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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Sarah Palin phenomenon

What is it about Mrs. Palin that elicits such furious bipartisan Washington dismissiveness?

Sarah agonistes
Reasons to expect more from her in the future
By July 7, 2009

Professional politicians and political journalists don't waste energy on political corpses. They reserve their energy -- positive or negative -- for viable politicians.
Thus, an intriguing part of the Sarah Palin phenomenon is the intensity of response to her every word and move -- from both Republican and Democratic Party professionals and from the conventional media. The negative but sustained passion being expressed by the professional Washington political class against her tends to belie its almost unanimous assertion that she is washed up.
I happened to be on CNN on Friday just as the story was breaking of Mrs. Palin's resignation as governor of Alaska, and for the next hour, I was the only on-air guest -- Republican, Democrat, journalist, politician -- who was not overtly contemptuous and dismissive of Mrs. Palin and her political future. On Sunday, as a panelist on ABC's "This Week," I was similarly situated. What is it about Mrs. Palin that elicits such furious bipartisan Washington dismissiveness? After all, the polls show her to be tied with Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee for the very early lead in the Republican primary. As an outspoken conservative with about 80 percent favorable rating amongst Republicans and a high-40s percentage favorable plurality among independents, objectively she should be seen as quite competitive nationally (compared to other Republicans, particularly given that Republicans generically are weak, and she has been so viciously targeted by the media).
Mrs. Palin draws by far the biggest crowds of any current politician other than, perhaps, the president. She was the only news phenomenon capable of knocking the Michael Jackson story off the cable news lineups. (continues...)

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