How Sarah Palin lost John McCain the Presidency
Steve Newlin, Senior Contributing Editor
I know what you’re thinking. Sarah Palin’s vice presidential nomination rallied the Republican Party’s core Religious Right. They love her. The adore her. They pack stadiums to see her. Heck, they even want her to be the president. But there’s a simple fact in US politics: No matter how powerful the Religious Right is, it can never, in and of itself, win a presidential election.
The Religious Right could not even win the Republican Party’s primary election. If the Religious Right was as powerful as most people think it is, it would be Huckabee leading his party’s ticket, not McCain. But Huckabee did not win. McCain demolished Huckabee in the primary because McCain was able to get support from people who I’ll call fiscal Republicans, those who support free market ideas but who do not politicize their moral and religious beliefs, and from moderate Democrats. Let’s face it, Huckabee could not get moderate Democratic support on the most moderate day of his life with an electrified moderating machine.
So my point has no bearing on Palin’s popularity within the Religious Right. My point is that when McCain pandered to the Religious Right and picked Palin, he alienated those moderate Democrats and fiscal Republicans who won him the primary, and his numbers dropped accordingly. Let’s face it, if Right Wingers such as Christopher Buckley are leaving McCain, you can be certain that moderate Left Wingers have already left.
This is why one Republican pundit called Palin a “fatal cancer” to the Republican Party. Cancer is alive, but it will eventually kill its host. That’s exactly what Palin did. She rallied the Religious Right to life, but then killed McCain’s campaign.
And the ironic part is that McCain and his handlers completely forgot, or completely failed to consider, that the Religious Right would have voted against Obama regardless of who ran for the Republican Party; merely because members of the Religious Right would not want a black man as president. Does anyone really think those nutjobs who call Obama an “Arab” or “terrorist” would have voted for Obama if McCain had picked a moderate running mate? There was absolutely no reason for McCain to pander to the Religious Right, as he had a lock on them from the get-go. However, by pandering he now doesn’t have a chance in heck of winning.