Prognosticators, pundits and bloggers alike can’t help but scratch their heads in bewilderment over the Sarah Palin craze. Since her sudden, rather clumsy pre-Independence Day resignation announcement, political headlines are replete with a number of theories on why she did it. The maddening triathletic stride to 2012 is the lead reason, since conventional political wisdom can’t see beyond Palin’s narcissistic mystique. But even though pop culture consensus persists dubbing the Alaska Governor and failed Republican running mate as nothing more than a comedic half-wit, she’s still the top political plug on Internet search engines and constantly mentioned as a viable GOP contender in 4 years.One notices an ongoing and currently subtle attempt to position Palin and Obama polls on parallel reporting tracks. Rasmussen Reports notes:
76 percent of Republican voters have a favorable opinion of Palin, even after her decision to resign as governor of Alaska, with 45 percent whose view of her is very favorable. Palin trails Huckabee, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. Huckabee is favored by 78 percent, with 41 percent who feel very favorably toward him.
While inserting soon after:
75 percent of GOP voters nationwide say it is at least somewhat likely that a Republican candidate will defeat President Obama if he seeks reelection. Of that group, 41 percent say it’s very likely Obama will be defeated. In late April, for the first time since Obama was elected president last November, more than half of U.S. voters (53 percent) said it is at least somewhat likely that the next occupant of the White House will be a Republican.
Obama’s numbers are slipping as he gradually owns the economy. Palin’s resignation is definitely part of a larger attempt at positioning herself for 2012. But the drama that comes along with it helps push her brand in such a way that can’t be ignored – the good, the bad and the ugly. For Palin, even the bad headline is good since any news (from a pregnant teenage daughter to open combat with David Letterman) keeps her in the spotlight. Essentially, Republicans are banking on Palin being the anti-Obama or someone who is as different, yet of-humble-means as he was prior to being elected President. Therefore, there is something arguably deliberate in her recent exit strategy from Alaska, a move to make her look normal or non-politician; having commentators, particularly on the left, spit acid ink at her is even better since the common man/woman, middle-American Jane – and, yes – Joe can’t stand media “elites” anyway. Perhaps she made a fake fumble in an effort to appeal to the angered and increasingly jobless proletariat.Pitting a greying White guy against Obama in 2012 is seemingly stale, almost 20th century politics. So, you go for the dynamic White woman. Since Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal spectacularly clowned himself in the State of the Union response, GOP hacks have moved on to what they consider the next best thing: somebody who’s White, but definitely very female. It’s employing some of the same logic from 2008, when Sen. John McCain plucked Palin as a running mate. Republicans will attemptanother gender okie-doke, seeking to attract White female voters. Charles Ellison is director of the Center for New Politics and Policy and host of “The New School” on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.