Sarah Palin is this Presidential election’s Howard Dean, according to John Heilemann, who penned a Nov. 10 New York magazine article called “2012? You Betcha!,” which makes a strong case for the future for the Republican GOP VP candidate. [Heilemann does concede: “Here in deep-blue Gotham, many people assume that her destiny is sealed: a one-way ticket back to Wasila.]
John McCain’s advisors -- though they plucked Palin out of obscurity and placed her on the ticket -- are expected to pin the blame for tomorrow’s loss on the shoulders of Palin. The McCain camp has already accused Palin of moving off the reservation. They have called her a “diva” and “whack job.”
Heilemann covered Palin on the trail and is impressed that her “command of right-wing dog-whistle rhetoric is total.” Her charisma and performance skills whip throngs of supporters into a wild frenzy. Palin has the potential to emerge as a “next-generation XX-chromosome Ronald Reagan.”
The political writer seconds conservative blogger Patrick Ruffini who compares the rehabilitation of Palin to that of Howard Dean. Dean was a liberal grassroots phenom like Palin is a conservative one.
The Democratic establishment did not shed many tears when Dean imploded with his famous scream in Des Moines. Dean later emerged as leader of the Democratic National Committee, devising a 50-state organization strategy that has Barack Obama competitive in many historically red states.
"The party elite seem vindicated when Dean self-destructed. But a little more than a year later, Dean was elected DNC chairman with surprisingly little fuss. Whatever Dean’s faults, there was a sense that the party elite had bankrupted itself by running a series of poll-tested me-too triangulators. Dean’s easy victory at the DNC was a precursor of the grassroots’ long-term victory over the elite, culminating in the evisceration of Hillary Rodham Clinton [by Obama.] Does any of this sound familiar?”
Palin is the No. 1 Republican among activist conservatives and evangelicals who play a big role in nominating a candidate. She outshines the dull and suspected (for his Mormon religion) Mitt Romney, Rudy "The Cross-Dresser" Giuliani and Newt Gingrich, whose time has come and gone.
The only question is whether Palin will lead the Republicans to triumph or a Barry Goldwater-like debacle in '64. That Arizona Senator was another true-believer who went down in flames at the hands of LBJ.
Whatever the '12 election results, Palin will remain on the national stage for the next four years. You can bet on that.