Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

UMass men’s basketball finishes non-conference schedule strong with win over Georgia State -

December 28, 2016

Brett Boeing joins UMass hockey for second half of season -

December 28, 2016

Despite faults, Sarah Palin still shows presidential potential

“Sarah Palin has lowered public discourse with her linguistic (to say nothing of moral) incoherence.” – lit prof.

This comment, left on a NYTimes.com blog, seems a little harsh on Palin. She may not be able to explain policy or even construct complex sentences, but that doesn’t mean she is “linguistically incoherent.” Maybe she just gets nervous speaking in public. I know I do.

I also know I would be pissed if some holier-than-thou literature professor called me linguistically incoherent, which makes me relate to Palin, even if I don’t agree with her politics.

Palin relates to others as well, as 45 percent of people surveyed in a June 2009 Pew Research poll had a favorable opinion of her, including 48 percent of people without a college education and 70 percent of Republicans. This makes lit professor seem out of touch with mainstream America, perhaps unaware that most people don’t speak like a lit professor.

Palin has started to exploit this popularity, her biggest – and only – strength, as her Political Action Committee raised over $700,000 in the first half of 2009. This isn’t that impressive (Mitt Romney raised twice as much over the same time), but 60 percent of Palin’s donations were under $200, according to the political analysis website FiveThirtyEight.com.

For perspective, only nine percent of contributions to Romney’s 2008 campaign were under $200, indicating that Palin has a significant amount of grassroots support, essential to be a viable candidate for any political office.  

Grassroots support is important, but money is the largest factor in politics, as exemplified by Barack Obama – he outspent John McCain by $397 million, which helped him win 53 percent of the vote to McCain’s 46 percent. Today, what politicians say isn’t as important as how many times people hear them say it.

If Palin combined her popularity with enough money, she could be a viable presidential candidate, which is scary considering she based her foreign policy experience on being close to Russia, and recently claimed heath care reform would create death panels to euthanize the elderly.

Pandering to ignorance and misconceptions could again be successful for Palin like it was in the 2008 campaign, as many people believed her when she claimed Obama was a socialist who threatened their savings, job and cultural heritage. Credit Obama, he took the high road and refrained from calling Palin a fascist, which would have been justified under the circumstances.

With enough money, Palin could construct any storyline, including that she represents working class Americans, even though she made triple figures as governor, or that she is a fiscal conservative who vociferously opposes wasting any money, even though she was an early supporter of “the bridge to nowhere.”

Even if Palin is able to raise massive amount of funds, Derek Khanna, President of the University of Massachusetts Republican Club, noted that money doesn’t necessarily result in electoral success.

            “For someone who has already defined themselves in a negative light to a large segment of the population, its hard to change that even with a lot of money,” he said, and offered former Senator Edward Kennedy as an example. Kennedy was widely considered to be a prime presidential candidate until he drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, near Martha’s Vineyard, causing his passenger, one of his brother Robert’s campaign staff, to drown.

Khanna believes Palin did comparable damage to her political ambitions during last year’s campaign.

“I think to a lot of independents she exacerbates the negative stereotypes often associated with Republicans, manifested most prominently by the Bush administration,” Khanna said.

Palin’s future is currently impossible to predict. She is probably the most popular politician after Obama and has clear fundraising potential, but she may be too divisive to succeed on the national stage.

The same poll that said 45 percent of respondents viewed her favorably also reported that 44 percent had an unfavorable impression of the former Governor. Only time will tell whether Palin will resemble Richard Nixon, who famously claimed his political career was over after losing the 1962 California gubernatorial race only to be elected President in 1968, or Kennedy, who was doomed to leave his political ambitions unrealized.

Chris Russell is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at crussell@student.umass.edu.

Comments
One Response to “Despite faults, Sarah Palin still shows presidential potential”
  1. Pac Man says:

    Hey Chris, if you love Sarah Palin so much, why don’t you just marry her?

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