October 29th, 2008
07:57 AM ET
14 years ago

Palin's future causes GOP rift

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/10/29/palin.gop/art.palin.jpg caption=" Gov. Sarah Palin speaks at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday."]
(CNN) - Election Day is still days away, but Republicans are already caught up in a heated debate about Sarah Palin's future role in the party should the GOP ticket fail to win the White House.

In one corner are some conservatives who believe the Alaska governor has been a detriment to John McCain's presidential bid and threatens to lead the party astray for the foreseeable future.

Another faction says Palin's core-conservative beliefs, demonstrated political acumen, and compelling frontier biography position her to reshape the face of a party now viewed by many voters as out of touch.

It's a debate,somewhat ugly at times, that is beginning to play out in public view as Republicans brace themselves for the possibility of losing the White House and a significant number of seats in Congress come Election Day. And that may leave the party in shambles with drastically reduced influence in Washington.

Should that happen, political observers say, the party will face its biggest identity crisis in more than a generation, and Palin may well be caught squarely in the middle of it.

"A civil war that is simmering will break out into the open if McCain loses, and the party will have to decide what they want to be in the post-Reagan world," said Gloria Borger, a senior political analyst for CNN.

Full story

Filed under: John McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (232 Responses)
  1. SKI

    I wanted to know why is Samuel Wurzelbacher still being referred as "Joe the Plumber" when the whole country knows he is not a plumber with a license to perform his duties. Is it not the time to call him "JOE THE NOT SO PLUMBER" or "JOE THE UNLICENSED PLUMBER" or "JOE THE NON-TAX PAYER" ?

    The media should accurately portrait the sheer atrocities of McCAIN's camp in using Samuel Wurzelbacher spreading wrong notion all along.

    October 29, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  2. FactCheck

    It looks like the GOP just doesn't learn lessons. The reason why McCain is losing is because of Sarah Palin (if Romney were his VP pick, he'd have a race on his hands or if Ridge were the pick, he'd have Pennsylvania). She rallies the base... great. But what base does she really rally? It's not the fiscally conservative, national security party of Reagan... it's the Red state, religious wingnut, policy incompetent party of George W. Bush.

    October 29, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  3. Tony

    Unbelievable. If she is the new face of the republican party, this Independent voter will always vote for a democrat until she is out of site and back in her igloo.

    October 29, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  4. dan collins

    Sarah Palin is struggling with not coming out too damaged from a sinking ship. She is overly abitious, which got her where she is in the first place. She is way too right wing conservitive for me and most Americans, but like all polititians, she will adapt. We will see a more moderate Republican next time with conservitive undertones. Its either that or stay in Alaska.

    October 29, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  5. DeeBee

    Both the Dems and Reps have, for some time, dealt with tensions within their own ranks. But this tension isn't the moderate/extreme tension that is normally discussed. It is a tension between the social and economic positions. Both parties have a base that adheres to the party line on both, but in recent years, perhaps because they've been in power for eight years, the tension seems more palpable among Republicans. A figure like Palin could solidify support for social conservatism among Republicans, but it could cost the party the economic/social conservative alliance that was the bedrock of the Reagan administration.

    October 29, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  6. Uncle Sam

    If we're looking for change in Washington, does it not make sense to choose the dynamic duo of maverick reformers in John McCain and Sarah Palin?

    October 29, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  7. kanderson89

    Unfortunately, she represents everything nasty about the GOP. I long for the days of even GW Bush. At least he took his responsibility for being a public servant seriously. His son has managed to fail at absolutely everything he has attempted. If 9-11 had happened on a Democrat's watch, do you seriously think he would have been re-elected? Why the Democrats never went after that is beyond me. 9-11 happened on BUSH'S watch, people!

    At any rate, Palin may have a brief comeback like Pat Buchanan did but ultimately the establishment will never let her be at the top of the ticket.

    October 29, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  8. Joe Green

    When are the Republicans going to get clue that Religious Fundamentalists and right-wing nutjobs are a small minority of the population, not a "base" to elect a President.

    Most folks vote on ECONOMIC issues, and Bush fell down on that.


    October 29, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  9. SD

    I never seen a person (woman or man) less qualified for the office of Vice President or President. It is really disappointing to see a woman be the first. I don't believe she didn't and doesn't know this, instead you saw an opportunity and just rode the wave. Crazy!! I would suggest the Republican party think long and hard about ever using her again, because the backlash from the citizens of these United States would be hard and powerful. She does not represent Women who are smart, intelligent, self-confident and multi-taskers. She is a side-kick, a image that is only clear when she opens her mouth. Hillary earned hers, this woman is trying to still hers.

