July 10th, 2009
12:01 PM ET

Obama-Palin: 2012?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/07/palin.future/art.palin.gi.jpg]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

When Sarah Palin took her unexpected swan dive into Lake Nevermore by announcing she was quitting as Governor of Alaska, I was suitably puzzled. I assumed she must have been conked in the head by a rogue moose, or stumbled into a patch of unripe salmonberries, or she had some secret hidden on the Appalachian Trail, if you know what I mean.

Now, however, I am remembering something I understood well before I moved to DC and was enveloped by the mind-numbing fog inside the Beltway: Many people in the rest of the country do not see politics the same way as east coast politicos.

For many Americans, what Governor Palin did was not only reasonable, but even praiseworthy. The latest polls confirm it. Rather than grind through the numbers again, which you’ve probably seen by now, I’ll just tell you they pretty much add up to this: Those who thought she was an utterly unqualified political opportunist of the worst sort still do, and those who thought she was a fresh voice of conservative reason who is in touch with the needs and desires of working folks, still do too.

Some are calling her a quitter who is abandoning her post, betraying voters who supported her. Others are calling her an honest person, who is reasonably leaving a job which she may be unable to effectively fulfill while dealing with her newfound national notoriety.

Perhaps all the two sides can agree on is that she is cementing her reputation as a go it alone/into the wilderness/maverick/hockey mom with a penchant for taking penalties. On the Republican ice, there is just nothing else quite like her. And while that drives Democrats crazy, it’s important to realize how appealing that can be to other voters.

Although it will certainly cause howls and gnashing of teeth, there is a certain similarity between Palin’s approach and that of another unconventional candidate of recent memory. Barack Obama was speaking out against the Iraq war back when political wisdom called that a big mistake. He ran against the Clinton/Old Democrat power machine when that was considered as politically suicidal as mooning Harry Reid on the Capitol steps. He stood up to an entire hallowed field of political analysts who said a black man with a funny name had no chance of winning and he said they were mistaken. And it all worked.

It worked because the whole point of his campaign was to say the old way of politics was wrong. His fans may despise Sarah Palin. But if they look beyond their fury, they might notice that on the other side of the political fence, she may be playing the same game.

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. RLWellman

    To those of you who will move if Palin would run and win. Good bye, don't let the door hit you in the rear.

    You say how much damage can be done in 5-months? This administration has spent more money in 5-months than all the other Presidents combined from G. Washington to and including G. Bush.

    You think the economy was bad when G. Bush was in office, it only started going bad when the Democrats took over power in the Senate and Congress.

    You keep on patting your selves on the back that Obama is president. You had better read what legislation is being signed and just what kind of power you are giving the Government. You say it can't be any worse than the last 8-years, wait and see!

    July 10, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  2. RLWellman

    I think Obama is a twit and a ding bat, but guess what? He got elected president, thanks to ACORN. I thought Jimmy Carter was bad, Barrack will go down in history as being the worst president ever.

    You think Hillary has more experience, at what? A president's wife?

    Why is it okay for Obama to quit being a senator, but Palin can't quit as a governor? That's not only racist, it's also discrimination. Look who is calling the kettle black. I have never seen people who have won an election cry and whine as much as you have been. What's the matter, can't you stand the heat? It's only going to get hotter. Remember? Global warming and all.

    July 10, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  3. Miss Carol Dijkhuyzen

    This is the most outrageous I've ever read.How dare this woman to be even joining politics let alone as a quitting governor to earn more bucks for a book deal or stupid things to say.This is an undereducated
    someone ..who has the nerve to to run as a vice president of our country...it's like Imelda Marcos running for attorney general in America,
    no brains at all,please stop this palin stuff,it only thrash America further more...You just can't even imagine such a thing as palin for President...then let imelda runs for attorney general.The nerve and guts of this underdeveloped and uncivilize woman,who even thrashed her own daughter ex boyfriend...it says everything about where she came from.
    God have mercy on this lowlife Americans who have no idea or whatsoever,in this multi,complex society of ours.
    God bless our President Bam.
    From Carol in Monaco.

    July 10, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  4. thomas west det mi 13 years

    get real leave her alone she is tired i would b to 2 years as gov an a run for office just leave hher alone y you guys trying to run her done it aint right find something else to attack thank u this tomas west in detroit michigan and i am 13 and i like 360 watch it every night misst u yesterday

    July 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  5. Chris

    Susan Lewis, I couldn't agree with you more. The thought that people would actually vote for her is chilling indeed. McCain/Palin was scary enough, Palin/Anyone would be a mockery of our democratic process. The Republicans better start finding qualified candidates if they're ever to be taken seriously again. The down home "Hockey Mom" shtick is fine for the PTA, not the White House.

    July 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  6. minaa

    by the way, Palin is the worst and I will move as well if Palin ever went into the white house. Canada or Europe is gonna look really good.

