Category Archives: 2012 Presidential Election

Sarah Palin Could Win The 2012 GOP Presidential Nomination

A First Look at Palin’s Primary Math

by Nate Silver @ FiveThirtyEight.com

If Sarah Palin runs for the Republican nomination in 2012 — and I’ve been on record for some time as predicting that she will — what are likely to be her best and worst states? And how do these strengths and weaknesses square with the Republican primary calendar? And what about the other likely candidates?

The first, very, very important thing to notice is that the Republican primary calendar will be different in 2012 than it was two years ago. Although this could change as states jockey for position and rules are amended, for the time being the Republicans have divided the states into five groupings as seen below:

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A Woman in the White House ~ 2012 or 2016?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Asked about the prospect of a woman winning the presidency during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded: “I’m not going to pretend that running for president as a woman is not daunting….and it is….probably a path that doesn’t appeal to a lot of women even in elective office because it is so difficult.”

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin

Clinton’s comments — coupled with the resignation of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) over the weekend — got us to thinking about the dearth of female politicians in the political world at the moment who are actively discussed as presidential mettle.

Clinton was widely regarded as the best hope women had to see one of their own elected to the White House; she was well-known, had a huge political machine at her disposal, pots of campaign cash to spend and was widely seen as up to the job by the American public.

“Meet” host David Gregory asked Clinton the “if not you, who” question to which Clinton responded: “I am convinced — and I don’t know if she is elective office right now or preparing to run for office — but there is a woman who I am hoping will be able to achieve that.”

But, who?

A quick glance at the roster of women currently serving in the Senate or as governor — the ranks from which presidential candidates typically emerge — turns up 17 senators and six governors.

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison

Of that group, just one — Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) — has ever been seriously mentioned as a national candidate. But, Hutchison seems set on returning to the Lone Star State full time with her 2010 primary challenge to Gov. Rick Perry (R). If she wins that race, Hutchison would theoretically be in position to run but she would be 69 years old on election day 2012 and putting together a national campaign would be hard to imagine.

Governor Jennifer Granholm

Governor Jennifer Granholm

Outgoing Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm was widely seen as a rising star with the Democratic party when she was elected in 2002 but the cratering Michigan economy has diminished her appeal significantly. Also, she’s Canadian — not that there’s anything wrong with that! — making her ineligible to be president.

That leaves 21 other women — none of whom are actively discussed as potential national candidates. The best possibility is Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) who could be appealing given her ability to win statewide in Missouri. But, McCaskill will almost face a serious re-election fight in 2012 (Jim Talent, anyone?) and has to get through that race before she can be seriously considered.

Senator Claire McCaskill

Senator Claire McCaskill

Down a level to the House, the pickings are also slim. (Historically running from the U.S. House is a death wish for presidents; the last — and only — sitting member of Congress to win the White House was James Garfield in 1880.)

The most obvious choice would be Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.) who has a strong political pedigree (her grandfather was governor, her father was a longtime state legislator), the ability to win votes in a red state and is young enough at 38 to spend the time needed to build the sort of network she would need to run for national office. But, Herseth Sandlin declined an expected run for governor in 2010 — delaying an expected ascent into a more high-profile office. If Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) decides against seeking a fourth term in 2014, Herseth Sandlin would be the obvious choice.

Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.)

Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin

Among the candidates currently running for statewide office in 2010, there are few obvious choices. Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) and former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte (R) are each young, highly regarded and running for the Senate; at the gubernatorial level, former eBay President Meg Whitman (R) and Florida CFO Alex Sink (D) might be possibilities if they can get elected.

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan

But, that is far down the road. The simple fact is that Clinton was by far the best positioned woman to win the nation’s highest office and there is no one like her in the political minor leagues at the moment.

Could Palin be that person? Perhaps, although her high unfavorable ratings with Independents and Democrats complicate any path for her to the White House even if she decided to run.

Former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte

Former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte

Are there up and coming women we missed? Feel free to offer their names in the comments section below.

Chris Cillizza
The Washington Post

Fix Pick: Palin’s Rocky Return to Alaska

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin struggles to adjust to life back in Alaska.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin struggles to adjust to life back in Alaska.

For any politician on the losing end of a bid for national office re-acclimating to their previous life can be a rough road.

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry struggled to find his place in the Senate following his loss to George W. Bush in 2004, and then vice presidentAl Gore grew a beard and went into semi-seclusion after Bush beat him in 2000.

The adjustment is even more difficult when the politician has been plucked from relative obscurity and must return there — ala former Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle or, more recently, Sarah Palin.

No presidential or vice presidential candidate has risen (and, some would argue, fallen) as fast as the Alaska governor who went from an unknown to the second most famous politician in the world behind only President Barack Obama.

In a terrific piece in today’s paper, the Post’s Michael Leahy documents the unsteady return of Palin (he calls it a “bumpy homecoming”) to the Last Frontier and a decidedly smaller political stage.

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Sarah Palin Smart to Bow Out of CPAC Appearance

By Robert Schlesinger, US News & World Report

Could Sarah Palin be taking my advice?

(Sure, genius; she’s the one that keeps interrupting your calls from President Obama.)

I’ve written before that if Palin has any sense, she’ll eschew the national spotlight for a year or two, focus on being governor, and learn the issues.

My colleague Paul Bedard reported this week that despite initial indications to the contrary, Palin will not be appearing at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference here in the D.C. area at the end of this month. Conservative leaders are bummed, but I think it’s a smart move for Palin. She’ll do better being popular and elusive, for the moment, than by overexposing herself.

Of course, slipping poll numbers in Alaska might also have prompted her to focus on state business.

Sarah Palin Decides NOT to Attend Republican Retreat for the Alfalfa Dinner

Alaska Governor Palin Denies Eyeing White House Run in 2012

Palin Returns to a Changed Alaska

Homecoming Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, her office adorned with banners and balloons, went to work in Anchorage Nov. 7 for the first time since joining the GOP presidential ticket.

Homecoming Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, her office adorned with banners and balloons, went to work in Anchorage Nov. 7 for the first time since joining the GOP presidential ticket.

Alaska has changed while Governor Sarah Palin was gone on the presidential campaign trail over the past two months.  The state’s oil driven economy has been hurt by the global financial meltdown and many Alaskans have gotten to know another, darker side of their governor, in stark contrast to the “maverick” hockey mom turned politican who took on the “good old boys” and big oil companies.  The Christian Science Monitor presents an in-depth look at the new political landscape Gov. Palin now faces in Alaska.

When she left Alaska in August to run as the Republican vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin was a much-loved governor with approval ratings near 90 percent; a record for pursuing centrist, bipartisan policies; and a reputation as a corruption-fighter.

Her home state was awash in money, thanks to record oil prices, and residents were set to get big checks in the form of dividends from the Alaska Permanent Fund and a state tax rebate. The economic future seemed secure, with Governor Palin advancing the case for a big, new, natural-gas pipeline.

What a difference a couple of months make.

Upon her return to Alaska Nov. 5, Palin’s nonpartisan reputation is in shreds, a side effect of her role as chief attacker of Democratic rival Barack Obama. Damaged, too, is her image as ethics reformer, with questions lingering over an abuse-of-power scandal involving a feud against her sister’s ex-husband, alleged circumvention of public-records laws, concerns about state payments for her children’s travel and nights spent in her own home, and even how she acquired the haute-couture wardrobe she sported on the campaign trail.

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