Everybody loves a parade. All of us want something good to happen in our lives. This is particularly true in desperate times. And these times (2008) are certainly desperate in America. The desperation has been magnified in the Republican Party. With an old bore as their nominee, facing the charm and charisma of the youthful Democratic nominee – the Republicans have been desperate for a parade, good news, hope for their party. Governor Sarah Palin delivered. But a Newsweek poll shows that the honeymoon is over – and the work of a real relationship begins.
Every parade must come to an end – that is – every parade that is all pomp and ceremony – with no substance to offer long term sustenance. Sarah Palin is a stunning charismatic politician – and she is a Governor. That is nothing to shake a stick at – more of our Presidents were Governors than Senators. She is quick on her feet and ready for moose.
A quick recap: She came, she met McCain, she was nominated, they were officially married at their convention, and now they have had their honeymoon. All Republicans were invited to the reception. It was a grand party, celebrating the new and hopeful future of their species. The honeymoon was glorious, they traveled, met new people, were invited into peoples homes. Governor Palin’s grace as the new bride of the Party was heralded by even the most ardent naysayers.
The honeymoon is now over. Everyone has to get back to work. Governor Palin is discovering that being a running mate requires work – which she is ready for – and substantial knowledge of running the government household when her running mate is away. She prepares the news supper every evening for weary Americans coming home from a hard day’s labor. The first two weeks were great – but it appears that we are now eating a lot of leftovers. Governor Palin only knows six things, and that knowledge has been freeze dried – ready for a quick microwave meal.
The Newsweek popularity poll is a little shocking – but not really surprising. Here is an excerpt from the latest article:
The polls reflected the early success of her strategy. In the three days after Palin joined Team McCain–Aug. 29-31–32 percent of voters told the pollsters at Diageo/Hotline that they had a favorable opinion of her; most (48 percent) didn’t know enough to say. (The Diageo/Hotline poll is conducted by Financial Dynamics opinion research; it’s the only daily tracking poll to regularly publish approval ratings.) By Sept. 4, however, 43 percent of Diageo/Hotline respondents approved of Palin with only 25 percent disapproving–an 18-point split. Apparently, voters were liking what they were hearing. Four days later, Palin’s approval rating had climbed to 47 percent (+17), and by Sept. 13 it had hit 52 percent. The gap at that point between her favorable and unfavorable numbers–22 percent–was larger than either McCain’s (+20) or Obama’s (+13).
But then a funny thing happened: Palin seems to have lost some of her luster. Since Sept. 13, Palin’s unfavorables have climbed from 30 percent to 36 percent. Meanwhile, her favorables have slipped from 52 percent to 48 percent. That’s a three-day net swing of -10 points, and it leaves her in the Sept. 15 Diageo/Hotline tracking poll tied for the smallest favorability split (+12) of any of the Final Four. Over the course of a single weekend, in other words, Palin went from being the most popular White House hopeful to the least.
So what are we to surmise? The Republican Party was infatuated with the date John McCain brought home. She was everything they hoped for. Gracious, intelligent, energetic, culturally perfect – loves guns, loves The One True God, hates homos, bullies subordinates, loves money, and is very ambitious. Perfect.
But this is the problem with all marriages. Honeymoons end. Work begins. There are expectations of running mates – but Governor Palin did not understand the extent – and no one asked her- we should not fault Sarah Palin for being put in this position. But we should acknowledge the facts.
The Palin bubble has burst, the wind is out of the sails, an economic hurricane is ahead, and the Captain of the Ship, Mr. McCain, is trying to change directions. It seems neither Senator McCain nor Governor Palin know what to do in troubled waters.
We never thought they were a very engaging couple – but we were not invited to the reception.