    October 29, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  10. carol

    I think Sarah Palin is just about right for the Republicans.....she shares the same lame values they believe in and she wants to..
    "win these wars" just like McCain.
    Yes, so I agree she will do a fabulous job for them and an even better job for us Democrats...as long as she thinks she can run for President
    we'll never see a Republican hold the White House ever again.
    I'm afraid Sarah has given herself too much credit with her disgraceful display while running for VP.....if she thinks she has endeared herself to the American people with her rabble rousing antics in the election race she is dead wrong!!
    We deserve much better than that and we will get much better when Sen Obama is elected President next month.

    October 29, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  11. Michael watching from Canada

    I would like to thank Sarah Palin, as Governor of Alaska, for having awarded the $40B natural gas pipeline contract to TransCanada.

    Its nice to have Alaska outsource jobs to Canada.

    October 29, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  12. Becky

    Sarah Palin, if you don't release your medical records by the end of this weekend, you making it appear to the American public that you're trying to hide something. The election is less than a week away.

    October 29, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  13. Wise White Guy

    McCain/Palin = Oil dependency
    Don't be fooled by what they say. Check out their records on alternate fuels and you will see one thing.....BUSH/CHENEY
    Check out their tax policies and you see tax breaks for Big Oil so you tell me how that equates to ending our dependence on oil.
    Check out the lobbyists on his staff and you will see the Big Oil interests and who he will be owned by if he wins. The things they are willing to lie about to win are unending. There is a reason why any group interested in our energy independence support Barack Obama.

    October 29, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  14. Pete

    Future of the GOP?

    I'm glad McCain chose her as his running mate. It's the best way to make sure Obama and Biden are the next leaders of this country for the next four years! And if Sarah Palin IS the future of the GOP, does that mean we'll have only democrats in offices all across the country for the length of her political career?

    October 29, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  15. Lyndon,CA

    Extremist, Right Wing Idealog from the Klondike. If Hilary is polarizing, what is she? Just the opposite and without a BRAIN!

    October 29, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  16. Joe

    Prision, home making, PTA – then agin, I think the repubs deserve her – maybe they shoudl make her thier leader – yea, that will work out fine for the dems.

    October 29, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  17. Ex GOP

    Ya Betcha Buzz Buzz. I am a disgusted Republican voting for Obama. If the idiot elite who currently pull the puppet strings in the GOP. Try to force Palin or Romney on us in 2012. I will burn my voter card and re register Independent .

    October 29, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  18. Chris in SC

    She has abused her power as Governor of Alaska. Well, that seems about for a leader of the Republican party.

    October 29, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. Anna PA

    The religious extreme will be the part of the GOP that follows Palin. These very religous people where welcomed into the party by the Bush team with promises of protection against gay marriage as well as turn over of Roe vs. Wade. They followed blinded not ever realizing what they where promised they would never get. Most centrist republicans are pro-choice or vote on other issues besides abortion and there reasons for being in the party are completely different from the religious group.

    The Republican party has become two parties and there will be a split right down the middle. For the party to every be effective again they need to kick out the group that Bush welcomed in. Only then will they beable to regroup and move forward. The thing is, is that we(the country) need the republican party, the real republican party. Both sides need to work together to have a real effective government.
    We must all become centrist though so that we can all work together.

    So I hope that the party does split and Palin takes the extreme part of the republican party with her. So that the real republican party can regroup and begin to work with democrats to rebuild our country and move forward into the future.

    October 29, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  20. Irma in North Carolina

    I think Sarah needs to go ack to Alaska and stay there at least so they say she is liked up there. She has had to many hate rallys and done too much attacking, she acts like she is at the top of the ticket. When John picked her the only thing he could see in her was her good looks.

    October 29, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  21. JL

    good let the GOP continue to further DESTROY themselves...........S. Palin is NOT a person many people could every trust or believe in. She has about "6-faces of Eve" and working on increasing that number. GOP might want to re-think. Not that it would help them any right now but why do they continue to make these MISTAKES.

    October 29, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  22. Rave

    She must have already made plans for the Alaska Independence party – run by her and her family. Calling herself a patriot and maverick is a big joke.
    I always thought Alaskans are thankful to be a part of America... Well, there are some sick people all over the world and Sick people choose Sick people as partners..
    OBAMA / BIDEN (2008)

    October 29, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  23. Karen for Obama

    I'm listening to Palin right now; don't know who she is addressing but I think it's some type of business group for alternative energy. Does anyone find it curious that when she's speaking to business and the like, she does NOT speak with that "Minnesota/Dakotas" type accent she fairly drips with when she's speaking at her rallies. Curious!

    October 29, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  24. karen

    "political acumen"...???? Palin is an imbecile.

    October 29, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  25. jeff in MA

    I laugh at the idea of her becoming the next Republican leader. She's too polarizing, even for Republicans. She's going to have the same fate as Pat Buchanan who was all the rage until people realized he was a extremist bible hugging wack job. Sarah Palin will be lucky if she's re-elected as Governor of a state most of us thought was part of Canada.

    October 29, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
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