Monday, July 11, 2011

Rob Port: Can Sarah Palin Win A National Election?

Conventional political wisdom holds that Palin can’t get elected. But she’s not conventional.
Newsweek's cover story on Sarah Palin in which she told the magazine, “I believe that I can win a national election,” has created quite a stir in political circles. At Say Anything, North Dakota based blogger Rob Port opines:
So can she win? I think she can, but I didn’t always feel that way. There was a time when I thought she was too polarizing, and too awkward in handling a media establishment that hated her with a caustic sort of unfairness. Conventional political wisdom holds that people who evoke such a strong reaction from the public can’t win national elections. You need someone more malleable, and one thing Sarah Palin is not is malleable.

But my attitude has changed, and a lot of it has to do with The Undefeated. I got to see an advanced screening of the film at RightOnline last month (my review here), and even though I’ve been following Palin on the national stage for some time and even though I was born in Wasilla and knew some of the details of her early political career better than most, my eyes were opened.

This is a woman who won her first election for Mayor while campaigning against the sexist jabs of the male incumben who suggested she was a dim-witted barbie doll. This is a woman who walked away from a six-figure job as an oil-and-gas regulator for the State of Alaska in order to blow the whistle on cozy quid pro quo relationships between the oil industry and the state’s politicians, most of them Republicans. She got elected to be governor by defeating an entrenched Republican incumbent who was perceived as corrupt by the public.

Port is convinced that Gov. Palin "may well be that once-in-a-generation candidate" who can not only defy the conventions, but change their definitions. The best way for Sarah Palin to back up the self-assessment of her chances as a presidential candidate, Port points out, is for her to get into the race and debate her record and policy positions with the declared candidates. But he warns not to write off simply because she doesn’t fit the political template or because conventional "wisdom" says she can’t win. "Because she can."

- JP

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