There are certain folks in our lives to whom we pay particular attention when they speak because we know they have wisdom of a certain sort. John Hinderaker of Powerline is one of those folks for me.
He's reached an important conclusion about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's presidential prospects - She doesn't have any. Says Hinderaker in a post pegged to the 59 percent unfavorability rating for Palin among independents that turned up in the latest CNN/Opinion Research poll:
"No one with a 59 percent unfavorability rating among independents has the chance of a snowball in Hell of being elected President," Hinderaker said. "2012 will be a vitally important election year; it is no time for a kamikaze Presidential campaign or for a cult of personality." "Republicans (and conservatives) need a candidate who has a chance to win against an incumbent who, despite everything, is not particularly unpopular and who won't be able to do much visible damage between now and then."
Hinderaker calls himself a Palin fan, and his Powerline blog, which features him and colleagues Paul Mirengoff and Scott Johnson, has always been among the most thoughtful and incisive blogs on the Right. So Hinderaker's conclusion regarding Palin's suitability for a 2012 White House run carries a lot of weight among folks who would be crucially important to the former Alaska governor's prospects.
My thought is that Palin's rising disapproval has less to do with her response to the Tucson Massacre and more to do with public exhaustion. Between her books, her 2010 campaign prominence, the constant nagging of those on the Left who go absolutely berserk at the mere mention of her name, frequent appearances on Fox News, the dramas of her daughter's relationship with Levi and her success on "Dancing with the Stars," and the Discovery Channel reality TV series, Palin has been here, there, and everywhere for several months.
There is an old maxim that it doesn't matter what they say as long as they spell your name properly. But here's another maxim that has particular relevance for politicos in the Media Age - Too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing when there is no escaping the good thing.
The Examiner was a vigorous Palin defender during the 2008 presidential campaign and I have since greatly admired her skill in advancing her public presence in the past two years. I also think she has been subjected to arguably the most vicious media campaign to undermine her credibility since the 1964 outrages against Barry Goldwater, a good and decent man who was smeared as a nut and a nuclear whacko by journalists who knew better.
But, assuming that she in fact does entertain a possible presidential race next year, Palin has erred in doing too little to demonstrate that she is seriously and effectively preparing for higher office. A trip to Haiti with Franklin Graham, for example, is not enough to persuade people that your thoughts on foreign policy issues warrant close attention.
Conversely, she has genuine expertise and experience in the energy field, but she is rarely seen or heard in forums in which she could put that knowledge and background to good use. When Obama gas hits $5-per-gallon later this year, perhaps Palin will have an opportunity to change her public standing.
For Hinderaker's complete post, go here.