(Politico) Top Republicans in Washington and in the national GOP establishment say the 2010 campaign highlighted an urgent task that they will begin in earnest as soon as the elections are over: Stop Sarah Palin.
Interviews with advisers to the main 2012 presidential contenders and with other veteran Republican operatives make clear they see themselves on a common, if uncoordinated, mission of halting the momentum and credibility Palin gained with conservative activists by plunging so aggressively into this year’s midterm campaigns.
There is rising expectation among GOP elites that Palin will probably run for president in 2012 and could win the Republican nomination, a prospect many of them regard as a disaster in waiting.
Many of these establishment figures argue in not-for-attribution comments that Palin’s nomination would ensure President Barack Obama’s reelection, as the deficiencies that marked her 2008 debut as a vice presidential nominee — an intensely polarizing political style and often halting and superficial answers when pressed on policy — have shown little sign of abating in the past two years.
“There is a determined, focused establishment effort … to find a candidate we can coalesce around who can beat Sarah Palin,” said one prominent and longtime Washington Republican. “We believe she could get the nomination, but Barack Obama would crush her.”
This sentiment was a nearly constant refrain in POLITICO interviews with top advisers to the candidates most frequently mentioned as running in 2012 and a diverse assortment of other top GOP officials.
Nearly all of these interviewees insisted on keeping their views on background, fearing the wrath of conservative grass-roots activists who are enthralled with the former Alaska governor and who have made plain that the establishment’s disdain for Palin and her devotees is mutually reciprocated.
Top Republicans, from presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty to highly influential advisers such as Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, are said to be concerned she will run, and could win, according to the officials.
Now you all know I’m not a huge fan of Sarah Palin, not because because I believe she’s ignorant, she just doesn’t have good leadership qualities (remember: she quit the governorship of Alaska in the middle of her term). But these cowardly, unattributed comments by these GOP advisers and consultants is precisely why establishment Republicans lost in the primaries. And it’s exactly what is wrong with the Republican arty in general.
Make no mistake: this not just about stopping Sarah Palin, it’s about squashing the conservative uprising taking place through the tea party movement.
I will add this: the timing of this story by Politico is very interesting. I believe it’s designed to anger conservatives and tea partiers to a point where some decide to stay home for tomorrow’s election.
Conservatives should be angered by this sentiment from the GOP establishment but we most go to the polls in droves tomorrow and then hold our representatives’ feet to the fire.