The alleged left-wing polling guru of the Internet, Nate Silver, has written an extensive (and surely completely sincere) plea for Sarah Palin to “get help.” Before I examine Nate’s folly, for the sake of full disclosure and context, let me share a couple of things regarding my “history” with Silver.
Silver inaccurately called my post-election poll of Obama voters a “push poll,” which I thought was an astonishingly amateurish thing for someone who was supposedly an “expert” on polling to write. Naively thinking that he might just be innocently mistaken, I asked him to do an interview with me for his Web site. With no way to record it over the phone I stupidly trusted him to simply produce an accurate transcript, which he did not. He did however agree to debate me and the results were rather illuminating.
As someone with significantly more real-life polling experience than Silver, I am truly amazed that he has been able to create for himself this niche as a polling/political “expert,” when all he really appears to be is a left-wing hack who is good at taking everyone else’s polls, averaging them together, and on the day of the election coming pretty close to predicting the result. For instance, two weeks before Scott Brown’s election he was claiming Brown only had a 5 percent chance of winning and would likely lose by 15 points and yet he counts the final result as a “correct” prediction. Local TV weathermen don’t even get that much slack.
So now Silver has graced Sarah Palin and the rest of us with his sage political advice in a column entitled, “Sarah Palin Needs Help.” His basic point seems to be that Palin is so inexperienced and so dumb (he writes that “the woman just ain’t that bright”) that she is in desperate need of professional handlers to help keep her from screwing up all the time. He concludes that she is not even as smart as George W. Bush (is it even possible to be considered that dumb in the left-wing blogesphere?) and he calls Palin’s incredibly hard-working spokesperson, Meghan Stapleton, “bush-league” (as in low minor leagues, not apparently having anything to do with either of the former presidents named Bush).
As someone who is sporadically in contact with her and her aides (and has experienced firsthand some of the understandable holes in the Palin operation), I am quite sure that Sarah Palin is eager to get Silver’s advice. After all, it is very clear that she is indeed in grave need of “help.” All one needs to do is take a look at the last half-year to see what a complete and utter disaster Sarah Palin’s political life has become.
Just six months ago, Sarah Palin was newly unemployed and being unmercifully mocked for having resigned the governorship of Alaska for no apparent reason (other than imaginary scandals dreamed up at MSNBC headquarters during “make believe” time). Her political obituary was written. She was simply done and soon to be very old news.
Since then, just as the pundits predicted, nothing has gone right for Palin. Because she is such an idiot, she was unable to get her book out in time for it to still be relevant and it was a bust at the bookstore. She had to cancel signing events because almost no one showed up to see her. Even worse, a dozen AP fact-checkers found hundreds of embarrassing errors in the rushed account.
Her pathetic attempt to influence the health care debate resulted in utter humiliation when the media completely ignored her ill-conceived efforts via her Facebook page (some pro really should have told her what a silly idea that was) and the bill was signed into law with great fanfare. Then her addition to Fox News as an analyst failed to move the ratings needle at all and the network had to immediately try and hide her from view. And of course we are all still shaking our heads at how she got duped into speaking at the disgraced Tea Party Convention and showed up to a nearly empty room to give a poorly received address that no one paid any attention to.
Then there are the polls (Silver’s “expertise,” remember?). Palin has virtually disappeared from site with most polls showing her trailing nearly every prospective candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. So Silver is clearly on the money here. Sarah Palin obviously “needs help.” If she had been able to heed some of this advice earlier she might be far better off than she is today when, six months after being written off, she:
• Is the most famous woman in American political history;
• Has more money both personally and politically than she probably knows what to do with;
• Has found a place in public life that has largely ended the attacks on her family;
• Is the most sought after public speaker/endorser in all of politics;
• Has more influence over the media’s agenda than anyone but the president;
• Appears to now be completely immune to media attacks;
• Is the leader in just about every poll for the Republican presidential nomination and has a virtually unfiltered platform on by far the largest cable news channel;
• Is perceived by many as the leader of the most potent grassroots movement in modern American political history;
• Is the author of the most purchased political book in recent times; and
• Has all of this while not having to answer to anyone and has no actual responsibilities other than to her family.
Sarah Palin’s life is really a mess, but I am sure hiring a couple of traditional political hacks will solve everything for her. Now, if you can just persuade Saints quarterback Drew Brees to get some cosmetic surgery on his right cheek and I am sure the fragmented pieces of his miserable life will also be put back together.
John Ziegler is currently a documentary filmmaker who most recently released a movie on the 2008 election called, “Media Malpractice… How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted.” He has also been in radio talk show host in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Louisville and Nashville. Ziegler has written two books and has appeared live on numerous national television shows including the Today Show, The View, Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC.