Monday, December 20, 2010

Sarah Palin Just One of The Boys: Simply Unqualified

Scott Conroy of Real Clear Politics has written "Female Vote Could Prove Decisive for Palin." The article is about how Sarah Palin might fare in Republican primaries, not the general election. Before writing the article, Conroy spoke with Andrew Halcro, who ran against Palin in 2006:
On a late night during the 2006 Alaska gubernatorial campaign, Democratic former Gov. Tony Knowles and Republican-turned-independent candidate Andrew Halcro found themselves sitting next to each other in an exit row on an Alaska Airlines flight back to Anchorage following a debate in Fairbanks.

Halcro and Knowles had a friendly relationship, which was cultivated in part by both men's shared sense of exasperation over their inability to put a chink in the invisible armor that seemed to shield their Republican opponent, the former mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin.

While the two men were making small talk on the flight, Halcro, who ended up finishing third in the race, asked Knowles what was the most surprising indicator he found in his campaign's internal polling.

According to Halcro, Knowles replied that he was most astonished by how well Palin performed among well-educated women, and, perhaps more importantly, with moderate to liberal women.

"But that time has passed," Halcro told RealClearPolitics. ...

... Halcro, who has remained one of the most vocal Palin critics in Alaska, said that he did not prepare any differently in debating Palin simply because she was a woman and insisted that her record as governor of raising taxes on the oil industry and implementing a gas pipeline deal that has uncertain prospects for success will overshadow any built-in advantage she might have among women.

"I think she's going to get treated like one of the boys," Halcro said. "The debates are one thing, but I think you have to portray her as just simply unqualified." ...
The 2006 gubernatorial debates were covered by The NY Times and Christian Science Monitor during the 2008 presidential campaign. The Times wrote:
... Her [Palin's] debating style was rarely confrontational, and she appeared confident. In contrast to today, when she seems unversed on several important issues, she demonstrated fluency on certain subjects, particularly oil and gas development.

But just as she does now, Ms. Palin often spoke in generalities and showed scant aptitude for developing arguments beyond a talking point or two. Her sentences were distinguished by their repetition of words, by the use of the phrase “here in Alaska” and for gaps. On paper, her sentences would have been difficult to diagram.

John Bitney, the policy director for her campaign for governor and the main person who helped prepare her for debates, said her repetition of words was “her way of running down the clock as her mind searches for where she wants to go.” ...

And the Christian Science Monitor's article, written by Halcro:
When he faces off against Sarah Palin Thursday night, Joe Biden will have his hands full.

I should know. I've debated Governor Palin more than two dozen times. And she's a master, not of facts, figures, or insightful policy recommendations, but at the fine art of the nonanswer, the glittering generality. Against such charms there is little Senator Biden, or anyone, can do. ...
What to do? Don't panic. It's likely that there will be many debates during the Republican primaries. There will be several governors running for the nomination. Their records will be compared and discussed at the debates. What will Republican primary voters think when they find out that "Governor" Palin's record as governor isn't what she has since said and written she did as governor? Many Republican voters will ask, "Was Sarah Palin really Governor of Alaska?"

Our post, "The Story is in The Story" may be a starting point for examining Palin's record as governor and the discrepancies between her record and what she has written on Facebook about her record.

You can read about Biden's strategy for the 2008 VP debate in Game Change. The story begins on page 405, and you can use Amazon's Look Inside! feature to read it, if you have an Amazon account. Search for far-off Delaware.

1 comment:

Joie Vouet said...

In the article, Conroy, referring to a poll, states that Palin has "the support of a formidable 25 percent of Republican women." 25 percent may not seem "formidable" unless it's taken in the context of this paragraph from the poll:

In a mythical Republican primary Ms. Palin gets 19 percent, including 25 percent of GOP women, followed by Romney with 18 percent, Huckabee at 17 percent, Gingrich at 15 percent, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty at 6 percent and Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Sen. John Thune of South Dakota at 2 percent each.

Looking at the actual percentages, it's clear that Palin's popularity among Republican women is "formidable" only in comparison with the other candidates' support among women. Interestingly, she is less popular with men than three potential rivals: Huckabee, Gingrich and Romney, which may indicate that she no longer has an advantage with men, if she ever had an advantage with them. Here is the poll's first question:

1. (Republicans and Republican Leaners) It is a long way off but I would like to ask you some questions about the 2012 Presidential election. If the 2012 Republican primary for President were being held today, and the candidates were: Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, and John Thune for whom would you vote?

Responses from Quinnipiac Poll Question 1

Presumably, only white Republicans (Do they come in any other colors?) were asked this question. That is the only way I can interpret the wide "Republicans ... White ..." just below the poll's question. Perhaps the only thing the poll makes clear is that undecided Republican voters hold the balance of power. In any case, the poll's margin of error is +/- 2 percentage points; the question was, however, asked of registered Republican voters.