Last week I made a rare appearance on MSNBC (a network on which I have had numerous “YouTube moments” since the 2008 election, when they became the “Obama Network”) and shared some statements which apparently shocked some of my fellow conservatives.
Since even before the release of my documentary about the media coverage of Obama’s election, I have been described by many commentators (both as a compliment and as a condemnation) as Sarah Palin’s most ardent defender against the never-ending stream of unfair media attacks against her. What seemed to surprise people on both ends of the political spectrum was my assertion on “Morning Joe” that, based on her current path, and barring a literal act of God, there is absolutely no chance that Palin can beat Obama in 2012.
Since the television appearance was barely five minutes long and my view of this important subject is far more nuanced than can possibly be articulated in the microwave world of cable TV “news” (or even a later radio interview I did with host Joe Scarborough about this subject), I wish to fully explain my thinking so that any confusion about where I stand may be as limited as possible.
First, the reason I went on MSNBC is that Joe Scarborough and I have had a running (and sometimes rather pointed) e-mail exchange about his coverage of Sarah Palin which was escalated when his show did a seemingly endless segment on how intellectually deficient she supposedly is. Joe has offered me an open invitation to “debate” that and other issues related to Palin when I am next in New York where his show is broadcast. Since Palin was on the “Tonight Show” last week and because I live in Burbank, we decided the occasion might make for a good opportunity to do a quick “preview” of coming attractions. I also made it clear to him that there was something about Palin that I have wanted to get off my chest for several weeks. This was the issue of what her intent and potential is for the 2012 presidential race.
When I first met Palin at her home in early 2009, after our interview for my documentary we had a rather lengthy conversation, which of course eventually turned to her political future. Unsolicited, I offered my very strong opinion that, thanks to the media’s worship of Obama and their unfair destruction of her, that I thought it would be foolhardy for her to even consider running against him in 2012. My advice at the time was for her to run for Senate in 2014 and run in 2016 for President when presumably there will be no incumbent running and when the narrative about her (thanks to the media’s love of a good “comeback”) would likely be vastly more positive than in 2012. Palin was clearly listening intently but said almost nothing in response. Those who witnessed the conversation said she did not seem to like what she was hearing.
However, after the remarkable success of her book and the incredible decline in Obama’s political popularity, I started to think that, with any luck, Palin could win the Republican nomination and that she would at least have a shot against The One, assuming the economy didn’t significantly improve. But now I am thoroughly convinced that while Obama is somewhat vulnerable (if the economy improves, he wins big, if it stays the same, he wins very small, if it gets worse, he loses big), Sarah Palin has less of a chance to beat him than just about anyone else who is currently considered in contention.
The reasons I have come to this painful conclusion are numerous.