    July 10, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  7. minaa

    I'm not sure why people, especially Republicans, insist on stating that Obama is messing up the economy when Bush and his gang did such a good job of it during the last 8 years. Not only did they mess up things locally but internationally. Give me a break. How much damage can one do in 5 months? Keep in mind that a lot of this mess was from when the Republicans had control or the government and now all they can do is complain. Its just really ugly.
    It just funny to me that Bush spent the first few years of his term on vacation and I think Americans should be commending Obama for all the work he is trying to do in such a short time. Its really not fair to expect so much in such a short period of time. At least he is trying and Obama has touched on every topic that is a concern to me and many americans out there.
    as a minority, I think that it goes back to that old saying that, in America, if you are of the minority, black, or a women then you have to work ten times harder. Thats been my experience in this country and I'm sure its Obamas. I think this country should be so lucky to have someone in office to have someone that understands other countries religions and habits but also someone that is willing to do what he can for this country. Come on America you cant live in a shell forever. You have to live and work with the rest of the world.
    It seems sad to me while the rest of the world is fighting for democracy and freedom, this country can't stand behind their president, be positive, and to find productive ways to make our country better. While some people in this country want Obama to fail, people in other countries are finding him as a source of hope for them to fight. That makes me proud of Obama and this country.

    July 10, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  8. Joe G. (Illinois)

    No matter how it all appears.. Evil never wins over good.. Evil can only win over other evil or over the human weakness of the unfaithful .. Sarah Palin did a great job for the for conservatives during the primaries “Just like Obama did.” And now same thing.. Nobody is twisting anybody’s harm to belittle her and “Somebody made me do it” is incontestably no excuse.. But with all those well worthed compliments aside.. Sarah Palin can’t sing a tune of her own.. and so for that reason I don’t believe she’s qualified for presidency..

    July 10, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  9. Joanne Pacicca

    The Republican Party needs to revamp...but even so, I am sure their intelligence will prevail and by-pass this choice.

    July 10, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  10. Rick

    Shes going to play this out for the money, Talk shows you name it. She knows she cant win.

    July 10, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  11. Lampe

    OH YES! By all means Obama is so much smarter. This is the man who said, "I visited all 57 states." And Biden is just as smart, he said "JOBS is a 3 letter word." And Obama not only quit, he took a pay for all those months he was on the campaign trail. Although the last part of this comment him taking a pay, might make him real smart for some people. LEAVE HER ALONE ALREADY. Pay attention to the economy that Obama and Biden are screwing up!

    July 10, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  12. Melissa

    No, Never. The woman is a twit.

    July 10, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  13. Janie from Louisiana

    Sarah Palin did the right thing. Wish her well and know that she will do very well financially and will serve as a powerful force for the Republican party in whatever way she chooses to. Yet, I see her as politically polarizing as Republicans saw Hillary Clinton when she was running for Senate and then for the Presidency.

    The main difference with her and Hillary is that Hillary is a lot more experienced, and much more knowledgeable about foreign affairs and about the United States and the world in general.

    If Sarah Palin would do some serious studying and research on world affairs and learn to be a bit more cohesive in her speeches, she would have as much chance as Hillary had to be a viable candidate for president. However, Hillary lost.

    July 10, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  14. Arachnae

    Tom – you have GOT to be kidding. Oh yeah – I see the resemblance. Except for the intelligence and the curiosity and the ability to think on one's feet and command of the english language and a grounded understanding of cause and effect and a savvy feel for the political times, they're identical!

    July 10, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  15. jk

    I can't help but question if she would have resigned as the Vice President had they won! ~ She may be playing the same game as Obama did, but I still disagree with her on key issues. If she does run for President, I hope that people will push her to answer some tough questions instead of crying wolf and blame it on the media being unfair! Having been to Alaska several times and talking to people who live there, the questions that I had from day one have still gone unanswered and only more questions have arisen.

    July 10, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  16. Rick

    I just dont see Palin having a chance against Obama in 2012. Shes a ding bat.

    July 10, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  17. joane g. hall

    America – let's support Obama now – it is Bibical you know, and stop trying to tell the future. Leave Palin in Alaska – Only the Lord can know our tomorrows – we could put this media money to much better use than spreading all this stuff around about Palin. Please stop – feed some kids or something with this media, tv, advertisement $. Joane in Rickman, TN

    July 10, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  18. Donna Wood, Lil' Tennessee

    Yeah, but President Obama didn't qwit Tom! I don't see her as a courageous anything! I see her as a self styled ninny! I really don't want to see her in 2012!

    Donna Wood
    Lexington, Tennessee

    July 10, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  19. Lampe

    Finally a piece where you are not insulting her. Thank you very Much. You may not like her, but guess what, that is what makes this country of ours so great. We let everyone no matter what their race, political party or religous beliefs, have at least a chance to better themselves and maybe do something great for their country if they can.

    July 10, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  20. Susan Lewis

    The very idea that this individual could even get nominated, much less elected, chills me to the bone.

    I will move to Canada, I promise.

    As a nation, we have toally lost it, if she is not dismissed as the intellectual equal of Dan Quayle. He is ridiculed to this day.

    Why does this nation revere stupid women????????

    July 10, 2009 at 12:21 pm |