Friday, November 13, 2009

The Same Cat With Different Stripes?

Matthew Continetti has an interesting piece in today's WSJ that asks Can Sarah Palin Make a Comeback?:

Could Ms. Palin follow Reagan's example? Maybe. She'd need to return to her 2006 playbook.

In Alaska, Ms. Palin didn't run as a culture warrior. She focused on issues with overwhelming public support: ethics reform, a revised oil tax, and more competition and transparency in the effort to build a natural gas pipeline. She took the conservative vote for granted and focused on winning independents and even some Democrats.

The 2006 Palin model looks a lot like the approach that Virginia's next governor, Republican Bob McDonnell, used to win his election last week. It means applying conservative principles to problems like the economy, health care, and out-of-control federal spending. It means addressing voter concern that big government and big business are in cahoots, heaping expensive burdens on small businesses and individual entrepreneurs.

During her book tour, Ms. Palin is sure to mention that the Obama administration's opposition to offshore drilling and domestic nuclear power, and its support for an onerous cap-and-trade scheme, will raise energy prices across the board. But she also might spend less time discussing campaign intrigue and Alaska trivia, and more time outlining how to spur job creation through tax reform.

Continetti obviously believes she can come back if she follows his advice to win over independents. A more intriguing question might be: would a Sarah Palin comeback be good for Republicans? The answer is not quite as obvious to me.

Consider what we learned about Palin so far. She's physically attractive and has the energy and personal magnetism that give her a certain star quality. She carries with her some of the hopes and dreams of a demographic group that hasn't been represented in the presidency before. When delivering prepared remarks, she's a gifted speaker who can inspire and motivate. However, when off the teleprompter she has a tendency to make gaffes and ramble. She has little experience in foreign policy and it's difficult to discern her underlying political philosophy.

Is that really what America is going to be looking for in 2012?

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