Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Tale of Two Endorsements: Why Sarah Palin is Starting to Piss Me Off

This past May, I posted my thoughts about why it was a mistake for Sarah Palin to endorse Carly Fiorina in the U.S. Senate Republican Party primary race here in California. Despite the fact that a proven conservative like Chuck DeVore was actually polling better than Fiorina in a head to head battle against Senate incumbent Barbara Boxer, Palin went ahead and threw her heavy influence behind someone whose conservative credentials are, at best, questionable (e.g., Fiorina backed TARP and has refused to say whether she is against abortion rights ).

Fiorina handily won the Republican nomination, and I believe Palin's well publicized endorsement played a big part in that. Chuck DeVore ended up finishing in third, only a couple of percentage points behind Tom Campbell, a liberal Republican and fairly well known former congressman from the Silicon Valley who several years ago had run for Senate against Dianne Feinstein. All things considered, DeVore did pretty well for someone who didn't have Fiorina's personal wealth or Campbell's built in name recognition.

With all this in mind, I got a little irritated when I saw this post on the Conservatives4Palin blog today which basically crows about the impact Sarah Palin had on the U.S. Senate Republican primary race in Washington State. The winner of that contest was Dino Rossi who, like Fiorina, isn't too forthcoming about his views on specific controversial issues, like abortion rights. Although, according to this local liberal rag in Seattle, Rossi does have a pro-life voting record in the Washington State legislature.

Sarah Palin, however, did not endorse Rossi. She endorsed Clint Didier, a political novice and former professional football player with the Washington Redskins. As noted by Conservatives4Palin, prior to receiving Palin's endorsement, Didier was running in fourth place in the Republican primary and polling in the low single digits - 4 percent. The final results of the primary show Didier winning three counties and over three times the amount of support he had been getting before being endorsed by Palin.

Didier clearly had a very slim chance of winning the GOP primary, even with Sarah Palin's endorsement. But her endorsement did make things a kind of interesting in terms of the final election numbers. Given the apparent impact she had in Washington, I don't think it's far fetched to believe that if Sarah Palin had endorsed proven conservative Chuck DeVore over highly questionable conservative Carly Fiorina in the California Republican primary, DeVore quite possibly could have won the GOP nomination. What makes Palin's endorsement decision even more infuriating to me is that DeVore had a better shot than Fiorina at beating Barbara Boxer. In a general election match up against long time Senate incumbent Patty Murray, I'm pretty certain Clint Didier never had as good a chance of winning than Dino Rossi. WTF with your endorsements Sarah Palin?!

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