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Sarah Palin Rules the GOP -- And She Will Destroy It

Palin's influence on a party largely devoid of leadership is expanding. If she doesn't become the GOP's future queen, she may be its future king-maker -- and its destroyer.

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"Kill him!" a man shouted at a campaign rally in Clearwater, Florida, when Palin linked Obama to terrorism, according to  Washington Post  reporter Dana Milbank.

The next time she mentioned Obama, another man cried out, "Terrorist!" "Treason!"

"Go back to Kenya!" a woman typically screamed during a Palin rally in Des Moines, Iowa.

While Obama entertained visions of a blissful post-partisan, post-racial America, Palin almost single-handedly gave birth to the birthers who would, after his inauguration, dedicate themselves to proving he was not, by birth, an American. By "going rogue," Palin instinctively and craftily propelled her ambitions beyond Election Day, and so anointed herself as the movement's magical helper in the Obama era.

Elevated by yesterday's man, Palin now represents her Party's future -- and the greatest danger it faces. Her intimate bond with the Republican grassroots has made her the indispensable woman, even if she provokes a visceral sense of revulsion from many independents and moderates. Other Republican frontrunners like former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty have a debilitating problem to face in any race for the presidency: they are viewed as inauthentic candidates by the movement -- cardboard men in suits who are only pantomiming appeals to cultural resentment.

Mike Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister who understands the nuances of evangelical culture, nonetheless bears the burden of being a 2008 primary loser. At that time, the former governor of Arkansas had a clear field when it came to the religious right, but was unable to expand beyond his Southern bastions of support.

Palin was, after all, chosen. She never lost a primary -- and it was McCain who lost the race. If Huckabee sought to run again for the nomination, he might have to compete against her for the allegiance of the evangelical constituency.

Nor can she be easily criticized. Palin is so well positioned as the darling of the movement that any criticism of her would be experienced by believers as a personal attack on them. In this way, their identification with her through the politics of personal crisis is complete. Any Republican primary challenger assailing Palin will be seen as victimizing her, as channeling the attacks of the liberal elites, and possibly as having a secret liberal agenda. On the other hand, to embrace her is to risk losing the great American center.

For the 2010 mid-term elections, Palin's endorsement is already a coveted commodity -- as Mark Kirk's desperate bid to secure it demonstrates. The more she is attacked, the more the Republican base adores her. As she sets out on her book tour, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune only propel her forward. Her influence on a party largely devoid of leadership is expanding. If she doesn't prove to be the Party's future queen, she may have positioned herself to be its future king-maker -- and potentially its destroyer. You betcha.

Want the antidote to the propaganda in Sarah Palin's new book? Buy your copy of Going Rouge here , a compilation of the best progressive take-downs of Sarah Palin since she burst onto the national stage. The book includes great analysis of Palin's role in American politics and culture by Max Blumenthal, Jane Hamsher, Christopher Hayes, Jim Hightower, Naomi Klein, AlterNet and many others. Buy it here.

Max Blumenthal is the author of Republican Gomorrah (Basic/Nation Books, 2009) has just been released. Contact him at maxblumenthal3000@yahoo.com.

 
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