Palin is the GOP’s, not Obama’s, worst nightmare

Earl Ofari Hutchinson | 11/30/2010, 8:32 a.m.

One of the currently obscure GOP presidential hopefuls could break from the pack and build the support and garner the cash it takes to make a serious run. But to do that they’ll also have to try to sell the Tea Party throngs that they would be the better choice for the GOP presidential than their heroine, Palin. That’s a near impossible sale. Palin has already staked out that turf, and it appears unshakeable. GOP consultants have noted the overwhelming majority of Tea Party-leaning ultra-conservatives watch Fox News religiously, and when they do they see and hear Palin spouting one or another dig, slam or inanity about Obama. They love every word of that. She’s also cheer-led by Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and other Tea Party mass media gurus, and she has command of the social media network.

Palin’s strength is to play on and to stoke popular rage and frustration with tin ear politicians who’ve turned voters into invisible men and women. That translates to millions of disgruntled, frustrated voters who will be sorely tempted to push, prod and hector the GOP to give Palin her due. Many will be just as sorely tempted to vote for Palin as a maverick candidate, or if her name is not on any ballot, stay at home. This would be tantamount to a vote for Obama. This would be an even bigger disaster for the GOP.

Palin, then, is the GOP’s textbook Catch-22. If they nominate her they almost certainly guarantee Obama a second term. If they don’t nominate Palin, they would risk incurring the anger of millions of GOP grassroots voters. Palin is the GOP’s, not Obama’s, worst nightmare.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst.