Friday, April 8, 2011

Palin In Retrograde

Retrograde: moving backward; having a backward motion or direction; retiring or retreating.

It seems collective political minds have come to the same conclusion this week - albeit for differing reasons – the once bright political star of Sarah Palin is in serious retrograde. Evidence is mounting, pointing to a sharp decline in the popularity the former Alaska Governor and 2008 Vice-Presidential candidate once held in the GOP.

Recent polling among GOP voters - both in key 2012 states and nationwide - has shown a steady and consistent decline since the November 2010 mid-term elections. Some of the theories causing Palin’s slumping stature:

  • Her handling of the Arizona/Gabrielle Gifford’s shooting in January
  • Palin’s endorsement of failed, controversial November 2010 candidates
  • The GOP’s rejection of Palin’s tiresome defensiveness regarding criticism
  • A political focus by the GOP on fiscal issues – not viewed as Palin’s forte
  • The emergence of new political rogues – Bachmann & Trump
  • Resigning the Alaska Governorship – never fully or satisfactorily explained

Today, Washington Post’s The Fix authors Chris Cillizza and Adam Blake recap many of these points quite effectively. In addition, the web site – GOP’12 has an equally concise summation on Palin’s current political standing.

While it’s likely anyone of the above factors could act as the single catalyst for most people to develop a negative view of Palin, a more likely scenario would be the confluence of all these issues within people’s minds.

Perhaps the most significant influence in Palin’s decline within the party is the emergence of Michelle Bachmann and Donald Trump as potential GOP candidates for 2012. They have shown a willingness to push the envelope when attacking President Obama. This was the ground and the supporters who occupy it, Palin used to command at the height of her popularity, most notably as when she called out Obama as having “death panels” in his Health Care reform package. But with Trump and Bachmann ratcheting up the volume, Palin finds her base being courted by new voices, willing to speak just as loud as she has.

Bachmann has not been shy about calling the President’s plans and intentions “Socialist” or venturing into any media forum to say so. Trump is making daily headlines by adopting the controversial “Birther” story, as he ponders a run for the GOP nomination. These are the types of red meat issues certain elements in the GOP had fervently expected the fierce, fighting "Mama Grizzly" Palin to take directly to the doorsteps of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. With the aggressive campaign styles both Bachmann and Trump have recently displayed, restless Palin supporters apparently are looking for new champions to rally around.

These developments pose serious political and tactical problems for Palin, should she decide to make a run for the GOP nomination in 2012. She either has to join in on the controversial side of the political argument or move to the center, confronting Obama on the seriousness of the issues and in non conservative arenas. Joining in with Trump and Bachmann would enable Palin to shore up her base support, but risks increased mainstream criticism and favorability declines. It would re-affirm the negative, reactionary and superficial image many hold of her. Should Palin go the serious route on the issues, tackling the economy, social ills and foreign affairs, she’ll run headlong into more formidable and credible rivals, such as Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee, each of whom has shown an expertise or command of these issues.

Further compounding any efforts for a Palin turnaround, is the dwindling game clock the former "Thrilla from Wassila" faces. Does she have time to recast herself as a serious and credible alternative to Obama, as more GOP voters become concerned with the issue of electability, when selecting their nominee?

Fatefully, Palin herself may have inadvertently short changed her own political career. In her haste to pursue quick money and safely play solely to her political base, via exclusive media outlets like Fox News, Facebook and Sean Hannity, Palin now finds herself on shifting political ground with a narrowing area of support. It was often said of one of her potential 2012 rivals - Mitt Romney - that his support was a mile wide and an inch deep. Palin is the mirror image of this, as her support evidently is a mile deep but a mere inch wide.

Had Palin taken time to hang back after 2008, picking her battles selectively, establishing a solid issue-oriented base and re-emerging with a more credible persona, she would now be positioned as a vibrant, viable, mainstream alternative – to the Bachmanns and Trumps. As it is now, she cedes the mainstream to Mitt Romney and Mike HuckabeePalin assumed she had the hard right base to herself, but the energy, command of the issues and fundraising ability of Michelle Bachmann has recently opened a serious breach in that thinking.

Now, with an evaporating political base and the balance of the GOP holding a high negative view of her, Palin meteoric star, which once burned so bright, is now alas, in retrograde.


OhioJOE said...

"Her handling of the Arizona/Gabrielle Gifford’s shooting in January" So we are back to that old non sense again. The shooter was not even a Palin supporter. But hey, I guess the facts don't matter.

Doug NYC GOP said...

OJ - No one is blaming Palin as a factor in the shooting, but her handling of the events which followed, as outlined in the WP-The Fix story.

The list of reasons are a collection of opinions gathered during research, they may not all be held by everyone.

DanL said...

Very good article Doug.

OJ, burying your head in the sand about Palin's negatives, percieved or real, will do nothing to get her elected.

Irregardless of whether or not you like it or agree with it, millions more Americans are coming to view Palin negatively as time goes by. And they aren't just Ellie types.

Palin played the victim card, for the umpteenth thime, after Giffords got shot. Maybe you think that is ok, but most Americans didn't think so. It hurt her. That is the reality of the situation.

Most Americans view her resignation as governor as a terrible decision. It doesn't matter how strongly her most ardent supporters believe that it was a genius or noble decision. There are not enough of you to get her elected over Obama. What matters is how that decision is viewed by average Americans. She can't win without their votes. They didn't buy her rational for quitting.

OhioJOE said...

"The list of reasons are a collection of opinions gathered during research, they may not all be held by everyone." Good, because that particular opinion is just plain NUTS. There is nothing wrong with being against Mrs. Palin or any other candidate, but that particular talking point is a non starter.

DanL said...

Before you try to deflect these arguments with a snarky comment about Romneycare, let me preempt you. Romneycare may very well hurt him in the perception of average Americans. It could well cost him an election against Obama. But only time will tell. He still has a chance to argue intelligently to America about why it was good for MA, and to distinguish his plan from Obama's plan. He still may fail. But he has a chance. Palin really doesn't have a chance to change minds on her resignation. People have made up their minds, and her protestations for the last two years have only cemented their opinions on her.

OhioJOE said...

Dan L, I am not the one with my head in the sand. I do not care how many American blame Mrs. Palin for the shooting. Each and every one of them are either misinformed of Nuts. Take your pick.

OhioJOE said...

Some people have made up their mind about Mrs. Palin, that is fine, I have made up my mind about Mr. Romney and a few others. I have not made up my mind with regards to Mr. Trump and Mr. Huckabee.

DanL said...

OJ, I didn't say people blame Palin for the shooting. I didn't even insinuate it. Your misinterpretation of what I wrote clearly demonstrates your delusions.

I commented on Palin's reaction to the shooting. You didn't even address that. And the fact that you don't care how Americans percieve Palin further demonstrates your active foray into the lala land where Palin can still win an election.

DanL said...

"Some people have made up their mind about Mrs. Palin..."

Most, OJ, most. Palin has as big of a name recognition as Obama. No other 2012 contenders have as big of name recognition as she does. Not even Huckabee who has a show on Fox. Her ceiling keeps dropping. She recently polled at 11% of primary voters. Very soon she will be in the low single digits. This is a retrograde, as Doug said. And I predict that she will not make up ground when the campaign starts. All the other candidates have the chance to pick up ground, except maybe Newt. But Palin's ceiling dropping.

Right Wingnut said...

Blah, blah, blah....

How many times has her political obituary been written now? I've lost count.


OhioJOE said...

"Your misinterpretation of what I wrote clearly demonstrates your delusions.

I commented on Palin's reaction to the shooting. You didn't even address that. And the fact that you don't care how Americans percieve Palin further demonstrates your active foray into the lala land where Palin can still win an election."

No, you guys are too smart to blame Mrs. Palin outright, instead you take the low road and say she did not handle the shooting well. How freaking else would you like her to handle it???? Need I remind you that your camp leader did not have the decency to stand up to those who DID Blame her. So if you have to ask why why mind is made up about Mr. Romney, this is but, one example.

"Her ceiling keeps dropping. She recently polled at 11% of primary voters" And what is Mr. Romney at 13%, maybe 14?

marK said...


