Thursday, October 06, 2011

Palin and Christie Say They Will Not Run

I speculated yesterday morning about whether or not we'd be seeing the end of the nutcase from Wassila's game of tease to the unhinged in the GOP base that she'd jump into the 21012 election mix. Yesterday, Palin formally said that she would not run - perhaps pushed by the latest polls that showed her to be unwanted by a majority of those still sane within the GOP. My thoughts on Palin's announcement are summed up as: good riddance! On the same day, Chris Christie - who seems, unlike Palin, to be sane - also said he would forgo any 2012 foray into the presidential candidate realm.
First a few of Andrew Sullivan's thoughts on Palin:

Our Three Year National Nightmare Is Over! Palin talks to Mark Levin here (her voice is the deeper one). Her explanation is, as usual, opaque. But the idea that this person is protecting her family - after putting them all on a reality show, after deploying an infant with Down Syndrome as a book-selling prop, after pushing her son into the military, after sending her elderly dad headfirst into a ravine for a reality TV shot, and after using another young daughter as a campaign press bouncer ... well, it's as ludicrous as almost everything she says.

It is hard to describe the relief of this awful person finally going away. (And who cares what she says if she has no "title"? There are RedState comment threads more coherent and persuasive than her deranged delusions.) All I can say now is that a) I was wrong about her intentions and b) I am so so so relieved to be wrong. She will now face the oblivion she deserves, and I sincerely hope I never have to write about this farce again.

Next, a piece in The Daily Beast that looks at where these developments leave the Republican Party now. Here are some highlights:

Journalists and ironists, as well as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, are unhappy that Sarah Palin isn’t running. But anyone else? Actually, yes. She does have fans, and millions of them. And Chris Christie, while he may not be a Palin-level celebri-pol, sure had pulses pounding last week at the Reagan library. Palin and Christie are high-wattage personalities. The GOP field right now lacks them. This may or may not make a difference next November, but it will make a lot of difference during the primary season and will probably end up helping Mitt Romney—if Republican voters can learn to love him, which is still a big question.

Primary voters have two qualities by which they operate: ardor and calculation. They want ardor first. . . . But when the ardor fades, the psychological and emotional impulse of voters is to move more quickly toward the least objectionable of the remaining bunch, who has the best shot of winning—to embrace calculation.

They [Republicans] have only calculation candidates — I suppose Rick Perry inspires some ardor, but not on the Reagan-Dubya scale — while the two leading ardor figures in the party are going to be sitting on the sidelines watching, making news from time to time, being there as constant reminders of what could have been. I suppose Ron Paul and Herman Cain are ardor candidates, but they’re not getting the nomination. So what happens?

I’d wager it brings Republican primary voters to the point of calculation a little more quickly, and leads them to think, “Well, out of the bunch we got, who’s most likely to beat the Kenyan?” And I think most of them will answer: Romney. But then, Romney has to show them he’s inevitable: he has to do things to make them think it’s going to be him. It’s like that poll that came out this week asking people if they thought Obama would be reelected. There, even many people who presumably want Obama to be reelected said no. Romney needs that in reverse—he needs even people who aren’t for him to think that he’s going to win. In a multicandidate primary campaign, having that aura about you is gold. So he needs to take steps to create it.

He’ll have a chance to start the process this weekend—the Values Voter Summit looms, at Washington’s Shoreham Hotel. Not exactly his kind of room. . . . He needs to give a speech that not only reassures them on a few of the basics, but tells them the train is revving up and they need to hop on board.

And in the meantime, a Sarah-less near-term future. I for one am relieved. I can’t stand the mere sight of her. But I suppose I did perversely enjoy seeing what she brought out in people. Hey—is there still time for Hank Williams Jr. to file papers?

Amen to not standing the sight of Palin. May she fade into obscurity quickly.

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