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Sarah Palin has been largely written off in intellectual circles mainly because of her inability to string a sentence together. But as Andrew Sullivan points out, she has other attributes that still present a serious political danger:
Pundits speak of her lack of professional organization. What they don’t speak of so often is her willingness to say and do things very few politicians will. She will play the race card powerfully, often and repeatedly. She will run a campaign against Obama as an un-American. She will run on hatred of elites, will turn every sad gaffe, lie or untruth into “truth”, she will deploy religious motifs more effectively than any Republican candidate in modern times. In the last campaign she accused Obama of being a friend of terrorists, and was prevented from using Jeremiah Wright in the last few weeks of the campaign. She will make the Willie Horton ad look like happytalk.
I don’t necessarily agree with Sullivan’s assertion that her ruthlessness and willingness to say virtually anything make her a serious contender in the upcoming election, but I suspect he is right to sound the alarm. No one, including the likes of Donald Trump should be dismissed out of hand when it comes to the GOP nomination. George Bush was largley regarded as a joke in 2000 until he actually got elected and spent the next 8 years dismantling the country. If it can happen once, it can happen again and it is worth staying alert no matter how absurd the latest Republican up coming ‘star’ may be.
Also, the media’s tendency to spin stories to create conflict is another highly dangerous element in the equation. If Palin does somehow win the nomination, the media will go out of its way to paint her as a legitimate threat to Obama. The networks are interested in numbers, and a walkover isn’t good for business. A two way, bitterly contested race makes for great television, and in the modern media era, Sarah Palin could become a self fulfilling prophecy. If the media says she is, then she becomes so.
You just have to imagine Sarah Palin sitting in the Oval Office with her hands on America’s vast nuclear arsenal to understand how severe the threat of her winning is. While she is great for comedy when not in political office, if she somehow becomes electable, it could get very bleak very quickly.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.