While discussing Sarah Palin’s new book both conservative columnist David Brooks and GOP strategist Mike Murphy agreed today on Meet The Press that Sarah Palin will not be the GOP nominee in 2012. Brooks went as far as to say, “And if Sarah Palin is the nominee, the Republican nominee, I’ll eat my hat.”
The original question posed by moderator David Gregory related to the harsh partisan nature of the current political debate. Brooks said, “There’s no evidence–Barack Obama was not evidence of that harshness, John McCain was not evidence of that harshness. The people who actually vote, even in primaries, who are pretty hard-core people, they don’t go for that. So it’s a, it’s a margin on the edge. And if Sarah Palin is the nominee, the Republican nominee, I’ll eat my hat. I’ll eat this cup on the air. But she will not be, because people just don’t like that style of politics.”
Mike Murphy argued that Palin has no constituency, “Yeah. No, no, look, she has a constituency. She’ll never be the nominee, I totally agree with David. I agree with Steve Schmidt, it would be actually a disaster if she was the nominee. I do wish my friend Steve felt that a year ago when a lot of people were asking John McCain to put her on the ticket.”
The argument that Palin has no natural constituency is valid to a degree. Mitt Romney will court the fiscal conservatives, Mike Huckabee is strong with the evangelicals, but he may have to battle for their support with Rick Santorum, and we have yet to see who Tim Pawlenty will appeal to. However if all of these candidates stick to their bases, Palin could emerge as the only candidate that can appeal to multiple groups.
The other factor that Palin has working in her favor is that both Romney and Huckabee are failed candidates. 2012 would be Palin’s first primary cycle, so she could have the fresh candidate factor working for her. I still have serious doubts as to whether or not Palin is seriously committed to a presidential run. I think that she has the ambition, but she may not be willing to do the grunt work required to win a nomination.
I don’t think any of the potential Republican candidates look like formidable challenge for Obama. They all have major weaknesses, and limited strengths. In the case of Palin, she has done nothing to make herself a stronger candidate.
Voters rejected her because they didn’t think she was qualified to be VP in 2008, and so far, she has done nothing to ease voters’ concerns about her qualifications to be president. Both Brooks and Murphy seem to be of the opinion that if Palin runs in 2012, she will be exposed for the weak candidate that she is.