Saturday, July 11, 2009

GOP wants Sarah Palin to stay home

Now here is a fascinating twist to my previous posting, where Sarah Palin may have resigned from the Alaskan governorship to cash in on fame and fortune. I'm sure some of that fame would have included campaigning for GOP candidates. And yet, this Hill.com story reveals that some GOP candidates want her to stay home:

Republicans facing tough elections in 2010 don’t want Sarah Palin campaigning with them.

Though the soon-to-be-former Alaska governor is seen as popular with the conservative grass roots, several Republicans said she’d help them by staying home in Wasilla.

Several of these Republicans hail from districts or states carried in 2008 by President Obama, a frequent target of Palin’s criticism. Republicans must keep these districts and win others where Obama is popular if they are to gain seats next year.

GOP Rep. Lee Terry (Neb.), who squeaked out a victory despite his district’s overwhelming turnout for Obama, said he’d rather have House colleagues campaign for him than Palin.

“There’s others that I would have come in and campaign and most of them would be my colleagues in the House,” Terry said.

Rep. Frank Wolf, a Republican from Northern Virginia, which is increasingly becoming Democratic territory, offered caution when asked whether he’d welcome a Palin fundraiser.

“I don’t generally need people from outside my district to do a fundraiser,” Wolf said.

Several other lawmakers indicated a wariness about accepting help from Palin, but did not want to criticize the GOP’s vice presidential candidate from last year. They said Palin could hurt them by firing up Democrats.

An unnamed GOP lawmaker representing a district that Obama carried in 2008 told The Hill that if Palin came into his district, his opponent would “probably be doing a dance of joy.”

The head of the House Democrats’ campaign arm said he’d welcome Palin’s involvement in the 2010 campaign.

“We hope that she will be part of the future debate on the direction of the country,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

Sarah Palin is a polarizing figure. We've seen it with her polarizing poll numbers, where the Republican voters love her, the Democratic voters hate her, and the independent voters want her to leave the national stage. This story is another confirmation of just how polarizing Sarah Palin can be. Those Republicans that do not want her campaigning in their states that are turning purple, or blue with Democratic and independent voters--voters that the GOP candidates will need to solicit if they are to win offices in 2010. The last thing they want is to be linked to Sarah Palin.

So which GOP candidates are welcoming Sarah Palin to stump for them? Going back to the Hill.com story:

Senate hopeful Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who faces a tough election in Missouri, said he wants Palin to come to his state.

“I think she would be helpful,” he said.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) also said he’d welcome a Palin visit.

“The answer is, if she can raise a lot of money for me, yes,” Grassley told reporters Tuesday. Grassley, who is up for reelection in 2010, said he remembers Palin having a big Iowa following during the 2008 campaign.

“[A]t three events I spent with her in Iowa during the last campaign, she had bigger turnouts than McCain had,” Grassley said.

Since the Iowa caucuses are the first test for Republican presidential candidates in 2012, a visit could also be beneficial to Palin, whom many still think could lead a future GOP ticket.

It is the red states! We're talking the conservative states here. Both Iowa and Missouri are conservative states, although Iowa's electoral votes went to Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. Still, Chuck Grassley may feel that his U.S. Senate seat is strongly cemented so that he would welcome Sarah Palin to stump for him. The key point here is that Sarah Palin can campaign in the red, conservative states, drawing huge crowds of conservative voters who are obviously going to vote for the Republican candidate anyways, and not feel any fallout from tepid Democratic, or independent, opposition, in those conservative, red states. In other words, Palin plays off the strong red states where Democrats won't have much of a chance to win, claiming her own victory as a strong campaigner for GOP candidates. This brings us back to Sarah Palin's polarizing persona--use the polarizing persona where the base is strong, but stay away from the battleground where that same polarizing persona can weaken you. Considering Sarah Palin's own naked ambitions, and a potential 2012 presidential run, I'm thinking she'll be campaigning in those red states next year.

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