My colleague Andrew Sullivan is mighty upset about my suggestion, in this post, that Sarah Palin might not run for president, and by way of welcome to the blogosphere, he unloads both barrels on me. Andrew says I'm "completely wrong, dangerously complacent, and out of touch with profound shifts in media, fundraising and politics."
Well, I think Andrew is profoundly wrong and borderline nuts on this subject--and if he's right, and Palin launches a bid for the White House, his nightmare of a Palin presidency is unlikely to be realized. It's not impossible. Just unlikely. The point of my original post, riffing off this New York magazine piece on Palin's newfound wealth, was that Palin seems more interested in money than politics. The conventional wisdom in Washington--which Andrew has backward--is that Palin will probably run, though this is less a matter of conviction than a vague sense that she craves the spotlight and won't pass it up. My mildly contrarian suggestion was that avarice might lead her instead to become a Glenn Beck-like political-entertainment figure, which would furnish her with a platform, a lifestyle, and a way of avoiding the hard work of running for president (a lot tougher than serving a half term as governor).
My point was limited to Palin's own motivations and desires. But Andrew's rant doesn't address that--I don't think his worldview allows for the possibility that she might not run. He concerns himself instead with lots of black-helicopter sounding stuff about cynical elites and the "media-ideological-industrial complex" and basically stops just short of accusing Palin of fluoridating the water. But after all that, what Andrew has described is not a force powerful enough to elect a president. He's described (pretty accurately, I might add) elite Washington's view of the Fox News viewership and then imbued it with a lot more importance than it merits. "Add Palin to the mix," he writes, "and you have a whole new machine in American politics--one with the capacity, as much as Obama's, to upend the established order."