Howard Dean: Sarah Palin Can Beat Barack Obama

This is shocking, not because it’s a high-profile liberal doing something other than treating Palin like a dumb bimbo because she doesn’t fit the formula for what a female political figure should be, but because I like Palin and I don’t even think she could beat Obama.

One could say that this is Dean playing Br’er Rabbit, “please don’t throw me into the briar patch,” to embolden Republicans to nominate Palin who he really thinks would be a terrible candidate, but that’s probably over thinking it.

Howard Dean, the former Democratic National Committee chairman who helped Democrats capture the White House in 2008, warns that Sarah Palin could defeat President Obama in 2012.

Dean says his fellow Democrats should beware of inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom that Obama would crush Palin in a general-election contest next year.

“I think she could win,” Dean told The Hill in an interview Friday. “She wouldn’t be my first choice if I were a Republican but I think she could win.”
Dean warns the sluggish economy could have more of a political impact than many Washington strategists and pundits assume.

“Any time you have a contest — particularly when unemployment is as high as it is — nobody gets a walkover,” Dean said. “Whoever the Republicans nominate, including people like Sarah Palin, whom the inside-the-Beltway crowd dismisses — my view is if you get the nomination of a major party, you can win the presidency, I don’t care what people write about you inside the Beltway,” Dean said.

Dean goes on to say that he doesn’t think Palin could win the GOP nomination, but that Democrats are wrong to dismiss her.

Though, thinking about it, they haven’t really been dismissing her have they? I’m not sure there’s anyone on the right who consistent draws as much criticism and scorn from the left as Palin does these days. Even the media, overtly hostile to Palin and openly questioning why they even bother to cover her, feels compelled to follow her about the country reporting on her every move. Because she simply cannot be ignored. And, for what it’s worth, right now she sits atop the polls along with Mitt Romney.

Yet, political convention holds that someone as polarizing as Palin simply cannot be elected to national office. Of course, if there’s one thing Palin is famous for, it’s defying political conventions.

I maintain that she’ll enter the nomination process but play kingmaker to another candidate.

Meanwhile, Palin says not being a declared 2012 candidate is “liberating.”

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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