Reeling Conservatives

I was traveling back from Minnesota on Thursday so I was like the last to know about former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s endorsement of former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s campaign for a fifth term as Iowa’s Governor.  I learned of it through Dustin’s post shortly after getting home and checking email.

Color me surprised.  Color Governor Branstad surprised as well.

Some thoughts on this so you don’t think I’m avoiding the issue.  I rarely agree with somebody 100% (including my wife), and I disagree with this endorsement for numerous reasons.

  • There are two other candidates in the race align closer to her values who would have likely benefited from this endorsement if it came early.  I obviously wished she endorsed my candidate, Rod Roberts, but frankly an endorsement five days before the primary won’t really help.  Coming to campaign or help fundraise earlier on would have made a difference though.
  • I don’t think she really has much to gain politically from this either.  For starters this came very late in the primary so she’ll be seen as “Johnny-come-lately.”  Second, Branstad’s campaign is filled with Romney supporters, and Mitt Romney endorsed Governor Branstad earlier.  I wouldn’t count on reciprocity in 2012.
  • If Bob Vander Plaats wins the nomination and then the general election it could, could harm her in 2012 should she decide to run.  If Mike Huckabee runs in 2012, he’s locked up the Vander Plaats endorsement and there could be some ill-will from some of his supporters.

I’m not buying into the meme that Governor Palin committed political suicide however.  People were saying that after she endorsed Rand Paul in the Kentucky Senate Primary, and he won in a landslide.  Obviously Republican voters in Kentucky disagree with that sentiment.  Even James Dobson (who endorsed Vander Plaats) changed his endorsement from Trey Grayson to Rand Paul.  

You hear it from some Chuck DeVore supporters in the California Senate Primary when she endorsed Carly Fiorina.  Fiorina may not be as conservative as DeVore, but she is conservative.  The latest poll shows her leading by double digits the RINO in the race, Tom Campbell (who is also ahead of DeVore in the polls).  Should DeVore win that primary it is unlikely he could beat Senator Barbara Boxer.

So cries that she “sold out” don’t wash with me.  Sure she campaigned for Senator John McCain, did you really think she wouldn’t?  She was also one of the first to endorse Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate in the NY 23 special election since Dede Scozzafava was more liberal than the Democratic candidate.  She’s been making a number of good endorsements.  Also, she didn’t endorse the incumbent pro-abortion Republican Senator in her own state of Alaska, Lisa Murkowski, she endorsed  Joe Miller instead.

Back to this current endorsement… she may not have picked the most conservative person running, Terry Branstad is certainly better than Dede Scozzafava whom Newt Gingrich endorsed.  He does have a plan to cut taxes and reduce government spending.  He is prolife.  He is certainly better than Governor Chet Culver, and even on the gay marriage issue he would be no worse than neutral which is better than Culver.  This is why I would have no problem voting for him should he win the nomination. 

Would I rather seen her endorse Roberts months ago?  Absolutely.  Would Vander Plaats line up closer to her on issues, probably, but I don’t think she’d go for his executive order idea either.  I also believe at this point in the race it would have been better to support Branstad after the primary should he win the nomination.

You also get a sense that Branstad isn’t her ideal candidate by the endorsement itself.

Iowa, your great state’s motto is “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.” That motto will be well served by voting for Terry Branstad for governor next Tuesday!

Not very specific, she has been more specific with other endorsements.  I think she made a pragmatic choice to endorse the candidate who may not be the most conservative, but the conservative who, in her opinion (and recent polls suggest), has the best chance to win the primary unseat Chet Culver.  Even if she doesn’t fully agree with him.  Josh Painter points out that she has tended to do that with Governor and Senate races, but has gambled on some Congressional races.

In Congressional races, Gov. Palin can afford to bet on some candidates who face longer odds. In many of these races, there are more than just a single conservative candidate running in each primary, so if a few of her choices should lose, the chances are good that other conservatives will be nominated with as good or better odds of winning in the general election. But there are other variables in her calculations. Take, for example, her endorsement of Vaughn Ward for U.S. Congress in Idaho. Though Raul Labrador is a conservative and is supported by the local tea party there, no way was she going to endorse an immigration lawyer who has represented illegal aliens to help them stay in the U.S. Her political enemies would have used such an endorsement to try to paint her as soft on immigration, so Ward’s loss doesn’t hurt her as much as an endorsement for a victorious Labrador would have.

