Palin vs. Gingrich: Democrats Win!

Among the Washington politerati, the dishy subject of the week has been Sarah Palin’s disinvitation from and then re-invitation to a fancy GOP fundraising dinner. It’s been fodder for cable pundits and bloggers. Here’s my take from elsewhere:

There was a lot of teeth-gnashing over Sarah Palin’s no-show-turned-show at the GOP’s Monday night gala in Washington, where Newt Gingrich spent an hour delivering a policy-laden speech that reportedly did not electrify the well-groomed crowd of Republican donors and did not send them pouring into the streets in search of pitchforks. Still, Gingrich stole the show from Sarah Palin, who couldn’t give an hour-long address on policy without generating accusations of plagiarism.

But this silly episode demonstrated, yet again how the Republicans are in a pickle. Choosing between Gingrich or Palin? Would you rather have hemorrhoids or shingles? In reporting on this mini-controversy, The Hill noted:

Sarah Palin has begun to get on the nerves of Republican senators who say the former GOP vice presidential nominee is taking her own White House aspirations entirely too seriously.

Could it be that the GOP is getting some sense? Fortunately for Democrats, the article did report that some Republicans in Washington remain enamored of Palin:

A senior GOP lawmaker said that while Palin may not be taken seriously by some Washington elites, she remains wildly popular among blue-collar conservative voters.

“Her supporters relish the idea that she doesn’t have a lot of money; she could raise it in small amounts over the Internet like Barack Obama,” said the lawmaker. “She’s about the only person in our party who can draw a crowd.

“She appeals not just to social conservatives but also to a lot of blue-collar, working-class Republicans in my state,” he added.

“People in the Northeast who read The New York Times and went to elite colleges dismiss her, but a lot of people in the country like candidates who don’t like Washington and don’t speak with an affected accent.”

It would sure be great for Democrats if Republicans stick with their traditional attacks on East Coast elitism–a.k.a. intelligence. Yeah, with two wars under way and a dozen different bailouts in progress, and challenges like addressing climate change and a broken health care system at hand, the voters really want someone who doesn’t read The New York Times and who won’t turn to policy experts with degrees from top schools. Right?

For years, the GOP has blasted Democrats for being…well, too smart. It kinda worked with Al Gore (with the Supreme Court’s help), at a time of peace and prosperity. It did work with John Kerry. But it didn’t work with Barack Obama, in a time of true crisis. Put Sarah Palin up against Barack Obama and accuse him and his crowd of being too well-educated–does this sound like winning national formula for 2012? Maybe in the reddest of red states. But any GOPers yearning for that sort of face-off obviously didn’t get the memo: know-nothingism is out, at least for now.

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  • David Corn

    David Corn is Mother Jones' Washington bureau chief and an on-air analyst for MSNBC. He is the co-author (with Michael Isikoff) of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump. He is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, Showdown, Hubris (with Isikoff), and The Lies of George W. Bush, as well as the e-book, 47 Percent: Uncovering the Romney Video that Rocked the 2012 Election. For more of his stories, click here. He's also on Twitter and Facebook.