Jan Scruggs
Memorial founder

Jan Scruggs

Founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

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A factor in 2010 races

Q: Can former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who is hugely popular among conservative Republicans, help her former running mate John McCain hold onto his Arizona Senate seat? How often do proteges eclipse the success of their mentors?

Several months ago, an excited radio reporter from Arizona came to meet me. He had just spent over an hour with Sen. John McCain and reported that the senator was literally "running scared"-- afraid of losing the Republican primary to the Tea Party candidate J.D. Hayworth.

Sarah Palin was a big help to Sen. McCain with her recent aggressive endorsements of him. McCain is leading now -- but the lead is eight points, and McCain still has not broken the 50 percent margin. There are enough undecideds to keep this a horse race.

For many Arizona conservatives, McCain is just not and cannot become conservative enough. With a Tea Party opponent, this could hurt him, but I believe women voters and moderates could save the day and help return Sen. McCain to Washington, D.C.

Still, I would not put money on any political races, given the general atmosphere of steamy Tea Party anger that looks like it will be enough to create some change in a number of Senate and House seats.

Sarah Palin's recent campaigning for McCain may indeed help him hold onto his Senate seat. With her huge popularity right now, she seems to have the potential to eclipse the success of her mentor. Palin has found her strengths and seems to know exactly what to say to bring a crowd to its feet. She also has the extraordinary ability to make her critics' blood boil over. Love her or hate her, she is a real factor in election 2010.

By Jan Scruggs  |  April 1, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Mentors Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I think the accuracy of Jan Scruggs assessment (telling us that Palin will be a real factor in this November's elections) will depend upon whether the angry right is able to sustain its anger. Six months is a long time in politics.

Will Palin's now nearly constant media exposure (already causing epidemic gagging among her critics) engender a backlash among the centrists and even right-of-center independents that are needed for political victory? The persons who criticize Obama for his constant media exposure (and who are thus experiencing their own epidemic gagging) may well hope that she is immune to that happening, but we shall see. Aside from external factors (unemployment levels, for example) that neither she nor Obama can control, the extent of her influence that she CAN control comes down to how media-savvy she really turns out to be.

Personally, I rather regret that media-savviness (is that a word?) matters, but such are the times we live in. Obama's critics who denounce him as the teleprompter-dependent king of sophist rhetoric are conceding his media savviness, consciously or otherwise. Will the same rules apply to Palin? Will the unblinking eye of the camera recall her "Katie Couric" failure or erase it from memory?

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | April 2, 2010 2:02 PM
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I have no empirical proof of this but I have heard that many people attending both McCain's rally and the teaparty in Nevada came to see the delightful Mrs. Palin.

They were going to vote for McCain's opponent and many weren't even Nevada residents.

You're right, Mr. Scruggs. Sarah is entertaining. And that's what the people come for. If you call that worthy of the GOP then the GOP has jumped the shark.

Posted by: arancia12 | April 2, 2010 1:18 PM
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"...seems to know exactly what to say to bring a crowd to its feet."

Rabble rousing is not a skill requiring much intelligence. History is replete with many examples of the dumb leading the dumber.

Posted by: monel7191 | April 2, 2010 10:20 AM
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Now these new allegations of white supremacy.When on earth did Sarah do that ?I am a brown skinned Canadian.Go through her tea party videos on youtube.I see lots of brown and black people supporting her. However, since she is a US loving leader, I do not expect to see a lot of illegal aliens supporting her. Also, would it be good if illegals start supporting her ? I know illegals are a potential goldmine of a votebank which Sarah is not willing to court.Is she a white supremacist because she does not support illegal aliens ?

Posted by: subhashisn | April 2, 2010 9:37 AM
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Your right if one is white and belongs to a hate group. Do some research on Alaska's AIP party who want to secede.

Posted by: mac7 | April 2, 2010 8:51 AM
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If I were someone who practices white supremacy, I would completely agree with your assessment.

Posted by: demtse | April 2, 2010 8:04 AM
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