October 28th, 2009
08:18 PM ET
5 years ago

Analysis: Palin's high-risk, high-reward strategy

Washington (CNN) - When Sarah Palin weighed in last week on the contentious special congressional election in New York, she did so in her trademark way: unconventionally.

While other potential 2012 presidential contenders largely stayed quiet on the divisive congressional race that has exposed fault lines in the party, Palin delivered a slap in the face to Republican Party leadership in Washington when she offered a full-throated endorsement of third-party conservative Doug Hoffman over the GOP's anointed candidate, Dede Scozzafava.

Palin's surprise backing - not even Hoffman's press secretary knew it was coming until it popped up on his Google reader - left some political observers scratching their heads, wondering why Sen. John McCain's running mate would risk alienating her party's establishment for a long-shot candidate in a race with little national visibility.

Palin's credibility with the conservative wing of her party is already solid, unlike other potential 2012 candidates who are either largely unknown to conservatives or appear too moderate, like possible 2012 contenders Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty or Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Instead, some strategists say Palin should begin to court less partisan-charged voters, or at least avoid alienating them, if she's serious about being a viable presidential candidate.

Follow Alex Mooney on Twitter @awmooneycnn

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Filed under: Sarah Palin
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Jenna

    You are correct in that Palin doesn't need to convince conservatives she is one of them. However in light of a recent Gallup poll where 40% identify as Conservative and 20% as Liberal, taking a stand for Conservative candidates is hardly "high risk." As she recently said (paraphrased), 'Reagan understood that we shouldn't seek to blur the difference between the political parties, we should instead make clear the choice between conservatism and liberalism.'

    October 28, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. Greg in MO

    "Palin's surprise backing – not even Hoffman's press secretary knew it was coming until it popped up on his Google reader – left some political observers scratching their heads, wondering why Sen. John McCain's running mate would risk alienating her party's establishment for a long-shot candidate in a race with little national visibility."

    Maybe the reason is that she is not the typical Washington politician. Voters, however, do not seem to like those who do not play the Washington politics game. They instead would prefer someone who is well versed in political games – Washington or Chicago politics. They don't want someone who backs someone because they believe they are doing something for the good of this country. They instead want people who campaign for those in their party and who are unwilling to make decisions if they know the outcome, regardless of their decision, will lose voters either liberal or independent .
    Basically, the majority of voters want a lawyer who lacks integrity.

    October 28, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  3. Lynda

    This woman is unconventional in every way.........this just shows you how she would handle sensitive National and World issues........not very Presidental........she doesn't have a clue.....this womans illrational, rogue behavior is not what the Republican party needs.......it's the republicans that need to worry about Palin not the Democrats..........if she ever did get pass the primaries in her own party, we the People of this country will not vote her in as President.......on the other hand her rouge behavior and her followers will distroy the GOP

    October 28, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. Mary

    As usual she didn't think before acting. If she's the best the GOP has to offer they're in serious trouble!

    October 28, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  5. Alan T.

    Every time i hear Palin i think of Quail and visa versa.
    Palin.Quail. What a pair they would make for the looney farm.

    October 28, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. MM

    please please go away Ms. Palin! Please please stop writing news about her CNN!

    October 28, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. Peoples Voice

    Oh, please, please, dear Lord. Make her the GOP candidate for president.

    Praise God, you bet cha.

    October 28, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  8. Robin

    The day Sarah Palin bailed on Alaska was the day she showed this country what she cares about. That would be simply "Sarah Palin" oh, and money.

    October 28, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  9. George

    Sarah okease go away. The 2008 election is over in case you have not heard. You LOST!!!!!!!!!

    October 28, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  10. George

    Sarah please go away. The 2008 election is over in case you have not heard. You LOST!!!!!!!!!

    October 28, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  11. Joe

    70% of this country think Palin is not qualified to be president. What scares the crap out of me is the 30% that thinks she is. She's about as qualified as bush was. Ok, so a lot of people think she cares about the "little guy". Personally, I think the only one she cares aboout is the one she sees in the mirror every day. She's a POLITICIAN! None of them care about the little guy. If they did they would stop raping us of our money. When will this country face the facts that politicians, lawyers and used car salesmen only care about money and power. When will this country realize that greed is NOT good. I also have that answer, NEVER. Anyone out there wanna get married?

    October 28, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. Darrell

    The political pundits keep looking for a pattern to this womans behavior. The is not a bold move. It is simply an idealogical move that is reckless. That recklessness is not what this country needs.

    October 28, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  13. Too True For You

    "...why Sen. John McCain's running mate would risk alienating her party's establishment ...."

    She was just being all 'mavricky', ya know?

    October 28, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  14. Ernesto

    And I thought Palin's strategy consisted of getting up in the morning and making stupid remarks all day long.

    October 28, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
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