Although I’ve gone on record as not being a Sarah Palin supporter, and not having supported Senator McCain’s choice of running mate, I must come to her defense as she is becoming the scapegoat of choice for those seeking to lay blame for the Republican’s loss on someone or anyone.
Sarah Palin was not a good addition to the ticket, but she helped distance the ticket from Mr. Bush’s very damaging coattails. She bolstered support among the far right conservatives, balancing out some of their distaste in McCain. She brought along about as many women as the Republican ticket could have expected.
Her well-publicized verbal gaffes were no worse than those Sen. McCain made. And they both made too many. Despite having written negatively about it here, her $150K wardrobe upgrade was no more of a factor than McCain not knowing how many houses he owned. Face it, no one’s ever accused the Republican Party of being very grounded in the concerns of the common man.
No, in the end, you can blame two things (OK, maybe three) for the Democratic landslide.
First, the failures of the Bush administration are just too hard for Republican candidates to separate themselves from. Call McCain a maverick, call him the most bipartisan of all senators (I don’t personally buy either one), he couldn’t get far enough away from the Bush disaster to keep it from seriously damaging him.
Second, the economy chose a bad time to collapse for the Republicans. Blame who you want, again I have written here often about it. But for sure voters saw Republicans as at fault, and they couldn’t see how McCain’s policies were going to be that different from those of the Bush administration.
And last, I have to give credit to Obama. He came across as silky smooth. He looked questioners and his opponent right in the eye. He was well-prepared in the debates. In both those events and in campaign stops, he stayed on message — whether you liked his message or not. He seemed, well, presidential.
Nope, don’t blame Palin. Do get to work on refining and adding relevance to the party’s message. Don’t be sore losers. Don’t predict doom and gloom from an Obama presidency. Do collaborate with the Democrats to craft the best possible policies.
If you can’t or won’t, then you’ll have lost this life-long Republican as a member of your party, and you’ll guarantee a democratic majority for years to come.