Monday, November 01, 2010


Politico's lead story right now foresees a possible conservative crack-up in the future, and while I'd love to believe the scenario, I'm not sure it's going to play out this way. I'll explain below.

Next for GOP leaders: Stopping Palin

Top Republicans in Washington and in the national GOP establishment say the 2010 campaign highlighted an urgent task that they will begin in earnest as soon as the elections are over: Stop Sarah Palin.

Interviews with advisers to the main 2012 presidential contenders and with other veteran Republican operatives make clear they see themselves on a common, if uncoordinated, mission of halting the momentum and credibility Palin gained with conservative activists by plunging so aggressively into this year's midterm campaigns.

There is rising expectation among GOP elites that Palin will probably run for president in 2012 and could win the Republican nomination, a prospect many of them regard as a disaster in waiting....

"There is a determined, focused establishment effort ... to find a candidate we can coalesce around who can beat Sarah Palin," said one prominent and longtime Washington Republican. "We believe she could get the nomination, but Barack Obama would crush her." ...

In the abstract, I don't see how they do this without finding another Palin -- someone who gets the crazy base's juices flowing as much as she does. The other people who seem to want this most (Romney, Pawlenty) aren't going get that job done. John Thune, whom various insiders seem to favor, voted for TARP, so he's toast. Maybe Gingrich? Not the most appealing candidate to the center.

And I gather that this is people like Karl Rove and the American Crossroads/Chamber of Commerce crowd vs. Palin -- but if they want to take her on, they're going to have to go after the sometime employer of both Rove and Palin: Fox News. They're going to have to persuade Murdoch and Ailes to actively discredit the notion of taking on the GOP establishment, and implicitly or explicitly discredit Palin herself as a possible candidate. They're going to have to rein in Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and the rest of that crowd. I don't see how that can happen. You'd think Murdoch would be canny enough to want to prevent a Palin presidency, but he knows that calls to counterrevolution are great for his ratings. And how does he suddenly change the message of his flagship media outlet? How does he unring this bell?

I think what's really going to happen is what happened in Kentucky and Nevada and Colorado: the Rove/fat-cat crowd will acknowledge the inevitability of a Palin candidacy, and possibly a Palin victory in the primaries, and just get ready to rally around her and work like hell to remake her image -- which is precisely what they did when Rand Paul and Sharron Angle and Ken Buck beat establishment-GOP candidates.

And since we can pretty much assume we're going to have unemployment over 9% continuously between now and then, with the chance that we'll be in a far worse situation, quite possibly because of GOP policies acceded to by Obama in the spirit of "compromise," who won't be able to beat Obama, in the fourth year of a near-depression?

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