Palin's Future

My Sunday column:

Could this person become president? The odds remain against it. A poll last week revealed that Palin’s favourability ratings have dropped to a new low of 37%; 70% of Americans believe she is unqualified to be president, up from 60% last November. Even among conservative Republicans her ratings have slid: 45% now view her as qualified for the presidency 66% said so last autumn... Even Michael Savage, the far-right radio host banned from Britain because of his hate speech, said last week: “If you want Obama for a second term, just make sure Sarah Palin is the Republican nominee ... She is not electable as president.”

But there are two unknowns, it seems to me.

The first is: who else have the Republicans got? No one out there equals her grip on the base or her charisma. In the primaries she has a solid phalanx of devoted supporters who are exactly the kind of voters who show up come rain or shine. If the Republican establishment tries to counter her with a blander candidate, she could easily run as a Tea party candidate a George Wallace-style option and one that might well guarantee Obama a landslide.

The second unknown is the economy and the war. Both could get worse. A slide back into recession or a terror attack could give the sub-rational forces that Palin channels so well a real chance to break through. This is a country of deep and dark populist moments and she is seeking hers.

I have to say I fear her. Or, rather, I fear a country that has allowed such a person to come so close to power and to dominate its discourse quite so powerfully. It is a sign that all is not well. And the world needs an America which is more stable and more calm than the one Palin represents.

The whole thing here.