So this is the GOP's Great White Hope. Oy.
Fox thinks so highly of its new "analyst" that it brought her on twice last night to "analyze" President Obama's speech, once before and then again afterward with Sean Hannity. In FoxNewsLand, "analyze" means "bash Democrats."
Of course, Palin wasn't speaking for the GOP -- she was speaking for herself, as usual. She claimed to be speaking for the long list of empty homilies she constantly recites -- "freedom", "free enterprise", "American people" -- that are obviously little more than rhetorical symbols to hold up and flash so that everyone thinks you're speaking.
But this is all part of the program to build her up as the GOP's 2012 tea-partying candidate. And this was even worse than Bobby Jindal's self-evisceration last February.
Fox News and Roger Ailes think they're building a candidate with this process. Looks to me like they're building the foundation for a monumental wipeout for the GOP. Hey, couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people.
What struck me was the bigger problem Republicans are going to have in the next couple of elections: Their activist base is demanding that they refuse to compromise with Democrats. But the larger public wants them to cooperate. So which will it be?
The Tea Party folks like Palin are proceeding full steam ahead with their "purity test."
"It's the difference between success and defeat," Bopp said. "It's counterproductive for us to moderate our conservative message. ... We nominated the moderate's poster child, John McCain, for president. It's a prescription for defeat. What we have to do is be faithful to our conservative principles, and when we do we will win."
Palin was obviously on the side of the non-compromising Tea Partiers. In her interview with Hannity, she insisted: "No, we don't want to just chill a little bit and cool a little bit on his health-care plan. We want the thing killed!"
In other words, she was following the GOP prescription on health-care reform to date: "Our way or the highway!"
But all you have to do is look at the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll [PDF file] to see that there's a problem with this:
7b. Do you generally approve or disapprove of the way that Republicans in Congress are handling the issue of health care reform?
Approve ............................... 26
Disapprove ............................ 64
Not sure................................ 10
What polls have consistently shown is that independent voters are angry because they believe both Republicans and Democrats need to set aside the partisanship and work together to get things done effectively in Congress. And they can see that Republicans have been completely unwilling to compromise or work with Democrats in any kind of constructive fashion.
Moreover, what the Tea Partiers and Sarah Palins out there are making plain is that they have no intention of setting aside the partisanship. It's their way or the highway.
No doubt the Tea Party movement is going to be installing a broad slate of Republican candidates in the coming election; indeed, it's looking like every Republican candidate on the planet is going to be at least paying lip service to their demands for purity.
So when the elections come around, all anyone will need to ask them is a simple question:
"Will you be willing to make compromises with Democrats and President Obama in order to effectively solve the nation's problems?"
If they answer yes, they're screwed with the Tea Party crowd. If they answer no, they're screwed with the rest of the voters.
Knowing Republicans, they will try to have it both ways. It will be up to the rest of us not to let them get away with it.