Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Elephant Dung #22: Judd Gregg warns of Palin's road to nomination

Tracking the GOP Civil War

By Michael J.W. Stickings 

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

I'm not sure anyone really cares what former New Hampshire Gov. and Sen. Judd Gregg has to say, not least within the right-wing Republican base, but he is a prominent figure in New Hampshire, that key early primary state, and so perhaps he does matter somewhat. And it seems he doesn't much care for Sarah Palin:

Prominent New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg says that Sarah Palin just might have a clearer path to the Republican presidential nomination next year than commonly understood – an event he warns would lead to President Obama's clear reelection.

Gregg, the former senator and governor of the Granite State, says the muddled GOP presidential field means it's more likely than ever there won't be a clear consensus candidate before the party's nominating convention in August of 2012. If that happens, says Gregg, Palin and her army of supporters might have the upper hand when it comes to settling on a presidential candidate.

"A candidate who runs second or third in a great many primaries could go into the convention with a sizable block of delegates," writes Gregg in an Op-Ed in The Hill newspaper Monday. "Who would this favor? Does Sarah Palin come to mind? Although she is not viewed by most as strong enough to win, she is viewed by many as a person worth voting for to make a statement."


"Finishing second and third isn't really a big deal – until you get enough delegates to be the nominee," writes Gregg. "And picking a nominee who it seems would be easily defeated by President Obama might not be the best statement."

Well, it's not clear if he doesn't like her or if he just thinks she isn't electable, but I suspect the former as much as the latter. Add him to growing list of establishment Republicans, including pundits and intellectuals, who are hoping to keep Palin on the sidelines in 2012, and understandably so, and who are taking admittedly mild but increasingly aggressive shots at her.

Then again, the 2012 Republican field looks incredibly weak at the moment, and Palin, for all her faults, is one of the few, if not the only one, who could stir it up a bit and excite the party's rabid base. (Santorum's trying to be the Palin alternative, but he can't exactly match her star power.)

Oh, does Gregg have an agenda of his own? Of course. He's a Romney supporter, and obviously he'd like to keep out anyone with the potential to beat his man. Which is pretty much everyone, given Romney's standing with grassroots conservatives, what with his Mass. health-care reform and moderate past and all.

So maybe, as he pathetically tries to play GOP kingmaker from his perch in New Hampshire, we'll get Gregg op-eds -- you can read his anti-Palin one here -- against every possible Romney rival. Romney unchallenged, after all, is perhaps the only way he can win.

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