As we get closer and closer to November 2012, I’m noticing a trend — increasing numbers of conservative women willing to openly question the stuff that Sarah Palin is made of. Many well-respected Republican women have apparently decided that it’s vital to get voters thinking about what a potential Palin presidency would look like and they don’t seem to care if they get on Palin’s bad side in the process.
“…[S]he was a governor, … [b]ut the fact that she left office before even completing her first term is — that’s just not an attitude that I think is necessarily in the best interest of your constituents — rather what’s in your best interests.”
When I heard Whitman go out on that anti-Palin limb — one that few Republican men seem to be willing to wander out on – I wondered if she was an outlier or whether there might be something of a GOP stealth campaign to jolt the country into seeing the former Alaska governor in a light different than the one she carefully scripts for herself on FOX News and The Learning Channel.
Given all the love and/or fear that many on the GOP side have for “She Who Would Not Be Crossed By Her Fellow Republicans,” I found Whitman’s straightforward denunciation of Palin rather refreshing. The GOP has a tendency to circle the wagons for its own, regardless of personal preferences, just for the sake of building party strength. So I started to wonder — was Whitman all by her lonesome on her Palin-ology or were there others who were also speaking candidly about the woman many like to call the half-term governor?
Senator Susan Collins of Maine hasn’t been shy about her thoughts on Palin, publicly stating that she believes Palin cost the GOP seats in 2010, and planting a few anti-Palin seeds in a December 2010 interview:
“I think she likes being a celebrity commentator for Fox and a speaker and being able to provide for her family,” Collins said. “I think that life appeals to her. It’s a lot easier to charge people up than to actually govern.”
Others were open about their qualms even before that. Kathleen Parker and Michelle Laxalt, two well-respected conservative voices, weren’t shy about their concerns early on. And Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, formerly allies of Palin, have made a point to keep their distance. And while Michele Bachmann and Palin seemed to be political soul sisters not so long ago, that chapter in Bachmann’s political appears to be over as she sorts out her own path that’s likely to be at odds with Palin’s.
So is there an under-the-radar campaign to keep Palin out of 2012? Or have increasing numbers of high profile conservative women all just independently come to the same conclusion to steer clear of Palin and her beloved army of Mama Grizzlies? There may not be an anti-Palin club among conservative women yet, but the numbers of those taking on the Palin machine keep getting bigger. I have a feeling that soon they’ll have enough to build their own clubhouse and perfect their secret handshake.