While all eyes are focused on the upcoming elections and the big picture about the makeup of the next Congress, many people have been watching the undercurrents, reading the tea leaves for indications about the makeup of the 2012 republican primaries. While the common wisdom has Sarah Palin underperforming in a wide open republican primary, not everybody thinks the same. The CW goes like this, as Moorcat succinctly put it last week:

Palin stands zero chance to be the next president. In every poll run on a possible matchup for the 2012 election, Palin has been (at best) third behind Romney and Huckabee.

But in an article yesterday by John Heilemann in the NY Magazine, “2012: How Sarah Barracuda Becomes President,” he lays out the scenario:

1) The t-party pushes Sarah through to the republican nomination;
2) Obama’s popularity wanes even more amidst republican intransigence aimed to get Sarah Palin elected;
3) Michael Bloomberg enters the race as an independent, intent to assure that grownups (pragmatic centrists) persevere

Then all that needs to happen is the following (the first 2 scenarios being an Obama reelection or a Bloomberg upset):

But there is a third scenario, one that involves a more granular kind of analysis-cum-speculation. By the accounts of strategists in both parties, Bloomberg—especially with the help of his billions—would stand a reasonable chance of carrying New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, and California. Combine that with a strong-enough showing in a few other places in the industrial Northeast to deny Obama those states, and with Palin holding the fire-engine-red states of the South, and the president might find himself short of the 270 electoral votes necessary to win.

Assuming you still remember the basics from American Government 101, you know what would happen next: The election would be thrown to the House of Representatives—which, after November 2, is likely to be controlled by the Republicans. The result: Hello, President Palin!

Now, if you happen to be a Democrat, your first instinct might be to dismiss all of this as a dystopian anti-fantasy, or the kind of spook story told around a campfire, scary but ultimately harmless because it’s make-believe, or maybe the ravings of a madman. (I wouldn’t argue with that last one.) Certainly, it qualifies as far-fetched.

But, then, everything about Palin’s story is far-fetched: McCain’s selection of her as his running mate, her ascension after abruptly quitting the highest post she’d ever held, her status as one of the front-runners for her party’s presidential nomination. But here she is, a phenomenon nearly—nearly—unprecedented in modern politics, a figure so electrifying to the most hopped-up segment of her party that at times she seems unstoppable.

“She’s a supernova,” says McKinnon. “The only parallel is Barack Obama. And look what happened to him.”

Talk amongst yourselves as you watch the returns next week. Things will start moving much faster and with more clarity.

Me? I’m thinking of putting up a big fence around my farm, maybe dig in a bunker or two, and start stockpiling some 2nd amendment remedies.

  1. Nice “What If” mind exercise, but it needs to be plainly stated:

    The t-party pushes Sarah through to the republican nomination;

    Never going to happen.

  2. I stand behind my comment. Palin has zero chance to get elected. What I see as a dim and unlikely possibility is that she gets tapped again to run as a Vice President candidate to secure the “Tea Party” vote.

    This all assumes that the Tea Party survives much beyond the election. Assuming the Repubs get the majorities they appear to be headed for (in truth, the Senate is still a tossup), if they fail to perform, it will let the wind out of the sails of the Tea Party. Those that are actually concerned with the things they say they are concerned with will turn on the wingnuts and it will fall apart.

    • JC

      Bush had zero chance to win, after the 2000 election. But then the Supreme Çourt stepped in. Likewise, Sarah could come in last in the election, and the House vote her in.

      Zero chance is in the eye of the beholder. Now that Heilemann has laid out the strategy, you can bet that all eyes are on Bloomberg.

      Afterall, at this point in the 2008 election cycle, Obama had “zero chance to get elected,” too… right?

  3. I never underestimate the power of stupidity.

    Think about it – did anyone ever think we’d still be reading about Sarah Palin daily, yet alone ever after all the crap we heard during and just after election 2008?

    Shamefully, dismissing her would be foolish.

    • We read about her every day because she has become the female version of Limberger – a controversial entertainer. The media sucks it up like cream because it sells papers and advertising. Just as Limberger couldn’t get elected president, there is no way Palin could. The media will continue to pat her on the head and stick microphones in front of her face but they would turn on her in a heartbeat if she really did run for office. Hell, they are still replaying her famous “I know Russians” comment.

      • mr benson

        Yeah, I can’t measure her electability by how often the press talks about her. National, mainstream press is little more than the national enquirer. Lindsay Lohan has the same chance by that measure.

    • JC

      That’s one of my main points in putting this up.

      Also, this scenario, if it doesn’t invigorate the dem base to wake up in the last week and work their asses off and turn out, then they well deserve a president palin. And by handing the House to the republicans, give her a shoe horn into the office she needn’t have.

      Heilemann’s story is all over the press now, and getting some air. Maybe people will quit being so dismissive. Stranger things have happened electorally (like Bush’s 5-4 SCOTUS victory in the face of losing the popular vote, and only having 49 states count).

  4. lizard19

    the only madam president we are likely to see is Hillary Clinton taking out Obama in the primary. i think that’s plausible.

    but if Sarah were to somehow get anointed, i wouldn’t be surprised if there was a military coup. i can’t imagine military brass taking orders from a vapid dimwit like Sarah Palin.

  5. Hmmmm … I don’t happen to know the future, but given what I know about the past, I find too unpredictable to be handed the job, either by money backers or courts. The power people like dependable people who won’t rock the boat or try to make big changes or run their own show … you know, like Obama. Dependable is the key. Pail would be a ticking time bomb, saying things that don’t make sense, firing people, abusing the power of the office … not allowed.

  6. ahnon

    NY Magazine…? Which, btw, is simply “NY Magazine”, no article before, please – that’s very cute. THE New Yorker, NY Mag. I don’t even know who this Heilemann is…. I wish people would just ignore her. Including 4&20.

    I also really wish that some attention were being paid to the SC race here at home. Has there been a single mention here?

    • JC

      Nit pick much?

      If you don’t know who Heilemann is, then why should I care about your grammatical corrections?

      And if wishes were fishes, the deep blue sea would wash away with thee…

      And just what is the “SC race” that you speak of?

      There. I gave you at least another half dozen nits to pick.

      • ahnon

        The Baker-Swandal race. Here’s to hoping this is the end of the R party putting forward Swandal once again….

        I wasn’t nit-picking (you and I have had pleasant correspondence in the past, JC and, not that it matters, but I’m on your side.) New Yorkers can’t help but find it charming when non-New Yorkers get something wrong. You know, kind of like how Montuckians are proprietary about all things idiosyncratic to MT. We’re all a bit centric.

        • JC

          At least I didn’t capitalize and italicize the “the”. ;-) Got the title of the mag right. My grammar may be off occasionally, because, well, we’re not always our own best editor or proof reader. And I usually get paid to do that kind of stuff…

          If you want to do a writeup about the Judge race, just paste it in a diary somewhere and we’ll see that it gets some attention.

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