Your answer is disappointing. Nobody here on this site or Race4 (unless they are a liberal troll) is claiming that the shooter was a Palin supporter. I don't even think Ellie has made that assertion, and her antipathy towards Sarah is well known.

I can only speak for myself on the subject, but where I think Palin seriously erred was in that response of hers. She waited four days to do it. I was thinking, "Wonderful, she is learning to not shoot from the hip at every little provocation. This is good. This is very Presidential"

Then she gave her response. She and her staff had four days to carefully go over that speech line by line, sentence by sentence, phrase by phrase, word for word. Their efforts showed. It was a magnificent speech.

Then she had to go and use that phrase, "blood libel". Why?

She has had more than two years of dealing with a hostile press that will blow up anything out of proportion anything she says if given the slightest opening. No current nationally prominent Republican has as much experience with that as she. She KNOWS how they operate. So she is either too stupid to know that phrase would blow up on her, or she knew it would blow up and either didn't care or was wanting it.

And since I know her to be one smart lady, I am forced to come to the conclusion that she either didn't care or was wanting the furor.

I don't want either trait in the person I want to see in the Oval Office.

She didn't have to use that phrase. She didn't. But she did. That was a totally unforced error on her part. You can't even claim it was a slip-of-the-tongue -- not in a speech that was four days in the making. Its use was deliberate and calculated.

And she has to live with the consequences of it.

OhioJOE said...

Well said RW, many of these same characters predicted that Conservative candidates would lose in PA, FL, KY and Utah to name a few.

Doug NYC GOP said...

Again, no one is blaming Palin for the shooting.

Some of us acknowledge she did not inject herself into the story, but was put there by an aggressive left-wing media.

That said, any criticism of Palin stemming from this story is in regard to how she handled herself, once she became a part of it.

From the WP article today - linked above - regarding the Arizona-Giffords shooting:
"The most commonly mentioned moment for when Palin jumped the shark politically is her response to the attempted assassination of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in January."

"Palin’s statement, which invoked the loaded term “blood libel”, created a national controversy and, according to several operatives The Fix spoke with, raised questions about Palin’s seriousness."

“I suspect the bottom fell out over the Arizona shooting when Palin’s response seemed more political than sympathetic,” said Mark McKinnon, a Republican media consultant. “Obama showed great leadership during the crisis and Palin showed none.”

now some people will say that is why she is down, some won't. The point of the story is that she is down right now and discussing the reasons as to why.

And just because she is in retrograde now, doesn't mean her star can't move into prgrade.

OhioJOE said...

I am sorry, but you are frankly digger the hole deeper Doug. First, your side should actually learn what blood libel mean. Here is a clue: Mrs. Palin did not invent the word. Second, she was not the one to "Jump the Shark." Frankly, anybody who thinks that Mr. Obama show great leadership has jumped the sharks.

marK said...

Hey, What happened to my comment? Did it get deleted? lost? Stolen?

Doug NYC GOP said...

marK - Please repost on the new thread above. I was editing content and fouled it up.

Jonathan said...

Very good article Doug. I agree that the emergence of Bachmann and to a lesser extent Trump, has hurt Palin. Of course, her other gaffes haven't helped.

For me, once she quit the Governorship and became nothing more than a commentator was when she lost whatever chance she had of winning. I think that led to overexposure, which led to gaffes, which led to others inside the Party finally putting their foot down and saying "enough is enough".

DanL said...

"Blah, blah, blah....

How many times has her political obituary been written now?"

And we're all being vindicate by her imploding poll numbers.

Look, I'm not saying these things to rub salt into the wounds of our friends OJ, RWN or any of the other Palin supporters here. I am just hoping that you will open up your eyes and admit that she is failing.

But if you want to continue in your dreams of a Palin presidency, that's ok. I'll try to leave you to it without being a jerk. And when you finally realize that she is a lost cause, hopefully we can be friends and work together to get some other good candidate elected.

BOSMAN said...


I took the liberty to fix your blog.

I copied your updated post here. as to save your comments.


OhioJOE said...

My comment also got eaten during the post switching. In short, while I strongly disagree with the article, I admit that Mrs. Palin's numbers have drop. However, with other candidates entering the race among other things. The other major candidates have also taken a bit of a drop. I realize that she might not run, but until she officially pulls out of the race I shall continue to support Mrs. Palin and SarahPAC!

