The unstoppable Palin?
probably the first Frank Rich column
I’ve read in its entirety in several years. It captures the weird fact, as Rich puts it, that what might bring down other politicians only seems to make Palin stronger, that every attack on her only seems to strengthen her.
Here are highlights:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 21, 2010 03:15 PM | Send
Could She Reach the Top in 2012? You Betcha
Palin is on the top of her worlds—both the Republican Party and the media universe. “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” set a ratings record for a premiere on TLC, attracting nearly five million viewers—twice the audience of last month’s season finale of the blue-state cable favorite, “Mad Men.” The next night Palin and her husband Todd were enshrined as proud parents in touchy-feely interviews on “Dancing With the Stars,” the network sensation (21 million viewers) where their daughter Bristol has miraculously escaped elimination all season despite being neither a star nor a dancer. This week Sarah Palin will most likely vanquish George W. Bush and Keith Richards on the best-seller list with her new book.
But logic doesn’t apply to Palin. What might bring down other politicians only seems to make her stronger…. In an angry time when America’s experts and elites all seem to have failed, her amateurism and liabilities are badges of honor. She has turned fallibility into a formula for success.
Republican leaders who want to stop her, and they are legion, are utterly baffled about how to do so. Democrats, who gloat that she’s the Republicans’ problem, may be humoring themselves. When Palin told Barbara Walters last week that she believed she could beat Barack Obama in 2012, it wasn’t an idle boast. Should Michael Bloomberg decide to spend billions on a quixotic run as a third-party spoiler, all bets on Obama are off.
Thanks to the in-kind contribution of this “nonpolitical” series, Palin needn’t join standard-issue rivals like Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour and Tim Pawlenty in groveling before donors and primary-state operatives to dutifully check all the boxes of a traditional Republican campaign. Palin not only has TLC in her camp but, better still, Murdoch. Other potential 2012 candidates are also on the Fox News payroll, but Palin is the only one, as Alessandra Stanley wrote in The Times, whose every appearance is “announced with the kind of advance teasing and clip montages that talk shows use to introduce major movie stars.”
With Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity on her side, Palin hardly needs the grandees of the so-called Republican establishment. They know it and flail at her constantly.
When Palin mocks her G.O.P. establishment critics as tortured, paranoid, sleazy and a “good-old-boys club,” she pays no penalty for doing so. The more condescending the attacks on her, the more she thrives. This same dynamic is also working for her daughter Bristol, who week after week has received low scores and patronizing dismissals from the professional judges on “Dancing with the Stars” only to be rescued by populist masses voting at home.
Revealingly, Sarah Palin’s potential rivals for the 2012 nomination have not joined the party establishment in publicly criticizing her. They are afraid of crossing Palin and the 80 percent of the party that admires her. So how do they stop her? Not by feeding their contempt in blind quotes to the press—as a Romney aide did by telling Time’s Mark Halperin she isn’t “a serious human being.” Not by hoping against hope that Murdoch might turn off the media oxygen that feeds both Palin’s viability and News Corporation’s bottom line. Sooner or later Palin’s opponents will instead have to man up—as Palin might say—and actually summon the courage to take her on mano-a-maverick in broad daylight.
Short of that, there’s little reason to believe now that she cannot dance to the top of the Republican ticket when and if she wants to.