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Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
A few scattered thoughts on the scattered Palin announcement:

1. TRULY UNEXPECTED and disappointing on two fronts: a) quitting is irresponsible and damning; and b) she delivered another less than impressive rhetorical performance (which is merely exasperating).

2. Having said that, her decision was not idiotic.

3. 2012 seems completely out of the question now--but that may not be a bad thing. So much of the immediate punditry and conventional wisdom centered on 2012--but that analysis misses the forest for the trees. Forget about 2012. In fact, taking herself out of the running in terms of the next election is the smart play. Although the ODS wing of our party remains convinced that the GOP is well-positioned to defeat the President in 2012, I disagree vehemently.

More to come on this as we move forward, but beating Obama in 2012 is a very tall order--and unlikely at this point. For a number of reasons, Mitt Romney is the man for 2012. He will probably lose--but he is more than willing to brave the long odds and fight the good fight. He wants his shot. He is well-funded and popular on the right. Give him the ball. We could do a lot worse.

4. What does the future hold for Sarah Barracuda? Palin is a heavy hitter. She will continue to be very successful on the stump. She will continue to be very successful on the lecture circuit. If she makes the difference in a number of tight races in 2010 and 2012 and 2014, she will be an even more formidable national figure.

5. Frankly, she is too impoverished (relatively) RIGHT NOW to make a serious run for the presidency. Politics is an almost impossible business for working-class people (especially for a conservative who must run against the media). She needs to build some wealth, which she can do quite easily by shedding the "ball and chain" of the Alaska governorship. The very least Sarah Palin ought to get for her troubles is to be as rich as David Letterman.

Prediction: Sarah Palin will never be president of the United States.

However, there is no reason why she can't be a Republican Al Gore, beloved and admired on her side of the aisle and reviled and ridiculed by her irate opponents. Remember, Vice President Gore has reportedly earned $100 Million during the years following his defeat in 2000. Like Gore, Palin will always have star power and the ability to draw a crowd. We can expect her to use her influence on the party faithful when needed, and we can also expect her, like Gore, to continually dangle the prospect of running for president before the press and her faithful boosters (but my hunch is, ultimately, she will never pull the trigger again on a all-out run for the big prize).

All she needs now are a "few inconvenient truths."


In conclusion, this very brief analysis from VDH via NRO's the Corner is on the mark and also well worth your time. If she were to be a serious contender for the GOP nomination someday, she would need to follow this path:

In the long run, she can lecture, earn a good income through speaking, develop a coterie of advisers and supporters, take care of her family, not have the constant political warring on all flanks, and invest time in reflecting and studying issues, visit the country, meet leaders, etc. She's not looking at 2012; but in eight years by 2016 she will be far more savvy, still young, and far more experienced. It matters not all that the Left writes her off as daffy, since they were going to do that whatever she did; the key is whether she convinces conservatives in eight year of travel and reflection that she's a charismatic Margaret Thatcher type heavyweight.

UPDATE: big BB welcome to Instapundit readers.

UPDATE-2: big BB welcome to Wizbang readers (another one of our favorites).

UPDATE-3: interesting thread in response to this post on't seem to be many folks actually reading the post, but the idea touched off a heated and sometimes ribald but sometimes funny debate among mostly non-fans of Palin.
Category: Politics
Posted by: Martian Mariner
There's nothing like a good scandal to make the news, and politicians have been awfully obliging the past few months. Marital infidelity is an oft-recurring scandal, and the more brazen the attempt to conceal the affair ("hiking the Appalachian trail," for example), the bigger the news buzz. There are also bonus Nielson points for soliciting prostitutes, using drugs, or attempting to hide homosexual behavior.

But why, why is this such a common theme? I'm not asking why cheating politicians make CNN headlines; I take our collective indignation/morbid curiosity as a given. I'm asking rather why it is that there seem to be so many politicians who risk political suicide for a momentary (or repeated) satisfaction. These are smart guys, right? (Almost always guys, yes.) Why then the stupidity, the risk?

I think the most explanatory analogy comes from the field of statistics. Any researcher working with sample data (statistics) knows that to be a true representation of the larger population, the sample must avoid, as much as possible, any selection bias. Simply stated, a selection bias can taint the results of a survey by virtue of the method in which the survey is collected. A well known example is "Dewey defeats Truman," which was based on a survey conducted via telephone in an era when telephone ownership was restricted to richer (read: Republican-leaning) Americans. The survey was flawed; the sample group was not representative of all Americans.

Representative democracy works on a principle similar to statistics: A group is selected from the total population and is intended to represent the wishes of the whole. [I know this isn't exactly fair to the political philosophy of the Framers, WF and OG, but spare me the historical skewering for the moment, please.] However, representative democracy, particularly in the modern, financing-driven style, is subject to a selection bias, specifically a self-selection bias. Think about the years of political maneuvering, fund-raising, back-scratching, and bacon-bringing required of any politician who wishes to be successful. Anyone who willingly subjects himself to that gauntlet, on the assumption that he/she can actually win at it, is likely to possess traits which may ultimately lead to a fall.

Pride, of course, goeth before the fall, and pride, manifested politically as (pick your term:) ambition, arrogance, charm, confidence, egotism, self-aggrandizement, or selfishness, is required of any politician. I'm an armchair psychologist at best, but I think there is a strong connection between the pride that allows one to consider politics and the pride that allows one to think he can get away with a crime. Speaking statistically again, one could say that there is a positive correlation between a political figure's political skill and SBI - Slime-ball index.

I guess the good news is that if this is true, and politicians are biased as a selected group, then what politicians do does not necessarily reflect on the general morals of Americans overall, since they're not a representative sample.

For debate: Is this self-selection bias an inherent flaw in the system? Can it be overcome structurally, or do we just need to pray for a Washington every election?