Monday, 9 August 2010

President Palin?

A video dropped into my inbox yesterday morning, and it reminded me of an article I'd been planning to write for a few days, in which I briefly ramble on about how I think the delightful Sarah Palin will be the next President of the USA. Of course, this is a concerning prospect for everyone except her nutty supporters, but one I think is becoming increasingly more likely as time goes by. Could November 2012 mark the beginning of a Palin presidency. "You betcha!"

The first obstacle to the intelligent, competent Mrs Palin becoming the leader of the USA is her own party. America's political system is... odd and confusing. There's an election of some type every five minutes, and this involves caucuses, in which Republican party members in each state will toddle off to their nearest makeshift evil-plotting depot and select their preferred candidate for the Presidential nomination for their evil party. When this has been completed in all states, the party has their Presidential candidate. That's how I understand it to work anyway. US politics is confusing and overly drawn-out because America likes to do everything big and exaggerate everything else. Palin first has to put herself forward, and then receive the nomination of her fellow evil-doers in the Republican party. Her plus points are that she is now well-known, and has experienced the Presidential campaign before when standing as McCain's vice. This gave her the opportunity to learn how to handle press attacks and how to defeat more competent people by telling stories about hockey. If she can draw upon her experience in 2008, avoiding her weaknesses and playing up her strengths, she could stand a better chance. Of course, her celebrity status is also a downside, because everyone got to see how much of a moron she is. Republicans may fear nominating her due to her apparent unpopularity with people outside the party, fearing that the chance of swaying enough wavering Democrat voters to Republican with Palin as the nominee would be slim.

[caption id="attachment_1147" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Amusingly accurate (click for big)"][/caption]

How much support could the Republicans expect to get from the public at large? Possibly quite a lot: not necessarily in spite of Palin, but because of her. There have been a few things which have left people disillusioned and wary of Obama. Healthcare has been a particularly important one. Obama's decision to provide government-funded health insurance to those who do not have their own seems to have been largely unpopular, with many fearing an increased cost tax and others shouting about how it's socialism. The Republican party's opposition to healthcare reform could help them gain protest votes from Democrats who don't support the reforms, and Palin's simple, earthy, small Government message can be contrasted against Obama's actions in the White House, which could help her pick up more votes. Palin potentially has the chance to suggest healthcare reforms of her own, but one which is based upon the markets and capitalism as opposed to Government involvement. She could pick up on Ron Paul's ideas for healthcare, which he likes to stress making it capitalist rather than corporatist, involving removing the large providers with their monopolies and making it a genuinely competitive field. That's what he hopes to happen, anyway. The intention being to drive down prices, give consumers more choice, and have companies competing against each other to offer better services. (You can watch the two polemics: Ron Paul and Michael Moore discussing opposing views on healthcare if it tickles your fancy.)

Obama is also perceived to have failed on picking up the economy. Telling people that the economy is recovering whilst they sit at home without a job does not convince them that their Commander in Chief has made the right decisions. It seems to be seen by many - and I think rightly so - that it's the rich banks who have profited out of this recession, whilst everyone else has been expected to hand over money to bail out the companies which caused the recession in the first place. Palin would potentially have the chance to push an economic recovery plan - devised by someone else, of course - which could put the emphasis on small business and people, appealing to that noble and traditional ideal of small, successful businesses. It would be difficult for her to highlight the costly bail-out package as a Democrat and Obama failure, as the majority of Republicans also voted for it, with the exception of a few firebrands like the venerable Ron Paul.

Religion could also be another area for Palin to make ground on. Atheists in the USA are thrashed with large wooden sticks, and an argument against Obama heard all too often is that "He's a Muslim!" Aside from the fact that he isn't, it's largely irrelevant. However, Palin can, without expressly making any prejudice comments, highlight her dedicated Christianity and her conservative views on moral issues. This brings me nicely along to the next item I want to cover.

A make or break area for Palin could be her views on moral issues like abortion. Mrs Palin is against abortion, so much so that she wouldn't condone a girl having an abortion if she were raped by her father. The USA seems to be roughly split half-and-half between pro-lifers and pro-choicers, though it seems the pro-life lobby has been growing recently, surpassing those who believe it is up to the individual woman to make her choice. If there are enough Americans who support the pro-life outlook, Palin could make this into a key issue, and using it as a platform from which to spring with her other conservative, traditional opinions and policies, contrasting her views with Obama's actions. Overtly adopting a policy of criminalising abortion would likely be political suicide, but pulling the line about letting individual states decide on the issue is a roundabout way of saying she wouldn't mind it being criminalised in some states. It promotes localism and devolving power, likely more appealing than abortion being made illegal on the basis of a President's opinion.

There's not much ground she can make on foreign policy. This is a woman who thinks she'd be good in this area because she can see Russia from Alaska, and who didn't know Africa was a continent. Neither can she come into the fray with a very pro-Iraq war attitude, as it's a very unpopular war.

The recent BP oil spill is also an event which has left the President looking decidedly incompetent. In reality, there was little he could do, and when he did do something, people like me condemned him as being too harsh on BP and causing damage with his rhetoric. Palin really can't make an issue out of this given her track record of supporting oil drilling, but I'm sure she'll try.

So will Sarah Palin be elected President in 2012? I think there's a good chance. If Obama doesn't have a sudden surge in popularity, I think it's unlikely that he's going to win a second term, and presuming that Sarah becomes the Republican candidate, she's in with a good chance of becoming the President. May god help us all.

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