Palin is being compared to Dan Quayle and Clarence Thomas but I think Ross Perot may be the more apt citation (the rest goes under the fold)...
Palin has an outside, straight talker, pro-reform, true blooded
American, take no prisoners image much as Perot did. (A second point of comparison is Arnold Schwarznegger, with some obvious differences.) And she has only begun to cultivate that image. Do
you recall how much impact Perot had on the American people?
course if Perot actually had had the chance to be President, the
results probably would not have been pretty. He would have been forced
to act like "just another politician," as has been the case with Arnold because in fact the job revolves around knowing how to govern.
There is one biographical fact about Palin’s life that the critics
(Drum, DeLong, Yglesias, Klein, Sullivan and Kleiman are among the ones I read)
are hardly touching upon. I mean her decision to have a Downs child
instead of an abortion. This is the fact about her life and it will be viewed as such from now through November and perhaps beyond.
If only for this reason, she will be seen as a candidate who stands on principle. I don’t think the critics are sufficiently appreciating how tired the American people are of candidates who say one thing and do another and who abandon their principles at the first provocation. This is a deep and very strong current and it runs through virtually every group of American political voters. Because of her decision to have a Downs child, many voters will not view Sarah Palin in a cynical light, no matter what the critics say. No story about firing a state trooper will break that seal.
In my jaded view, "politicians who break their word, violate their ideals, and do not follow through on their promises" is not one of the major problems in American politics. In fact it’s often good that political promises are forgotten in the light of the realities. So the American obsession with political promise-keeping does not resonate with me. But the American people have been hungry for a "promise keeper, ideals believer" for decades and when was the last time they actually got one?
By the way, my mom’s first reaction to the nomination (hi mom!) was
that other mothers of "different" children (what exactly is the right word here?) would very much identify
with Palin and view her life as validating theirs and thus support her.
Go away and watch a Frank Capra movie and think about Palin again. Larry Ribstein gets it.
I do recognize and indeed emphasize that this analysis requires that she is good on TV. I give that p = 0.63. I’ll also give p = 0.13 that she ends up off the ticket, but most of that chance comes from her deciding she needs to spend the time with her kids.
Addendum: The best argument against the pick is this, although it does not much revise my priors.