I wish I had been the one that had written the article below…but I was not. It was brilliantly written by a gentleman who had been a political producer for the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.” The title is:
Palin Has Reached Her “Sell by Date”
By BRIAN GOLDSMITH | 11/13/08 8:58 AM EST
This week in Miami, the Republican Governors’ Association convenes its annual meeting — a gathering that is both post-mortem for 2008 and prenatum for 2012. Traditionally, when a party’s Washington wing fails to win the election, its governors swoop in, ready to critique the mistakes of Sens. McCain/Kerry/Dole/McGovern — and eager to promote themselves for the next time around.
All the stars of the new GOP constellation are there: Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, and — today’s headliner — Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska. But if John McCain was the problem, is his former running mate the solution?
It doesn’t matter whether Palin was “a joy to work with,” as McCain aides said publicly, or a “diva” and a “whack job,” as some said privately. It doesn’t matter whether she decided to buy the $150,000 in new clothes, or the Republican National Committee bought them for her. What matters is her real and measurable effect on the broader American public. And if Sarah Palin were a cereal, she’d be rushed off the shelf.
Ordinarily, it’s pretty simple for reporters to judge a politician’s popularity. You look at the percentage of people who tell pollsters they have a “favorable” impression; you look at whether that number is rising or falling over time; and you look at whether the “favorable” number exceeds the “unfavorable” number.
But, seduced by big crowds, some pundits ignored the national surveys and waxed rhapsodic about Palin’s “middle-class magnetism.” They forgot that rallies are not representative of the general public. Barry Goldwater, George McGovern and Walter Mondale attracted passionately cheering throngs — and none of them cracked 42 percent of the vote.
According to CBS News polling, Palin never earned a majority favorable rating. From the Republican convention to Election Day — as more people got to know her — Palin’s favorable number dropped seven points, her unfavorable rating almost doubled, and her positive number finished no higher than her negative number. (By contrast, Barack Obama’s favorable rating surpassed his unfavorable rating by 15 points; Joe Biden’s positive-to-negative gap exceeded 20 points.)
By the end of the campaign, about one in seven Obama supporters had once backed John McCain. The biggest reason these mostly middle-class voters switched sides? The presence of Mrs. Middle-Class Magnetism on the Republican ticket.
Another way to judge Palin is by McCain’s own standards. He picked her to do two things: rally the Republican base, and attract key swing voters, including women, independents, suburbanites, and younger parents. By every conceivable measure, Palin failed.
Core Republican turnout declined 1.3 percent compared to four years ago, the Republican share of the electorate dropped five points from 2004 — and the depression of conservative voters was amplified in key states such as Ohio, where Obama won despite earning almost the same number of votes as John F. Kerry. The difference is that 300,000 people who showed up for Bush/Cheney decided to stay home for McCain/Palin.
The list goes on. Palin didn’t help among women — they went for Obama by 13 points. She didn’t help among independents — they went for Obama by 8 points. She didn’t help among suburbanites — they went for Obama by 2 points. She didn’t help among people with children under 18 — they went for Obama by 8 points. Among all these groups, the 2008 Republican ticket performed worse than any successful nominees in their party’s history.
As Palin prepares to speak to her fellow GOP governors — and to restart her political career — some Palin allies have taken to dismissing her entire performance as a national candidate. “None of it matters,” one told me. “This was McCain’s campaign, and Sarah didn’t have much to do with the outcome.” But according to an NBC News poll, Palin weighed down McCain’s candidacy more than President Bush, and more than the war in Iraq. How could that big an anchor not create a little ripple?
The rule is that nobody votes for vice president — but this may have been the year nobody voted for Sarah Palin.
Brian Goldsmith was a political producer for the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.”
Do you remember “Twinkies”? They were said to have an unlimited “shelf life” due to the amount of preservatives within them. They looked good and were sweet…yet, lacked any nutritional value whatsoever.