There’s no question the selection of Sarah Palin has been a hit with the social conservatives. E.M Zanotti (aka American Princess) loses herself:
I AM SO EXCITED OMG PLEASE LET THIS NOT BE A HEAD FAKE OMG. I have resisted blogging on the whole McCain Veep thing because they kept faking everyone out and telling us that this guy was clearing his schedule and this guy had the Secret Service creeping out and NOW there’s a CHARTERED JET that is landing from ALASKA and OMG SARAH PALIN OMGOMGOMGOMG!
“Whoo-hooo” also seemed to be the reaction of the day. While enthusiasm reigns the politics — the Michigan politics in particular — has me wondering.
Palin clearly comes from the Huckabee side of the Party. For them, Palin’s definitely their gal. In a somewhat parallel way, she plays the same role, receives the same enthusiasm from her base, as Obama does with the African American community. Both look like game changers.
If Palin’s candidacy is seen as fairly successful, if she brings her social conservative creds to the table while also being an effective spokesperson for the ticket — then this will add to the clout of the social conservative wing. she will fulfill her promise as a unifier. The base is rightly seen as fragmented. In terms of the upcoming gubernatorial race, Palin would seem to strengthen Terri Land’s standing, both as a successful woman, and as a social conservative (Land’s natural constituency).
But what if Palin crashes and burns?
Then the blame game comes out, the base fractures. In Michigan state politics we can see a noticeable tension between Mackinac Center and the Religious Right; or to cast it in terms of West Michigan, that tension between Ada and Grandville. The primary race in SH-72 bears the populist social conservative Yonker v. the economic liberatarian, Justin Amash. If a strong Palin run adds to the credibility, a compromised run will open the door to the economic conservatives and their belief that the way out of the political wilderness is to run even more as “a principled conservative.” In that case institutional conservatives like Mike Cox or even Peter Hoekstra would look more plausible.
Whether Palin is game-changer nationally, in Michigan she will either stitch together a party, or open up divisions. Whatever her riskiness is to McCain’s chances, she definitely brings it to State politics.