Monday, November 17, 2008


Story from The Hill:

Gingrich says Palin will not be the future GOP leader

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) is batting down the hype that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin heads into 2012 as the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination.

..."I think that she is going to be a significant player," said Gingrich during an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation". "But she's going to be one of 20 or 30 significant players. She's not going to be the de facto leader." ...

I'd like to direct Mr. Gingrich's attention to an ad I just saw at the blog of The American Spectator's Robert Stacy McCain:

If Palin's not the future of the GOP, apparently no one has told the folks at the Conservative Political Action Committee. Now, maybe that doesn't mean she's the next Republican nominee -- it may mean she's just the latest allegedly-hot-babe/demagogue (the role Ann Coulter used to play at CPAC before CPAC decided her bigotry had gone over the line one too many times).

But I think she's still queen of the GOP hill. If someone really is going to steal her crown, that person is going to have to be known within the party for a message that doesn't sound like this:

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty opened up a luncheon speech to his fellow governors by noting that excuses could be made, citing the unpopularity of President Bush, the Iraq war and the poor state of the economy.

But, he continued, such a rationale was "not fair and it's not complete." The party's problem, he said, is far more grave.

"We cannot be a majority governing party when we essentially cannot compete in the northeast; we are losing our ability to compete in the Great Lakes states, we cannot compete on the west coast," Pawlenty argued, also citing similar problems in the mid-Atlantic and interior west. "Similarly, we cannot compete and prevail as a majority governing party when we have a significant deficit as we do with woman, where we have a large deficit with Hispanics, where we have a large deficit with African-American voters, where we have a large deficit with people of modest incomes."

If you want to be the next star of the GOP, you might be able to get away with believing this, and you might even be able to get away with saying it (in certain carefully chosen forums) -- but what you're going to have to be known for saying is that our problems are the fault of The Enemy, and if the GOP has any flaws, it's being too much like that evil Democrat/liberal Enemy.

The 2012 nominee won't have to be the person who provides the most red meat, but he or she will have to provide enough red meat. If Palin isn't the nominee, she's going to be beaten by someone who did what Nixon did in '68 -- namely, convince resenters that he was as resentful as the people best known at the time for resentment (George Wallace and Ronald Reagan), even as he sent a message to other voters that he was reasonable man. Bush did that in 2000 -- he made the culture warriors feel it was safe to abandon Keyes and Bauer, while selling himself to the rest of the electorate as a moderate. (The question for 2012 is going to be whether the GOP goes for a straddler or stays suicidally pure with Palin.)

In any case, the point is that the next GOP star is going to have to offer at least some red meat. The very existence of Palin -- no, she's not going away -- and the nature of the GOP base mean there's simply no choice.

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