Nathan Sass

The Past is Prologue for Palin

In 2012 Elections, Barack Obama, Politics, Ronald Reagan, Sarah Palin on November 18, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Ronald Reagan. 

His name calls to mind the image of an almost invincible political force.  His 1984 re-election over Walter Mondale ranks 5th all time in electoral college margin of victory at 525 – 13.  That year, the entire map, save for Mondale’s home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia were Reagan red.

It’s all too easy to forget that only 6 years earlier, such a thing was seen as unthinkable.  In fact, Reagan was totally dismissed by most of the punditry.  (Sound familiar???)

Most people “in the know” seem to think the same thing about Ms. Sarah Palin, and I wonder if these people are oblivious to US political history.

Here are just a few samples of the consensus opinion regarding Reagan in 1978 and 1979, before he defeated Carter in 1980.

A Full Republican Field
The Sumpter Daily Item May 12, 1979

“Indeed, once Reagan enters the race – and those who claim to know about such things are sure he will – even the right wing will be shattered beyond recognition.”

Nations Capital Fearful of Jordan Prime Minster Role
Robert L. Rose
The Spokesman-Review Aug 9, 1979

Congressman Thomas Foley – D-Ill.  Quoted as follows:

“And if the nominee of the Republicans is Ronald Reagan, now clearly the front-runner, that will polarize a lot of voters.   People who might otherwise be counted as soft for Carter could turn out to be very forceful for him.”

Carter Still the Man to Beat
Joseph Kraft
Sarasota Hearald-Tribune Sept 7 1979

“But Reagan is known to the country more as a former actor than a former governor of California.  His amateur status in political life unsays the major issue against Carter – competence.  So Carter has probably a better chance of beating Reagan than any other Republican likely to win the nomination.  which is why, if you had to bet now, the favorite would be Jimmy Carter.”

And my personal favorite:

Bush Could Make a Viable Candidate
George Will
Sarasota Herald Tribune Oct 23, 1978

The Reagan Problem
Bush’s principal problem is Ronald Reagan.  And it’s possible that Ronald Reagan’s support today is…like a piece of Steuben crystal, impressive but fragile, and vulnerable to one knock.

Many Republicans who feel deep affection and respect for Reagan also feel a vague sense of regret, or at least dampened spirits, when they conclude that they are duty bound to support him again.”

Reagan was considered a political amateur, known more as an actor than the former CA governor, and was looked at as too conservative,  easily beatable, and very polarizing to the electorate and to the party.

The reason so many were so wrong is deceiving simple, and I believe that same thing is at work again today.

I have previously discussed why I think Sarah Palin is such a formidable candidate, and have been on record since February of 2010 that she will not only be the GOP nominee, but will be the first female President of the United States for the very same reasons Reagan was elected and re-elected.

There are a precious few candidates who have that certain gift, the “It Factor” as I have come to call it, that allows them to almost transcend conventional politics.

In short, the “It Factor” describes a politicians ability to be simultaneously seen as strong yet sympathetic, serious but amusing, elite yet common, and powerful yet humble.  When such political figures speak, the audience is drawn to them and feels as though the message is being delivered to them in a one on one manner.

Reagan had “It”, as did FDR, JFK and to a lesser extent Clinton.  Each of these Presidents connected on a very NON-political level with the American people, and were seen as almost like a member of the extended family.  When someone dared attack them, the response was very much the opposite of  what a “normal” president could expect.

Palin has this same “It” about her.   Let us not forget that her convention speech (sans teleprompter) was the most watched speech of all 4 members of the tickets in 2008, eclipsing even Obama’s ratings pull. 

She has also been relentlessly and viciously attacked by the left and the media since being named to the ticket by McCain, and conventional wisdom said that she would be “Quayled” by the assault. 

What actually happened was the exact opposite.  The more the attacks came, the more popular she became.  People perceived it as harsh and unfair to attack someone they WANTED to like, and were personally drawn to.

None of this has much, if anything, to do with her political positions, either.   The same was true for Reagan, Clinton, JFK and FDR.  Her appeal is beyond politics, and will supersede any specific issue.  When 5 million people actually find the cable channel TLC, and then actually watch it for a full hour, something big is going on.

Imagine this magnetic and personable woman 10 feet to the left of Professor Obama and the Magic Teleprompter.  As she smiles and warms the hearts of the American people, he will look down his nose at them and assign homework and detention. 

The closer these two people are in physical proximity, the more powerful Palin will become, and the more petty the attacks will be.  It will all only serve to make her stronger, and more loved.

And that “It Factor” will propel her to victory in the primaries, and then the elections of 2012.  Not only that, she will – barring some sort of horrible scandal on an epic level – go down in history as one of the most popular and successful Presidents we have ever seen.

  1. Nathan, I agree. I have her as the frontrunner. My dark horse is Haley Barbour but I’m not sure he wants to run. Palin/Barbour could be a pretty straight talkin ticket.

  2. Hope you don’t mind, I posted this on…Great article!

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by pat riccio and Daniel Morgan, manonthestreet. manonthestreet said: The Past is Prologue for Palin « The Dinner Table #tcot Great article on Reagan and Palin #tcot #gop #teaparty #Palin12 […]

  4. A great reminder of how quickly things can change. President Reagan restored much of what is good about American.

  5. President Sarah L Palin

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