It seems the GOP was destined to lose the 2008 Presidential election after the disastrous Bush years. Remember his multiple failures included:
1. False Premise for Going to War
2. 45 Million Americans Without Health Insurance
3. Controversial Assertion of Executive Power
4. Skyrocketing Deficit
5. Too close to the Edge on Torture
6. Politicization of the Department of Justice
7. No Robust, Sustained Alternative Energy Policy
8. Hurricanes Expose FEMA Woes
9. SEC Allows Investment Banks to Go Unregulated
10. No Child Left Behind: A Few Bumps in the Road
While some might give Sarah Palin credit for helping McCain lose the election, the reality is that McCain was probably destined to lose because he reminded voters too much of George Bush. Bush had spent 8 years embarrassing America. Even if you had not focused on the many political failures of George Bush, it was hard to ignore the obvious ignorance of his comments.
When John McCain nominated Sarah Palin, he confirmed that he did not put “country first” but put his political aspirations first. Obviously the American people weren’t fooled by Sarah Palin, and McCain’s willingness to compromise the safety and security of the country was revealed. McCain lost. However by injecting Sarah Palin into the national debate, he ensured the decline of the Republican Party well beyond the 2008 election.
In the four years following the 2008 election, many Republicans were vocal about their lack of respect for Sarah Palin. The mistake that the GOP made was failing to admit McCain’s error. While Palin’s popularity has declined over the last year, her general influence through her appearance on Fox during her initial contract was devastating to the GOP. The barracuda attacked not only the President and Democrats, but also the Republican party. If a member of the GOP was not “conservative enough” Sarah went on the attack. Appearing at Tea Party rallies and conventions, Palin facilitated the split of the Republican Party into the ultra conservatives who were members of the Tea Party, and the less conservatives into what was left of the Republican Party.
Today, as Palin has faded into almost oblivion, the damage done to her party remains. A recent analysis of the differences and conflict between the ultra-conservatives of the GOP and the moderate-conservatives provides an eye-opening look into the troubled GOP. Some of the most important finding were:
• 6 out of 10 Republicans believe that change in messaging alone will not be enough to win in 2016.
• 67% of Republicans agree that the party needs to address major changes, and 59% believe that major changes on the party’s position on issues needs to change.
• 54% believe Republicans should move in a more conservative direction, while 40% believe the party should move more toward the middle.
• The only thing that the majority of Republicans agree on is the need to reduce the amount of government spending.
• Paul Ryan is perceived by the majority of Republicans as the most popular candidate for the 2016 race. The problem for the GOP is that the majority of voters in the country are women and women will remember how proud Ryan was of his “forcible rape” bill.
• It is understandable that Ryan would be the most popular candidate due to his perceived attempts to tackle the national debt through his budget proposals. The problem with his budget proposal is not only have they been unsuccessful, but the proposed cuts are like surgical excision of the debt, without medicine to relieve the pain. What Ryan proposes is “Surgery Without Anesthesia.”
• From 1981 to 1999 (19 years), U.S. real GDP (RGDP) growth averaged 3.28%. From 2000 to 2012 (13 years), RGDP growth was only 1.80%. If the economy had continued to grow at 3.28% over the past 13 years, at the same level of spending, we would be running a budget surplus right now. The calendar year 2012 federal deficit would have been an insignificant 0.4% of GDP, rather than a frightening 7.0% of GDP. In truth, if the economy had kept growing at the same rate as it did in the 1990s, we would have run continuous federal surpluses. President Obama’s budget-busting $862 billion “stimulus” program would not have happened, and Obama would likely never have been elected. The Republicans would still control all three branches of government today.
Both the Tea Party and the Republican Party declined to invite Palin to their rallies and conventions in the fall of 2012.Yet neither has come out and been critical of Sarah Palin. For four years, up through 2011 Palin declined the invitation to speak at the CPAC conference. However in 2012 and 2013 she has given the keynote address. At first blush it might be hard to understand why Palin would be invited to speak at the CPAC conference, but not the rallies and conventions of the Tea Party and the GOP. Moreover, why would she decline the invitation for four years, and then suddenly agree to appear? The answer to both questions may be money.
CPAC is a for-profit organization. In 2010 Palin’s representatives railed against the group, indicating that Palin “does not want to be affiliated” with the organizers, suggesting that their motivation was all about “pocketbook over policy.” As Palin’s popularity has declined, her motivation to seek attention has become paramount. Palin has always been a celebrity in the conservative movement, sure to draw audiences, even if not votes. Thus as the Tea Party and the GOP seek to distance themselves from Palin, the money makers behind CPAC recognized Palin as a path towards increasing profits. As Palin herself fights to remain relevant she may have agreed to present at the conference without pay, because of the perception that she is still important to the conservative conversation.
Today the Tea Party and the GOP is made up of a conglomerate of people who hate each other. It seems that conservative leaders have little in common. They have established themselves as more critical of each other, than supportive. At the same time the Democrats seem to be unified in their support and enthusiasm for Hillary.
The contrast between Hillary as a competent, experienced, intelligent woman, with Sarah Palin, is dramatic. Because Palin has repeatedly proved herself to be incompetent, inexperienced, and unintelligent, the majority of Americans are relieved that our first female President will likely be Hillary, and not Sarah Palin. If anyone were to have any hope of beating someone as popular as Hillary, it would take overwhelming support from all conservatives; Republicans, Tea Party members, and independents. It is Sarah Palin who has ensured that conservatives will not work together to defeat the Democratic nominee in 2016.
The only question is whether the Tea Party and the GOP will recognize her as toxic before the election of 2020, and dispose of her appropriately.