Thursday, December 02, 2010

Elephant Dung #6: Rollins tells Palin she's no Reagan

Tracking the GOP Civil War


(For an explanation of this ongoing series, see here. For previous entries, see here.)

Long-time Republican operative/strategist Ed Rollins has penned a piece for CNN in which he tells Sarah Palin to cool it -- and, well, politely puts her in her place:

[Q]uit comparing yourself to Ronald Reagan. To paraphrase the late Sen. Lloyd Bentsen's comments to Dan Quayle in the 1988 vice presidential debate: I knew Ronald Reagan, and you're no Ronald Reagan.

You're a media star and a great curiosity. You were plucked out of political obscurity because of the whim of presidential contender John McCain, who didn't know you and made you into an overnight sensation. You performed well for three weeks in the campaign, did better than expected against Joe Biden in the debate and then you self-destructed.

You clearly weren't ready for prime time, but neither was your running mate. After the election, you quit your day job as governor of Alaska with 18 months left in the term and went out and made a fortune making speeches and selling a book.

It was certainly your right, and you're not the first one to cash in on fame. Millions of Americans love you, and I am sure millions more hate you. Unfortunately, that's what happens in politics.

You can be a contender for the Republican nomination in 2012, but you're a long way from being the nominee. You're going to have to beat some very formidable candidates with way more experience and far superior knowledge on issues foreign and domestic. And to rate your chances today, I would put them at "possible" but not "probable." It's an all-uphill battle.

Right now, polls indicate you wouldn't carry your home state of Alaska.

Etc., etc. It's fairly tame, but the message is clear.

And will Palin get that message and do as Rollins suggests? Of course not. She may "want to be a player," but she's not about to "go to school and learn the issues" or "[p]ut smart people around [her] and listen to them." She's not about to do the hard work necessary to become "a serious presidential candidate." She just wants to build her brand and take what she thinks is the easy way up the ladder.

"If you want to be an imitator of Ronald Reagan, go learn something about him and respect his legacy." Yeah, good luck with that.

Rollins concludes by calling Palin a "gadfly," intimating that she should probably just remain on the sidelines in her "forum" -- presumably he understands this to be Fox News, Facebook, and her cult of personality on the Tea Party right.

No, such euphemistic criticism from a somewhat has-been like Rollins doesn't mean all that much compared to Palin's massive popularity among Republicans. But you can add it to the list, a growing list of opposition to the GOP's major star and de facto leader.

There's a deepening divide in the party between the pro-Palin and anti-Palin factions. The former is much larger, but, clearly, many Republicans have had enough.

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