I’d never heard a Democrat gush about a Republican quite as much as former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel gushed about Sarah Palin in Damian’s post last night.
But I’ve found someone who may just trump Gravel in the gush department, albeit for different reasons.
Meet Donna Brazile.
Donna Brazile is a political commentator on CNN, ABC and NPR, and a contributing columnist to Roll Call magazine. A longtime Democratic political analyst, she was Al Gore’s campaign director in 2000, and has worked in many Democratic campaigns over several decades. She served as interim chair of the DNC this year.
So, with her Democrat bonafides, it was a bit surprising to see Brazile devote two entire columns this summer praising Sarah Palin as a potential candidate. One might be tempted to believe Brazile was up to something sneaky, but her words simply rang true. See for yourself.
In a June 7th column following the first leg of the One Nation bus tour Brazile wrote:
Once again, everybody in the mainstream media has been talking nonstop about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Palin, whose nomination in 2008 helped turn a four-car funeral into a hit parade, deserves credit for re-entering what is sure to be a media bonanza worthy of competing with the summers biggest blockbusters.
She is as J.J. Walker from the hit series of my childhood Good Times used to say dy-no-mite!
It’s been awhile since I have paid attention to or written about Palin. Frankly, it seemed as if the mainstream media, the Democratic opposition, her Republican establishment and all other detractors — you name it — were tired of beating up on her. Now, Im a Democrat who recently served as interim chair of the Democratic Party. It’s safe to say that Sarah Palin and I have our differences.
But I never got into the groove of simply dismissing her as a credible and successful politician. I didn’t have the heart to join the “let’s beat up on Sarah Palin” crowd. For one thing, Gov. Palin wasnt nicknamed Barracuda Sarah (by her high school basketball teammates) for nothing. She didn’t need me to put out a call for civility. She’s one tough political diva who knows how to take the heat. In fact, she’s given every bit as good as shes taken.
Palin became the sole star of the Republican Party in August 2008. Sen. John McCain was the nominee. He possessed presidential nominee credentials heavy enough to sink a battleship twice over. But it was Palin who electrified the dormant base of the Republican Party. It was Palin who drew large and exciting crowds similar to that of then-candidate Barack Obama.
Almost three years later, she still has undiminished star power unmatched by anyone in the Republican Party. Not even newcomers like Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky or House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin are Palin’s media equal.
Here’s what you should know and respect about Palin. Shes tenacious, self-assured, focused and extremely likely to toss her hat into the ring when the timing is right because, unlike the other Republican presidential candidates, her potential candidacy is not tied to the conventional calendar or the mood swings of the other party leaders. More on Palin later. For now, her tour of the eastern seaboard of America is just revving up.
True to her word, Brazile did write more on Palin, in a June 12th column titled, “Yes I Said Sarah Palin for President.”
In my last column, I presented reasons why Sarah Palin should not be dismissed as a presidential hopeful. Because one column alone couldn’t cover everything, I offer another cluster of reasons below, starting with an important one: She has time.
Palin can wait until the last possible moment to officially file her intent to run. Others who have already filed or are looking to file need to start developing traction-generating strategies now. However, Palin has both name recognition and the ability to quickly raise the funds needed to pull together a massive organization in the key early states. This media-savvy political professional can decide when it is the right time for her to file.
A just-released Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll found that almost 4-in-10 Republicans are unhappy with their party’s current choices for nominee. Results like these lead to a perceived vacuum that candidates such as Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann feel positioned to fill. Donald Trump felt poised to fill it. He floated his trial balloon only to see it popped in short order.
Palin is the candidate with the most crossover appeal between groups. She can talk to the tea partiers, the radicals — even the nearly extinct moderates.
When scripted, she can be rather convincing, especially compared to other candidates. The others are too drab — in policy, in convictions, in media smarts. They just can’t compete with her star power. From here, 2012 looks like a slam-dunk for Sarah Palin.
Obviously, Brazile hasn’t attended many Palin speeches … or she may not have gone with the unscripted comment given that the Governor delivers her speeches always without a teleprompter.
But it is refreshing to see a staunch Democrat giving Palin her due. That’s more than we can say for so many on our side of the aisle who dismiss her out of hand (yes, you David Brooks) as a joke.
Brazile may have political differences, and may not understand all of Govenor Palin’s incredible background, but she sees the talent and potential of Sarah Palin.
And frankly, sometimes that’s all we can ask, right?