Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s basketball falters in the second half, falling to George Washington 83-67 Thursday -

February 24, 2017

UPDATE: SGA announces second and third artist for ‘Mullins Live!’ -

February 23, 2017

Divest UMass and STPEC host panel on building ‘solidarity economies’ in the Trump era -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball losing streak extends to 10 games after loss to URI -

February 23, 2017

Sixth annual Advocacy Day set to take place March 1 -

February 23, 2017

Panel discusses racial, sexual and psychological violence in response to art exhibit -

February 23, 2017

Judy Dixon enters final season with UMass tennis with simple message: One match at a time -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball enduring early-season limitation in playing in New England -

February 23, 2017

Minutewomen softball begins season with cross-country travel, string of tournaments -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball looks to bounce back from disappointing 2016 season -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior Hannah Murphy is Angela McMahon’s latest legend in the making -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior defenders accept leadership roles in quest for ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship -

February 23, 2017

Kelsey McGovern rejoins UMass women’s lacrosse as an assistant coach after starring for Minutewomen -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to continue improving throughout 2017 season -

February 23, 2017

Spring Sports Special Issue 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defense relying on senior leadership with new faces in starting lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball fills holes left by seniors with freshmen for 2017 -

February 23, 2017

The Hart of the Lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball prepares for a long, busy season in 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defenseman Tyler Weeks makes his way back from ACL injury -

February 23, 2017

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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