Does it matter Americans have rejected Sarah Palin?

Photo from Cover of Going Rogue

A new CBS News poll finds that a large majority of Americans say they do not want former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to run for president.

Specifically, 71 percent say they do not want the former Republican vice presidential nominee to run for president, while 21 percent say they do want her to run.

When the results are split out by party, 56 percent of Republicans say they do not want her to seek the office and 30 percent do. Meanwhile, 88 percent of Democrats do not want her to run. Among independents, 65 percent do not want her to run and 25 percent do.

– via Poll: Most Don’t Want Sarah Palin to Run for President (h/t Atrios)

I wonder if something like this even matters anymore. Sure, a majority of Republicans and Democrats agree (and when was the last time there was bipartisan support like this for anything?) that Sarah Palin should not — for the love of God — run for President.

But do they really mean it? And can the little people be trusted to make these big decisions?

Greenwald does a good job today explaining how our betters pick and choose which popular opinion polls they pay attention to. For example, David Brooks demands that Democrats abandon health care reform if the Republicans win the Massachusetts Senate seat today. But Brooks felt comfortable ignoring the overwhelming majority that eventually opposed the Iraq War, and wanted timetables for withdrawal. Not only did he ignore it — he actively undermined it.

The elite’s dismissal of popular opinion was best expressed by former Vice-President Dick Cheney. When asked how his glowing assessment of the Iraq War harmonized with recent polls that show about two-thirds of Americans say the fight in Iraq is not worth it, Cheney replied, “So?”

American politics isn’t a democratic process anymore. It’s controlled by wealthy elites in the media and Washington — the plutocracy — who pick which individuals ascend to the throne, and which policies are worthy of Serious Discussion. Your silly, little opinions don’t matter. Just shut up, and show up every few years to vote for Establishment Candidate A or Establishment Candidate B, and then go home.

Sarah Palin is a pretty good example of this profoundly undemocratic process. Here we have a joke of a politician: a one-term governor, who can barely string together a coherent sentence, thrust onto the national stage because of the decisions made by a coterie of rich, white dudes from The Weekly Standard (Kristol, Barnes, and Gerson,) who met with Palin during an Alaskan stop on a thinktank cruise.

By the time the Weekly Standard pundits returned to the cruise ship, Paulette Simpson said, “they were very enamored of her.” In July, 2007, Barnes wrote the first major national article spotlighting Palin, titled “The Most Popular Governor,” for The Weekly Standard. Simpson said, “That first article was the result of having lunch.” Bitney agreed: “I don’t think she realized the significance until after it was all over. It got the ball rolling.”


Indeed, as early as June 29th, two months before McCain chose her, Kristol predicted on “Fox News Sunday” that “McCain’s going to put Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, on the ticket.” He described her as “fantastic,” saying that she could go one-on-one against Obama in basketball, and possibly siphon off Hillary Clinton’s supporters. He pointed out that she was a “mother of five” and a reformer. “Go for the gold here with Sarah Palin,” he said. The moderator, Chris Wallace, finally had to ask Kristol, “Can we please get off Sarah Palin?”


On July 22nd, again on Fox, Kristol referred to Palin as “my heartthrob.” He declared, “I don’t know if I can make it through the next three months without her on the ticket.”


Finally, McCain’s top aides, including Steve Schmidt and Rick Davis, converged on Palin. Ed Rogers, the chairman of B.G.R., a well-connected, largely Republican lobbying firm, said, “Her criteria kept popping out. She was a governor—that’s good. The shorter the Washington résumé the better. A female is better still. And then there was her story.” He admitted, “There was concern that she was a novice.” In addition to Schmidt and Davis, Charles R. Black, Jr., the lobbyist and political operative who is McCain’s chief campaign adviser, reportedly favored Palin. Keene said, “I’m told that Charlie Black told McCain, ‘If you pick anyone else, you’re going to lose. But if you pick Palin you may win.’ ” (Black did not return calls for comment.)

Meanwhile, McCain’s longtime friend said, “Kristol was out there shaking the pom-poms.”

And there we have it. Palin entered the political world as a Serious Contender because the right rich men got erections in her presence deemed it appropriate. There’s nothing democratic about that. The American people never said she was the best woman for the job. Palin simply found the people with the right access (wealthy, white men,) and coasted her way into a position where she was almost one heart attack away from the presidency of the most powerful country on the planet.

Without that access, and its money, an actual populist candidate — one who wouldn’t, say, support illegal wars, or the expansion of the privatized insurance industry, or the bailing out of corporate America with taxpayer dollars — will never receive the same national attention as a would-be puppet dictator like Palin.

And now this joke, who abandoned her governorship riddled in shame, is going to be a Fox News contributor, which Kristol thinks is OMFG fantastic!

“It’s great,” said Kristol, a regular fixture on the network. “She’ll be a terrific addition to the Fox News Sunday panel!”

TOTALLY — Wait, she’s a moron. She’ll add nothing. And Americans don’t like her (even her December “popularity growth” showed a whopping 46-46 split rating — hardly overwhelming support).

At the very least, Americans certainly don’t want her to run for president. But that doesn’t matter. They’re going to be forced to choke on Palin’s stupidity even if they have already overwhelming rejected her. She is permitted to haunt the land like this because News Corp has been wowed, and once Rupert Murdoch’s The Weekly Standard loved her, it was only a matter of time before Rupert Murdoch’s Fox loved her, too.

It’s easy to dismiss Kristol because he’s constantly wrong about everything, but it is telling that his hand-picked banana got so close to the presidency, and is now still floating around the mainstream like she didn’t just fall on her face a thousand times in one of those more badly executed political campaigns in modern history.

71 percent say they do not want the former Republican vice presidential nominee to run for president.

I would advise polling companies ask Americans if they want her to blather on a national network, except I assume that’s one of the polls our betters will ignore.

– Allison Kilkenny


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