So is her political career in shambles?  How many people have said that in the past, but she keeps coming back?  If Branstad wins I doubt this hurts her at all.  While she likely wouldn’t be supported by campaign surrogates, it could win her some favor by those who voted for him.  I also think most people don’t base their choice on who they will vote for President on an endorsement made two years before.  That would be pretty shallow.  Those who are saying they won’t vote for her (if she even runs) because of this, likely weren’t going to vote for her anyway.

But, I think ultimately this endorsement was about seeing Chet Culver get beat not a possible 2012 run.  Otherwise I think she would have been more invested in it.

So while I disagree with this endorsement, I understand it.  Again I would have preferred my candidate got the nod earlier when it would have helped.  I think she should have stayed out of this particular primary since she was endorsing so late

But I’m not going to throw Sarah Palin under the bus because of an endorsement I disagree with.

29 comments
  1. Thanks for a sensible, even-handed post about a controversial, polarizing, and delightful politician: Gov. Sarah Palin.

  2. Thanks for the thoughts.

    I’ve often wondered how I would react if Palin endorsed the opponent of my “sacred cow.”

  3. If you gave Sarah Palin a straw, how long would it take her to suck the oil out of the Gulf?

    Bubba, you need to do some deeper research into the farce called Palin. She is a tool.

  4. PS, everyone: SHE IS NO LONGER A GOVERNOR. Your inability to live in the here and now speaks volumes.

    1. Wow, are you that stupid? No need to answer, I already know the answer is YES.

      Once a politician leaves office, they keep the title. We still address Bill Clinton as President Clinton, even though he was impeached and disgraced. We still Call Rudy “Mr Mayor” Senators, Congresssmen, and even judges retain that title for life. You retain the title of the highest office reached.

      Sarah will be called “Governor” until January 20, 2012, then after that it will be President Palin, or Madam President, for the rest of her long life, successful life.

      Hell, we’ll still call that street thug Obama “President” Obama once he is kicked out of office . It’s called respect, you cretin. (for the office, if not the man)

      As for your you little oil comment, if Sarah Palin was President, instead of that worthless gangland shake down artist, the spill might have never happened, because she knows how stupid it is to be drilling in mile deep water in the first place. The only reason we are out there is because people listen to environmental extremists instead of common sense.

      As someone who participated in the Exxon Valdez clean-up, was Charmain of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, as the state’s powerful chief oil and gas regulator, and then as Governor, served as Chairman of the nation’s Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, Sarah Palin has forgotten more about the oil business than anyone in the Obama regime will ever know.

      Sarah wouldn’t have waited 9 days to react, to this mess, and most certainly would have set aside her golf games and big time partying to deal with thing, unlike this loser Obama.

      Obama is a disaster. He makes Jimmy Carter look competent. Not only is he a feckless, incompetent, loser, he is also the most corrupt human being who ever set foot in the White House. Hopefully he will end up in prison for the rest of his life, as that’s where that thug belongs.

      1. Gary… I don’t allow personal attacks on my blog. I agree with your education of Endofmyrope, but that could be done without calling him stupid.

        Please try to be civil when you comment here again. Thanks!

  5. Shane, I respect your opinion, but disagree with your assumptions. I believe that this endorsement could cost her Iowa. It will work in concert with other facts about her past to work against her. I highly doubt that she will be a major factor in the race in 2012.

    1. Well, I’m not convinced she’s running. I’m also not sure Huckabee will run.

      “Other facts” – careful, a lot of those “facts” have been debunked.

      A lot of people thought she wouldn’t be a factor after she resigned, but I think she’s proven that assumption wrong.

      I just don’t think it’s wise to count her out, and I think you’re putting too much stock in an endorsement anyway. Besides, if the Register’s or KCCI’s poll holds true I don’t think BVP will have much influence in 2012. The Register just reported today that 55% of born again Christians and tea partiers are backing Branstad. That really surprised me. Somehow I don’t think they’ll be upset with her endorsement.

      This of course depends largely upon the accuracy of the poll. I also found it interesting that while the majority in that poll are going for Branstad, they are still solidly in favor of vote on marriage.

