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Posted by on Jun 5, 2011 in Politics | 7 comments

Howard Dean to Democrats: Don’t Assume Sarah Palin Would Lose to Barack Obama

Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean is warning Democrats what I have noted here in many posts over the past year: it is not wise to assume that if former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin gets the Republican nomination she will lose to Barack Obama:
Howard Dean, the former Democratic National Committee chairman who helped

Democrats capture the White House in 2008, warns that Sarah Palin could defeat President Obama in 2012.

Dean says his fellow Democrats should beware of inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom that Obama would crush Palin in a general-election contest next year.

“I think she could win,” Dean told The Hill in an interview Friday. “She wouldn’t be my first choice if I were a Republican but I think she could win.”
Dean warns the sluggish economy could have more of a political impact than many Washington strategists and pundits assume.

“Any time you have a contest — particularly when unemployment is as high as it is — nobody gets a walkover,” Dean said. “Whoever the Republicans nominate, including people like Sarah Palin, whom the inside-the-Beltway crowd dismisses — my view is if you get the nomination of a major party, you can win the presidency, I don’t care what people write about you inside the Beltway,” Dean said.

The concept of “conventional wisdom” is really a dressed up way of saying: pack journalism. Or, more accurately, pack analysis. Some use the word “group think” but “pack” journalism or “pack analysis” is more like it.

As someone who worked in the media for many years and who now spends hours looking at all kinds of weblogs written from all kinds of perspectives, it’s clear the new and old media can get swept into covering the same story and echoing the same perceptions. Some of these perceptions come from left and right talk show hosts. Some come from a prominent analyst saying something which is then picked up and repeated or becomes the framework for someone else’s analysis.

But the idea that it is a “given” that any candidate nominated by a major political party doesn’t have a chance of winning is wrong. All kinds of events — natural disasters, calamities, tragedies, economic trends — can pop into a political picture.

Dean is correct: those who trust the conventional wisdom by new and old media inside the beltway and outside the beltway are making a big mistake if they bet their house on it.

In any election there are people who cast affirmative votes for a candidate and those who cast votes for a candidate they don’t like but they dislike the other candidate even more. And in an economy that seems to remain quite sick where every day you hear about someone who is looking for a job or laid off, the incumbent President better not assume he can keep his job for four more years.

So Dean and Andrew Sullivan are correct.





Will .


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  • JSpencer

    After 2 terms of George Bush I would never underestimate the ability and willingness of the electorate to send an utter fool to the White House. So yes, a President Palin is a genuine possibility. And as bad as things have become this new century, they could always get worse. Another loony at the helm would insure it.

  • parkypundit

    How peculiar. Howard Dean posts HIS op-ed just one day after Sarah Palin posted HER “op-ed” fully explaining her historical miscue.


    I’m not a Palin fan but Dean has a point.

    Let’s not forget our history

    Clinton and Reagan were both seen by many on the other side as a dream opponent.

    I wouldn’t vote for Palin myself, but you never know what could happen.

  • dduck

    I might agree, if not for the candidate debates.
    I hope people watch them and judge what they hear. PROBABLY, Palin would look as silly as the “The Rents Too Damn High” guy.
    In contrast, all the above mentioned candidates fared well during their debates. I don’t think she will go that far in the process, so we may never know.

  • DLS

    Don’t forget the 2000 example. Gore was no doubt cocky besides in the debates. Did it ever backfire in the debates!

  • roro80

    I totally agree with Dean, and, it seems, with the other commenters here. JSpencer has it just right — we elected an utter failure of a human being in 2000, and perhaps even more inexplicably, again in 2004. I mean, the guy had help from ballot and voting machine designers, as well as an awesome campaign to disenfranchise certain groups known historically to favor Dems, but the Bush got lots and lots of votes nonetheless. We are totally capable of collectively electing people who are so ill-fitted to the job of president that they basically ruin the world.

    It’s hard to think that anyone could do as poor a job at the helm as Bush, but if anyone could, it just might be Palin.

  • roro80

    DLS — I agree that Gore bombed the debates, and that it actually made a difference. I am so opposed to everything Bush thinks is correct that it’s hard for me to think of him as having done better, but at least the words he strung together made sentences that made sense, for the most part. I don’t think it was necessarily arrogance that made Gore’s performance so difficult to swallow, but either way, he did extremely poorly.

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