McCain: Palin could beat Obama. Maybe.
Looking back on the 2008 Presidential election, a lingering question remains:
Did Sarah Palin cost John McCain the Presidency, or did John McCain cost Sarah Palin the Vice Presidency?
The argument is largely the same each way: to those who favour Palin, John McCain wasn't strong enough on conservative issues, and drove conservative voters to stay home. For those who favour McCain, Palin's views are too extreme, and drove moderate voters into the waiting arms of the Democrats.
But in a recent appearance on FOX News, McCain seemed more interested in looking forward to the 2012 Presidential election. When asked if Palin could beat Obama in 2012, he answered to the decidedly affirmative -- but with no guarantees.
“Of course, she can,” McCain said. “She can. Now, whether she will or not, whether she'll even run or not, I don't know.”
“A lot of things happen in campaigns,” McCain continued. “You remember, I was written off a couple of times and was able to come back. So, there's going to be a roller coaster ride for all of them before we finally arrive at our nominee.”
But just as in 2008, Palin's greatest strength could also be her greatest weakness.
“She also inspires great passion, particularly among Republican faithful,” McCain noted.
Of course, he's right. But she also inspires passionate hatred -- that is really the only way to describe it -- from the left.
Often, it works out to the benefits of conservatives, as many of these people simply reveal themselves for the defective human beings they are, sending reasonable and intelligent voters to look at the alternatives.
Even so, this really does not make for good politics. Palin has been masterful at forcing the chronically-unstable among the left (even some of those who otherwise can be intelligent and insightful, such as Andrew Sullivan) to reveal their mania. This is not an acceptable alternative to having ideas of her own.
Declared candidates such as Herman Cain, Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty have ideas of their own. Palin does not. Her purported "common sense conservatism" is not an acceptable alternative to having some ideas.
Perhaps Sarah Palin could beat President Barack Obama in 2012. But "perhaps" isn't a good enough reason to forsake candidates with real ideas in favour of Palin.