Thursday, February 11, 2010

His Funny Valentine

Just in time for Valentines Day, David Broder sends a love note to Sarah Palin.

Freed of the responsibilities she carried as governor of Alaska, devoid of any official title but armed with regular gigs on Fox News Channel and more speaking invitations than she can fulfill, Palin is perhaps the most visible Republican in the land.

More important, she has locked herself firmly in the populist embrace that every skillful outsider candidate from George Wallace to Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton has utilized when running against “the political establishment.”

[…]

“I want to speak up for the American people and say: No, we really do have some good common-sense solutions. I can be a messenger for that. Don’t have to have a title to do it.”

This is a pitch-perfect recital of the populist message that has worked in campaigns past. There are times when the American people are looking for something more: for an Eisenhower, who liberated Europe; an FDR or a Kennedy or a Bush, all unashamed aristocrats; or an Obama, with eloquence and brains.

But in the present mood of the country, Palin is by all odds a threat to the more uptight Republican aspirants such as Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty — and potentially, to Obama as well.

Palin did not wear well in the last campaign, especially in the suburbs where populism has a limited appeal. But when Wallace asked her about resigning the governorship with 17 months left in her term and whether she let her opponents drive her from office, she said, “Hell, no.”

Those who want to stop her will need more ammunition than deriding her habit of writing on her hand. The lady is good.

And remember, this is the Dean of the Villagers, so we must take him Seriously.

Call me crazy, but comparing her to Eisenhower doesn’t make a lot of sense. Ike didn’t quit his job halfway through; otherwise, we would still be waiting to launch D-Day.