Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's All Over for Palin-But What A Wonderful Ride It Has Been.

Even those as far afield as England can clearly see that Sarah Palin has reached the point of decline from which there may be no recovery.The steadfastly conservative Telegraph points out that with Palin's endorsement of Carly Fiorina, following on from the McCain endorsement, her erstwhile supporters on the right  have expressed extreme discomfort, with a majority of polled Tea Party supporters not willing to vote for her for President.That poll followed on from a Rasmussen poll of her native Alaska which showed a similar result with a negative rating of 45% on her home turf.

The strongest confirmation of Palin's decline however is recorded in the latest AP/Gfk poll. This is particularly significant as this poll was the only one to show a rise in Palin's support in the face of the substantial declines elsewhere- illustrated in the poll of polls analysis. For Palin supporters the Pollster analysis is sad reading-there is no amount of spin which can alter the massive decline.

At the commencement of the poll Palin had a 53% favorable level of support against 26% unfavorable-today it is 34.8% favorable versus 52.7% unfavorable (Rasmussen has her at 56% unfavorable and even Fox has her at 53% unfavorable). The previous AP/Gfk polling held out a glimmer of hope as their last poll had Palin's favorables actually increasing from 42% to 45% but their latest has her at 41%  favorable against 53% unfavorable.

Why has this happened? One can only conjecture but I believe Palin has paid the price for being that rarest of things, a principled, honest, straightforward politician. She has categorically stated her unabashed support for national security, life, gun ownership,  immigration reform, and oil drilling offshore and in federal lands. She alone has taken the fight to to Obama directly-not hesitating to call him out, sometimes stridently, when she feels he is on the wrong track.

Whilst all these categorical positions have kept her rating with Republicans at a high level they have of course totally alienated her from any Democrats who are disenchanted with the Obama administration. Her positions, expressed across so many venues and media since she embarked on her nationwide travels, are not those which the bulk of centrist Independents find attractive. It is this reason which perhaps best explains the basis of her polling decline, as prior to her national exposure her positions were not clearly understood as during the campaign she basically just acted as the spearhead for McCain and the party platform.

But for Palin supporters what a wonderful, exciting, at time breath holding ride it has been. Her convention speech will never be forgotten as the party faithful sat nervous and transfixed at this tiny, lone figure on the stage whose address held the potential to destroy the McCain campaign if it had been a disaster. Instead it was a speech of historic magnitude which fired up a lacklustre campaign and lifted it into the lead.

Then the puzzlement and sadness of the resignation speech, the time in limbo when her book was being written, the book tour-followed at every venue by her supporters through the many Palin supporting blogs (Conservatives4Palin and Texas4Palin doing yeomanlike work). The pride that thousands of ordinary folks would stay out overnight in the bitter cold for a few moments with Palin, and the delight in seeing the left media and blogs befuddled by this outpouring of support.

More nerves and holding of breath as Palin moved into high gear with appearances on the Oprah, Leno,Walters shows and other high profile interviews, and the relief that they went extremely well with massive viewing audiences. The battles with the vicious leftist bloggers, the Letterman kerfuffle, her role on Fox and the interviews with Greta, Bill and Sean. Her self deprecating appearance at the Washington insiders social functions-the list goes on and on. Has any politician, much less a VP candidate on a losing ticket ever captured so much imagination, so many hearts, induced such adrenalin flow and sleepless nights? Has so much ink been spilled attacking or defending or describing every word, nuance, article of clothing, personal and family history on anyone in such a short time?

Sadly this level of excitement has come to an end, as it had to sooner or later of course. Familiarity has brought content and contempt depending on your philosophical outlook and the positions have hardened. For 37% to become 51% is beyond the capacity of Palin to achieve no matter how many successful books, speaking tours, and media appearances she undertakes. She is a captive of events and for her, seemingly radical to the middle ground voters, positions to be accepted as the right prescription for a presidential candidate the Carter factor has to come into play.

If, as under Carter, the Obama administration is seen to be a huge failure with their handling of the economy, coupled with, again as per Carter, there is a massive failure in foreign policy, then those factors, as happened with another, honest, straightforward politician who held the same positions that Palin now holds which were intitally also seen as too radical, can propel Palin into office with the same transformative result as the Reagan presidency brought. Churchill too spent years in the wilderness, a derided and lonely figure that history and events proved to be right.

In the meantime the  relatively small band of Palin supporters must keep the faith, must fight the good fight, must support her in every way possible whilst awaiting on events. If it happens that the opportunity for transformation never arrives there is no shame in having held and propagated positive beliefs, to have supported someone who did not advance because of deeply held moral compass, and of course to have had a huge amount of fun.

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