How serious is Sarah Palin about 2012?
She’s been quiet of late, taking a break from the front pages while the mainstream Republican party constipates the entire American legislative process. She’s been emitting no more than a succession of combative tweets and rambling Facebook statuses, but there’s been a Bit of a Development, and it suddenly looks uncomfortably like she’s been putting all her downtime to malevolent use: she’s been fundraising.
And how: a report filed with the Federal Election Commission on Sunday night shows that she raised $886,000 in the second quarter of this year. She also spent $742,000 in the same period – and that’s big money at this stage of a campaign.
According to an excellent article published on US politics website Politico, her Political Action Committee – the name Americans give to a private group organized to elect candidates (thanks, Wikipedia) has raised more money than any other Republican except Mitt Romney. It says:
The committee, Sarah PAC, also…reported its biggest-ever round of donations to candidates – $87,500 – and its highest outlays for travel costs, including $17,000 on private jet fare to crisscross the country for high-profile political speaking gigs, and speechwriting. It also showed continued payments for that speechwriting as well as foreign and domestic policy consulting, and its first ever payments to a scheduler.
In short, for the first time since the 2008 campaign when she was the vice-presidential running mate to GOP presidential candidate John McCain, Palin is supported by a political operation befitting someone considering a presidential run.
So, how serious is the threat, and should we be worried? It is, at least, fairly evident that she would be a menace if she ever got her feet under the Oval Office desk. No sober observer of geopolitics would want to see her get that far – but is it a realistic scenario?
Well, for one thing, the Republican Party has slyly been distancing itself from her particular brand of folksy inanity for some time now. CPAC, meanwhile, an influential conservative forum, found that only seven per cent of delegates at its annual conference wanted to see the GOP choose Palin to run for president. That said, nearly a third of the 2,400-odd who were polled did say they wanted crazy old Ron Paul, a crazy old libertarian, to run, which shows they aren’t necessarily the most mentally balanced of constituencies. I digress.
It seems to me that while Palin has a rabid fan-base, and is hugely popular amongst the hard-right in America, sadly for her, but oh-so-happily for the rest of us, she looks far too polarising for the rest of the US, where elections are decided by moderates. These moderates often do swing Republican, but they don’t seem to have much for the far-right Tea Party, amongst whom Palin finds most of her adherents.
With luck, what will happen is that she will win the nomination courtesy of the highly motivated Tea Party element – they’re already responsible for ousting several prominent mainstream Republicans in the recent primary elections – and thoroughly sicken the rest of the electorate, allowing Obama an easy campaign for his second term.
In fact, this is probably what will happen to all these new Tea Party candidates, all of whom have suddenly been thrust to prominence without any media training. Since reaching the lime-light, the likes of Sharron Angle and Rand Paul have been spilling their toxic, unvarnished opinions at random, making them ever more unpalatable to the US’s more reasonable independent voters. With luck, the whole Tea Party project will implode come 2012, and we’ll finally be able to get on with that New World Order Obama’s had on the back-burner for so long.
Image credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty ImagesTagged in: palin, usa
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