If she does not run, I'll vote for somebody else and see how the cookie crumbles.

DanL said...

OJ, that's fine. Hopefully we'll end up in the same camp in 6 months. I have a suspicion, though, that the kind of canidates you like are ones that I don't and vice versa. Oh well, we'll just see in 6 months or so.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of what happens between now and 2012, we all need to be on the same side to beat Obama. If Palin doesn't run, I will support Romney and will look forward to him becoming the next President.


OhioJOE said...

Yes, apart from the fact that it is doubtful that either of us will support Mr. Gingrich, we do like different candidates. I guess that is life in the Post Bush era.

Ellie said...

I never blamed Palin for the Gifford shooting. HOWEVER, her handling of it, was really off the charts weird. She was advised to lay low, and leave it alone. she did not. She made the story about her, when it was not about her to begin with.

OhioJOE said...

Well, A.J.R., I do not think I will look forward to Mr. Romney becoming President. Depending on the alternatives and the situation, it is possible that I still might vote for him, but I doubt I will look forward to it.

OhioJOE said...

How about calling the wacky (non Conservative) shooter "OFF the Charts." Mrs. Palin was the one on the charts, not off.

Anonymous said...

Doug, I commend you on a well written article...I agree that Palin's star is, currently, fading...there are a few reasons for it...mostly due to her being out of the spotlight for a few months and and a more crowded field. Some of the things you linked to are valid points that are worth discussing and I am sure Palin is analyzing the pros and cons of those points. I do however, highly doubt that Bachmann has any more of a command of the issues.

We can always tell a slow news day on the fix when Cilizza writes about Palin.


Anonymous said...


I have never had a problem with Romney personally. I really think he would make a fine President and even though you may not look forward to a possible Romney Presidency, it would be a million times better than a 2nd Obama term. You do have to admit that.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure her negative numbers will mean that she decides not to run. Palin loves being the underdog, loves a challenge, and no one can tell her what to do. From what we know about her, she believes in those open doors and destiny a lot more than poll numbers. So I think it's still possible that she will run.

Bachmann makes it difficult, though.

BTW - very good post, Doug!


PS. OJ, Palin didn't act very compassionate during the shooting incident. By responding to the outrageous charges, she made it all about herself. When you make a tragedy in which people were murdered and horribly injured about yourself, rather than having compassion for the victims, you lose. There's just no way around it. It showed that she is too self-focused, and not ready for the responsibility of the presidency.

OhioJOE said...

Well, I admit that Mr. Romney would be much better, but that is not a reason in and of itself to chose between the two. First, I do not think the party elite should be rewarded for what they have done. Second, Mr. Romney's economic policies probably won't benefit certain parts of the country and third if he screws up, ironically, Conservatives will get the blame and the Dems will run the country again anyway.

OhioJOE said...

"By responding to the outrageous charges, she made it all about herself." That train had already left the station, you guys had already made it about her, long before she even opened her mouth. And after you even thought about supporting that liberal judge in Wisconsin, don't lecture me on compassion. What about compassion for the Wisconsin tax payers?

Doug NYC GOP said...

Thanks for the repair job Bos and apologies to any who lost comments.

Anonymous said...

Oh come on, OJ. You're too good a guy to keep lying about me. At least I thought you were.


OhioJOE said...

Martha, maybe you should start telling the truth about Mrs. Palin. I do find it truly interesting that you have spend more time trashing the Wisconsin judge than you have the Teacher's Union gone amok, all because of your hatred. Well, it did not work this time. You may have scored some cheap points over AZ, but you lost WI.

Anonymous said...

OJ. What the heck are you talking about? I made one comment about the judge using foul language/calling his opponent the B word. One. From that, you have accused me of all sorts of nonsense. So yes, please stop putting words in my mouth.


OhioJOE said...

"I made one comment about the judge using foul language/calling his opponent the B word." And you made no comments about the foul language and death threats by the wack job WI Teacher's Union. Maybe if you'd watch less MSM, you'd be able to put things in perspective.