I have been addressing in some detail the assertion that Sarah Palin should not be seriously considered by Republican voters because Palin cannot win a general election, so I will not repeat myself.
Admittedly, I have been somewhat narrow in my focus, driven by circumstances that the “can’t win” meme is being used currently against Palin almost exclusively. (Obamacrats — “She can’t win”, describes how the “can’t win” strategy works.)
The issue is not Sarah Palin.
The issue is whether we will demoralize voters who would work hard to elect a Republican — even a Republican not quite to their liking — in the general election provided the primary process were viewed as fair and open.
We saw in the 2010 elections that Tea Party supporters are among the most loyal. Where Tea Party candidates lost primaries, Tea Party supporters rallied around the winner, or at least did not actively seek to undermine the winners. By contrast, the moment establishment candidates lost, there were active attempts in some races by establishment Republicans (and unfortunately, some of the conservative blogosphere) to undermine the candidates.
There is no better way to demoralize a key segment of the Republican Party, and damage our chances in November 2012, than to announce a year before the primaries even begin that Palin should not even enter the primary fray or should not be seriously considered because she cannot win a general election.
We do not need the Republican equivalents of 2008 Democratic PUMAs, people so embittered by the perceived unfairness of the primary process that they stayed home or switched sides in November. And that will be the result of attempts to shut Palin out of the process through the “can’t win” strategy.
The same holds true for other potential Republican candidates — let them all enter the primaries and let them all be seriously considered regardless of what polling tells us now is the likelihood of success.
Let’s have a process focused on issues, and yes, as part of the process electability inevitably is going to be one of the issues. But let’s not undermine ourselves by telling Sarah Palin, or Tim Pawlenty, or Mitch Daniels, or Mitt Romney or anyone else that they are wasting our time by running because they cannot win a general election.
And let’s not insult their supporters with the same message. Remember, after the primaries the Lombardi Rule will take effect, and we are going to have to unite to defeat the billion-dollar candidate.
If “she can’t win” is the means by which one of the candidates wins the Republican nomination, then we can’t win either.
Washington Post Now Not Even Trying To Hide Its Hatred Of Sarah Palin
It Sounds So Much Better Read Out Loud