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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, June 22, 2024

Republicans don't need Palin's image

Recently, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker has expressed an interest in having former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin endorse him. As a viable candidate with a record of solid results in fiscal policy (the area Wisconsin needs the most help with by far) in particular, this is a major step in the wrong direction for him.

Now that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has decided to enter the race for governor, the last thing Scott Walker needs is the endorsement of the obscure Alaska governor turned regular national punch line. Walker needs to stick to campaigning on the issues and on his own experience and past successes.

Sarah Palin has defied all odds by somehow becoming the face of the Republican Party, thrilling those on the extreme right side of the social issue spectrum and leaving many of the rest of us stunned and wondering how on Earth we've arrived at such a juncture. The majority of people had no clue who she was when John McCain announced her as his shocking choice to run as the vice presidential candidate on his ticket. But they quickly found out through a humiliating series of events that ranged from revelations about possible corruption in Alaska to several interviews so bad that ""Saturday Night Live"" turned them into regular, extremely popular sketches featuring Tina Fey as Palin.

Palin may be the greatest gift to comedians of the world in the history of politics. Some highlights include (and there are so many to choose from): not knowing what the Bush Doctrine was, claiming foreign policy experience by virtue of Alaska's proximity to Russia and the infamous ""deer in the headlights"" quote that somehow connected bailouts with health care and a plethora of other completely unrelated issues.

Since the presidential campaign, it's only been more of the same for Palin, whether it be the ethics inquiries, the revelation that she took her children on trips they were not even invited to at the expense of Alaska taxpayers or her well-publicized flame war with Levi Johnston, the father of her teenage daughter's baby. And again, these are only a few of the more prolific examples. In addition to her penchant for memorable sound bites, Palin's completely uncompromising, extreme right wing views, particularly on social issues, have completely alienated Democrats and many people in her own party. However, in spite of all of this, she is arguably the most visible Republican of today.

The Republican Party is currently going through a significant identity crisis. There has been talk of whether it will even survive. The biggest challenge for the party may be winning over the younger generation of voters. This will be significantly more difficult if the GOP becomes synonymous with people like Sarah Palin.

The party is going to need intelligent candidates who are well informed on the changing face of U.S. voters, and like it or not, it will need to make concessions on some issues. Sarah Palin is the polar opposite of the image the party, and its legitimate candidates, like Scott Walker, need to project today. The GOP needs to reform its stance on some issues and redouble its stance on others. The last thing it needs is a circus sideshow, but unfortunately, that is exactly what it's been given.

Ben Turpin is a junior majoring in psychology. We welcome all feedback. Please send all responses to opinion@dailycardinal.com. 

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