There is an ego-driven bravado taken on by most political candidates that is very much in evidence at the beginning of their campaigns — and this week Sarah Palin’s ego wrapped itself in that bravado as she interviewed with Barbara Walters for her annual “10 Most Fascinating People” of 2010 special, which will air on ABC in December. Palin told Walters that she thought she could win the 2012 election.
Barbara Walters asked, “If you ran for president, could you beat Barack Obama?”
Sarah Palin: “I believe so.”
Nothing like a little faith, but faith in oneself has never been in short supply with political candidates. Otherwise, why run a campaign at all? Besides, candidates have precedent on their side.That same kind of bravado helped push a little known senator from Illinois to the presidency. Twice, if one counts Lincoln.
And there is little doubt that Palin is running for president in 2012. She just hasn’t declared yet. But it is evident in everything she has done since she and her running mate, Arizona Senator John McCain, lost their bid for the White House in November 2008. From her hints of running to the creation of her own political action committee, SarahPAC, to her stumping for countless politicians in the recent 2010 midterm elections, there is the underlying truth that what people are actually seeing isn’t someone who is unsure of herself and what she will or will not do come time to declare, but a candidate in full campaign mode simply deferring her candidacy for the moment, biding her time.
But, realistically, at the moment her statement to Barbara Walters for her “10 Most Fascinating People” of 2010 special is nothing more than ego talking. Although Sarah Palin holds considerable sway in the Republican Party and can draw a crowd to one of her many speeches, she is seen unfavorably more Americans than not. In a recent Gallup Poll, her unfavorability rating stood at 52 percent, the highest it has been since Gallup began tracking her (shortly after John McCain nominated her as his running mate in 2008). Her favorability rate tops out at 40 percent, which is the lowest it has ever been. Of that 40 percent, those who view her favorably are overwhelmingly Republican Party-oriented.
Another poll, taken just after the midterm elections by CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, just after the Republicans took a sizable lead in representatives of the House, just after two-thirds of the representatives, senators, and governors Palin campaigned for won their respective elections, showed the former Alaska governor as losing to an incumbent President Barack Obama while former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee would defeat him.
And yet another poll, one taken by ABC News/Washington Post, noted in February that 71 percent of Americans found Sarah Palin unqualified to be president.
Thus, the false bravado and the obvious misleading statements of surveying ” the lay of the land” of the political situation and discussing the matter with her family before a declaration is made.
But there is little doubt that Palin is running for president. In a New York Times Magazine interview published on Wednesday, she told Robert Draper, “I know that a hurdle I would have to cross, that some other potential candidates wouldn’t have to cross right out of the chute, is proving my record,” she said. “That’s the most frustrating thing for me — the warped and perverted description of my record and what I’ve accomplished over the last two decades.”
She is correct in that she will have to explain her political past, which she claims has been presented as a “perverted description of [her] record.” She will have to again explain the bridges to nowhere, where she campaigned for federal money for bridges that literally went nowhere, but later claimed she fought against such funding. She will have to again explain the myriad ethics charges brought against her by a member of her own political party while she was governor of Alaska. She will again have to explain the official findings of an investigation that found her guilty of abuse of power, a breach of ethics, while governor, essentially using her office to have her former brother-in-law fired as an Alaska state trooper. She will have to explain why she left her home town of Wasilla millions of dollars in debt after her tenure as mayor. She will also have to recover the grounds of her resignation as governor of Alaska, basically quitting her job only halfway through her first term.
The aforementioned is only part of her record, but it will be those types of things that will come up on the campaign trail. To make matters worse, those are examples of matters non-perverted.
And she will have to explain, ignore, dismiss, or take responsibility for a myriad statements and positions she has taken in the past several years, not the least being public writings on the social networking sites Twitter and Facebook.
There is a certain egomania that comes with the fostered hopes and aspirations of becoming a president or world leader, a certain, “Yes, I can” mentality that politicians need to survive what at times looks like overwhelming or unfavorable odds. They use it to persevere and ignore the defeats and the pitfalls. It is the wellspring of political denial and political resurrection.
Can Sarah Palin surmount the obstacles that will face her in her bid for the presidency in 2012? That remains to be seen. However, there is little doubt that Palin thinks she can…