It has been three years since former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made her splash as Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential running mate. Since then she has acquired a very loyal following – but is that helping her or hurting her?
On Tuesday’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” substitute host Laura Ingraham asked conservative columnist Ann Coulter if Palin can maintain her status as a tea party favorite by stringing people along about her potential 2012 candidacy.
“Maybe not,” Coulter replied. “Newt Gingrich carried it on for 15 years and I kind of think that might be what we’re getting here, largely because of the polls. I mean, you just showed the Fox News poll. Gallup took a poll — I don’t know — five, six months ago, showing that … 65 percent said they would never definitely, positively, ever vote for Sarah Palin.”
Coulter pointed out that conservatives are reluctant to criticize Palin for fear of a backlash.
“Most Americans don’t want Sarah Palin for president,” Coulter continued. “But she’s become sort of the Obama of the tea party. She’s just ‘The One’ to a certain segment of right-wingers. And the tiniest criticism of her — I think many of your viewers may not know this — no conservative on TV will criticize Palin because they don’t want to deal with the hate mail. You say her voice is a few octaves too high, or perhaps Michele Bachman’s speaking voice is more modulated, and you will be inundated with enraged emails.”
Coulter also believes Palin’s loyal following could be a liability in the long run.
“I got sick of it with Newt Gingrich, too: Fish or cut bait,” Coulter said, ”because you are ginning up this group of Americans who will not even consider anyone else. You know, we used to all love Sarah Palin — conservatives like me — for her enemies. I’m starting to dislike her because of her fans … I think she’s bright, but her good points do not seem to be in the direction of running for president. I sort of wish, just like Newt Gingrich: Just run so we can get this over with.”