Shockingly, Dems Don’t Really Want Palin to Campaign for Them Either
Jonathan Martin follows up on Ralph Z. Hallow’s story about Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) being willing to campaign for Democrats by … asking a bunch of Democrats if they’d want to campaign alongside Palin. “She’s deeply unpopular within their own party,” Martin says, understating the matter, “but in the socially conservative, often rural districts or states they represent, the plain-spoken, wader-wearing Alaska governor has a following.”
The closest Martin gets to a buyer:
I hadn’t given it a lot of thought,” said Rep. Gene Taylor, a Blue Dog Democrat from Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, adding: “I would not be opposed to it.” But right after opening the door, Taylor quickly closed it. “I generally don’t bring in other folks to campaign for me,” he said.
So how could she be an asset?
“Like I said, I hadn’t given it a lot of thought,” Taylor reminded, allowing only that Palin is “popular” and that “people like her.”
“OK?” he asked, or pleaded, wanting to be done with the subject.
It’s a pretty tongue-in-cheek piece but a revealing look at the power of Palin’s brand in the press compared to its power with politicians. Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), for example, is often cited as the sort of Blue Dog that Democrats need to keep their majority, a candidate who might have had a tough re-election in 2008 if the Republicans hadn’t nominated a flake, and he has no problem (diplomatically) blowing off the idea that Palin could help him. One reason: Shuler’s district, which gave only 40 percent of the vote to Al Gore in 2000, gave 47 percent of the vote to Barack Obama. And other Democratic incumbents in deep McCain-Palin territory, like the party’s three congressmen from Arkansas or Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi, are too entrenched to worry about this sort of thing.