. Her base consists precisely of such people who are perhaps the most influential Republican primary voting constituency. But, such people are also the most likely to prefer a conservative male candidate who meets all the other basic Tea Party criteria. It's just the gender hierarchy of fundamentalist Christianity. Because of this, Sarah Palin's criticism of Rick Perry's role in increasing Texas's debt load makes perfect sense. If Palin has any plans to run for president, she needs to pound Perry on such issues to weaken his appeal to the evangelical base she will so desperately need in order to prevail in the GOP primary contest. Even though Palin hasn't formally declared yet, I think her latest assault on Perry is perhaps the clearest evidence to date, at least to me, that she plans to run.


Eric said...

I don't think today's conservatives are more likely to prefer a male candidate. In fact, it's been rather disapointing to me since Obama's election to see so many everyday conservatives jump on the 'we need a minority or a woman' bandwagon. I've said a few times that if Tim Pawlenty was a hot latina with the same record and personality, he'd be the frontrunner by a large margin. Condi Rice is moderate and non-ideological conservative at best, but if she were to throw her hat in the ring today she would undoubtedly be the nominee. Unfortunately it is a reality in modern politics (for both parties) that after a baseline of ideological affiliation is met (or related cultural affectation such as Obama's liberal sensibility or Bush's good 'ol boy conservative persona) the best looking candidate is almost certainly going to win.

With that said, Perry has enough looks to give Palin a run for her money, and while she does have a better record when it comes to cutting spending, he has governed a much more complex state (people for get that Alaska, in spite of its size, has a population similar to Oklahoma City). And he didn't resign. Ultimately Palin's resignation moreso than anything else is what will sink her candidacy.

But you are correct that Palin does have a Perry problem, and she also has Bachmann problem. I think she has now waited to long to jump in the race, and the only question is whether or not she realizes it. Palin is making big money for the first time in her life, and if she thinks she can't win the GOP primary handily (6 months ago she could have) she may not risk giving up her rapidly growing nest egg. So I actually think recent events signify a lower probability of a Palin run, but who knows?

Huck said...

"I've said a few times that if Tim Pawlenty was a hot latina with the same record and personality, he'd be the frontrunner by a large margin."

Heh! The one problem here, Eric, is there is no way that Pawlenty could have the same personality and be a "hot latina." The two are mutually exclusive.

Also, I don't think Condi could ever be the candidate. She's not pure and firebrand enough for the GOP base. Though Herman Cain is. And yet his race isn't carrying him over the top. I think that people get beyond looks/image rather quickly. Substance does prevail in the end, which is why I think Palin would never be a viable presidential candidate.

The thing about Palin is that her gravy train depends upon maintaining the possibility that she will run. Once that becomes remote, her 15 minutes are up and the gravy train runs dry. If she is leading folks on for personal profit, the cynicism of it is staggering. Who would ever want a president that cynical?

BTW, did you like the alliteration I employed in my original posting?

Eric said...

I draw dazzling delight from absurdly awesome alliteration.

Eric said...

Also, I disagree that Palin's gravy train ends with her potential candidacy. She already makes a million dollars a year as a Fox News employee, and could easily go the Huckabee route. In fact, if Republicans manage to take back either the White House or Senate (or both) in 2012, I think the best thing Palin could possibly do is become a full time pundit dedicated to keeping the establishment Repubs in check and the newer Tea Party Congressmen on track. She has a built in audience for such a show, and if Republicans win back control of the government there will be a huge power struggle within the party (the current "Tea Party upstart" drama will pale in comparison to what happens if the GOP actually gains a legislative mandate). There will be great demand for such a show, and Palin would be perfect to fill it. She's way more likeable than Shawn Hannity. I bet she could pull similar ratings.

I'd so much rather see her do that than see her fun for POTUS. Maybe she's as selfish as I hope she is!