But in "Obama Benefits in Having Palin as His Foil," Matt Bai comes along and writes that Sarah Palin may be President Obama's best asset:
... “In our system of government, the party that does not have the presidency does not have a recognized leader,” said Mike DuHaime, a top Republican strategist. “She’s one of the very few who tries to fill the void.”
For the White House, it would seem, this is a hopeful development. That’s because every modern president, and especially one who finds himself confronting divided government, needs the kind of critic who can remind the public of why he once seemed so eminently presidential.
Think of it this way: American voters have for decades now sent their presidents to Washington in hopes of delivering some mortal blow to the status quo. Once in office, it’s hard for any president to fully embody the reform that a restive electorate may have hoped for. But it’s considerably easier if you can contrast yourself with an adversary who embodies the kind of outdated politics, ideological rigidity or divisiveness that repelled those voters in the first place. ...
... Next year, when Republicans settle on a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama will have an adversary chosen for him. But for now, he could clearly do worse than to have Ms. Palin overshadow the party’s more predictable leaders in Congress [John Boehner and Mitch McConnell]. With every controversial tweet or video, Ms. Palin makes Mr. Obama, who has often struggled to project the regality of the office, seem more like the post-partisan grownup he always intended to be.
Shortly after Mr. Obama’s speech last week, his opponent from the 2008 campaign, Senator John McCain of Arizona, issued a gracious statement thanking the president for his call for civility. Perhaps Mr. Obama wanted to thank Mr. McCain, as well — for having created the Sarah Palin phenomenon, thus giving the president’s words more resonance than they otherwise might have had.What to do? Throw her an anchor? A rope? Both ends of the rope?