      But the only poll that counts is tomorrow. Good luck to BVP, even though Roberts has my vote tomorrow.

      1. There are a lot of Iowan’s like me that were disappointed in Sarah after she resigned her position as Governor of Alaska. I understand that there were numerous lawsuits filed against her in the state, but that shouldn’t have been a reason for her to resign. All that resignation did was to give her opponents an opening to use against her should she run for office again elsewhere. Also I know of a lot of people, not just in this state, that are puzzled by her endorsement of Branstad.
        As for the Des Moines Register poll, i question the credibilty of that so called news outlet. The most honest parts of the paper are the blogs authored by you and Art Smith.
        Finally, I have nothing against Rod Roberts. I found him a likable guy. I think that he is a great legislator. I just question his ability to lead. I wish him all the luck in the world in his future endeavors.

      2. I agree that the resignation will provide some ammo for her opponents. Considering her administration was in deadlock and it was costing the State of Alaska taxpayer money huge amounts of money due to the ethics complaints (there were lawsuits, but the in-state ethics complaints filled by basically 2-3 people were the real problem). Then there was the countless FOIA requests.

        Then personally there was the mounting legal debt (over 1/2 million dollars) which the state could not reimburse, and she couldn’t even access her legal defense fund due to… you guessed it, another ethics complaint.

        Letting Sean Parnell take the reigns helped to keep the administration’s goals moving forward as the ethics complaints ended when she resigned. It allows them to be productive, it saves taxpayer money. She wasn’t going to cruise as a lame duck. It also gives Parnell a better shot at re-election.

        So it was a good move for her State, and their agenda.

        Al, I’m not sure you know the background behind her decision very well. It has been well documented, but not well reported. It is also easy to say she shouldn’t have done it when you aren’t in her shoes. Also, this freed her up to address federal issues which she was prevented from doing due to political games being played in Alaska.

        Regarding the Register’s poll, thanks for the props on From The Right’s content… Seltzer & Company nailed the Caucus polling, and actually have been pretty reliable. I hope it’s wrong… I want Roberts to win more than 8% 🙂 I think the poll on gay marriage w/ GOP voters is encouraging. It certainly not in the Register’s best interest to report that… nor their poll that demonstrated Iowa is still a center-right state.

      3. I’m not saying I’m thrilled with his tax hike, I’ve actually criticized it. But in fairness you also have to mention he cut taxes as well.

        Also the increase in the size of government mostly has to do with moving education spending into the general fund, so did that really increase what the state was spending at the time?

        I’m saying, and firmly believe that four years of Culver would be worse. Again, I’m not taking Governor Palin’s lead in the primary because I think Roberts would be better.

        I have issues with Vander Plaats as well, but recapping that would be pointless with the primary tomorrow. If BVP wins tomorrow he can count on my vote as well. If we nominated somebody a Dede Scozzafava in the Gov race well I’d be considering third party at that point.

      4. Allahpundit loves taking swipes at Palin, congrats on the link though, I bet you’ve had a ton of traffic today.

        He also links the IDP website which also has been disingenuous about his record. Since their party leadership in the legislature was involved in some of that I don’t think they are in a position to criticize.

        Gosh, I can’t believe you have me defending Branstad, LOL. I need to take a bath or something 🙂

      5. Oh and as far as the Register’s poll, I question the accuracy of a poll that only queried 500 likely voters for tomorrow’s primary. I think that it is going to be much closer than anyone thinks. And I think that BVP can pull off an upset. I guess we will see. Good luck tomorrow and look forward to seeing you again.

      6. Poll sample sizes are typically 500-600 people, that’s the norm whether it’s the Register or Rasmussen.

        KCCI’s poll was a disaster with only polling 173 Republicans. Of course they were also doing hypothetical match-ups so they had to question Democrats and Independents (the total sample group was 600), but it’s a lousy way to try to poll a primary.

  6. Interesting comments here about Sarah Palin and Iowa. I wonder if we will see her in Kansas or Missouri. Tend to think that her endorsements would probably have mixed results. Probably better for conservative in Iowa to listen to you Shane than her .

    I think that resigning was the best thing that she could do for herself and her family. She has obvious aspirations outside of Alaska so why not resign and get on with her dreams.

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