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February 11, 2010

Palin Watch: David Broder Says It's Time to Take Her Seriously, But Half of All Republicans Don't Think She's Ready

The woman indeed is charismatic and great at announcing the broad themes of a winning conservative platform.

Washington The snows that obliterated Washington last week interfered with many scheduled meetings, but they did not prevent the delivery of one important political message: Take Sarah Palin seriously.

Her lengthy Saturday night keynote address to the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville and her debut on the Sunday morning talk show circuit with Fox News' Chris Wallace showed off a public figure at the top of her game -- a politician who knows who she is and how to sell herself.

...

More important, she has locked herself firmly in the populist embrace that every skillful outsider candidate from George Wallace to Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton has utilized when running against "the political establishment."

...

Palin's final answer to Wallace showed how perfectly she has come to inhabit that part. When he asked her what role she wants to play in the country's future, she said: "First and foremost, I want to be a good mom and I want to raise happy, healthy, independent children. And I want them to be good citizens of this great country.

"And then I do want to be a voice for some common-sense solutions. I'm never going to pretend like I know more than the next person. I'm not going to pretend to be an elitist. In fact, I'm going to fight the elitist, because for too often and for too long now, I think the elitists have tried to make people like me and people in the heartland of America feel like we just don't get it, and big government's just going to have to take care of us.

"I want to speak up for the American people and say: No, we really do have some good common-sense solutions. I can be a messenger for that. Don't have to have a title to do it."

This is a pitch-perfect recital of the populist message that has worked in campaigns past.

Unfortunately, she still has trouble convincing a majority of even the GOP that she's ready for the top slot.

There is a growing sense that the former Alaska governor is not qualified to serve as president, with more than seven in 10 Americans now saying she is unqualified, up from 60 percent in a November survey. Even among Republicans, a majority now say Palin lacks the qualifications necessary for the White House.

Palin has lost ground among conservative Republicans, who would be crucial to her hopes if she seeks the party's presidential nomination in 2012. Forty-five percent of conservatives now consider her as qualified for the presidency, down sharply from 66 percent who said so last fall.

Among all Republicans polled, 37 percent now hold a "strongly favorable" opinion of Palin, about half the level recorded when she burst onto the national stage in 2008 as Sen. John McCain's running mate.

Among Democrats and independents, assessments of Palin also have eroded. Six percent of Democrats now consider her qualified for the presidency, a drop from 22 percent in November; the percentage of independents who think she is qualified fell to 29 percent from 37 percent.

If only 45% of conservatives consider her qualified, that's a problem. I don't know, and I have long not known, if this can ever be surmounted. That is a big hole to dig one's way out of. It may be unfair that she's in that hole, but she is.


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posted by Ace at 12:34 PM

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