Before my first post on the TAC blogs I want to thank Dan McCarthy for giving me this opportunity.
We’ll start off with something I picked up from the Washington Monthly’s blog, where apparently conservative book publishers are starting to gag on talk show host Hugh Hewitt’s less-than-psychic ability to see into the future:
In 2006, a few months before the midterm elections, conservative blogger/talk-show host Hugh Hewitt published a book on the drive for a “permanent Republican majority.” Soon after, Democrats won a sweeping, historic victory, and reclaimed the majority in both chambers.
In 2007, a few months before the primaries, Hewitt published a book on Mitt Romney and the prospects of a “Mormon in the White House.” Soon after, Romney blew leads in Iowa and New Hampshire, and withdrew from the presidential race after a surprisingly poor showing.
In 2008, Hewitt has a new idea for a book. It’s called, “How Sarah Palin Won the Election … and Saved America.” There’s a small problem: no one wants to publish it. According to a report in the New York Observer, Hewitt’s literary agent, Curtis Yates, has already given up on selling the book.
“The idea was to tell the story behind the effect that Sarah Palin has had on this election and how it is and why it is that she has basically turned the election around for McCain and why it is that she is resonating with so many people in the country,” he said. “The intent was to finish the book by a week after the election, and to have it out before the inauguration.”
Was that the plan regardless of who won?
“The book obviously presumed [a McCain-Palin victory],” Mr. Yates said, “but the theory was that her impact on this election will have a lasting effect regardless — that she’s not gonna go anywhere, that she’s just gonna be a figure in G.O.P. politics going forward.”
That’s the question isn’t it? Is Sarah Palin going to be a force in GOP politics in the future or the symbol of a of not just a failed campaign, but of a type of campaign that’s finally exhausted itself.
I think it’s safe to say that without Palin, McCain would be in even worse shape because instead of fighting it out for Ohio, Virginia, Nevada, Colorado, Florida, and North Carolina, we could add Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, maybe even South Dakota to the list of battleground states. Certainly this would be true if Romney (who I doubt was even seriously considered) or Lieberman were McCain’s running mate. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty would not have Palin’s problems in the sit-down interview format but it’s hard to see people getting excited over him. Palin basically gives the Republican base a reason to get excited about McCain, to even care about the campaign. The NRA would have never endorsed McCain yesterday if Palin wasn’t on the ticket.
To suggest that Palin herself can win the election for McCain doesn’t say much about him but it does say a lot about conservatives like Hewitt who feel this way. Consider that the last vice-presidential candidate that pulled his ticket to victory was Lyndon Johnson. I have my own thoughts on what Palin’s future and that of the GOP might be but, unlike Hewitt, I’ll use a little conservative prudence and until the returns come in and be fully studied before writing them down.