On January 5, 2011, three days before the Tucson shooting, I warned that the mainstream media would mount Operation Demoralize:
The mainstream media will undertake, and already has undertaken, a concerted effort to blame the Republican House for everything that goes wrong, for not living up to promises, for living up to promises, for failing to compromise, for selling out, etc.
Do not fall for it.
Holding the Republican House to its commitments is one thing; falling for Operation Demoralize is something else.
If you think that the mainstream media is not still 100% in the tank for Obama, think again.
Keep your eye on 2012. They are.
I could not have anticipated that the event which would kick off Operation Demoralize would be a mass murder and attempted assassination of a Democratic Congresswoman by a mentally deranged gunman who had no obvious interest in the real world of politics but who clearly was not a Republican in name or otherwise.
I also could not have anticipated that one of the leading Republican potential presidential candidates, Sarah Palin, would be falsely accused of inspiring the shooting, and that the mainstream media would run with that narrative to the point that almost a third of Americans believed it.
But as we all have witnessed the past 10 days, there has been an all out mainstream media assault on Tea Parties, conservative talk show hosts, and most of all, Sarah Palin.
Is it any surprise that Palin’s negatives have reached new highs?
Yet some people who say they actually like and support Palin on the merits already are succumbing to Operation Demoralize even though the primaries are more than a year off and the Presidential election is almost two years away.
The time has come to put any thoughts of Sarah Palin running for President to rest. I say that not because I dislike her; on the contrary, I’m a fan. I think she did an excellent job as a vice-presidential candidate in 2008 and has been an effective spokeswoman for conservative causes in the years since. But there is no way she is ever going to be elected President, and the sooner Republicans get over that idea, the better.
[citing a recent CNN Poll]
No one with a 59 percent unfavorability rating among independents has the chance of a snowball in Hell of being elected President. 2012 will be a vitally important election year; it is no time for a kamikaze Presidential campaign or for a cult of personality. Republicans (and conservatives) need a candidate who has a chance to win against an incumbent who, despite everything, is not particularly unpopular and who won’t be able to do much visible damage between now and then.
One hopes that Governor Palin will see the writing on the wall and devote her energies to helping the conservative movement and other, better-positioned candidates rather than to pursuing a Presidential ambition that can only prove destructive.
Why is such an announcement necessary now, at the very moment that the conservative movement is trying to fight back against the mainstream media campaign related to the Tucson shooting?
You can throw Palin under the bus if you want, but what will you do when the next candidate faces blistering false accusations which drive negatives high after a mainstream media feeding frenzy?
Why not let the political and primary process work itself out. We do not even know if Palin is running, or if she will garner enough Republican support to win.
There is an insatiable mainstream media hunger to demonize and marginalize potential Republican nominees. Feeding that beast in the wake of the Tucson shooting is not the way to win in 2012.
Update: Scott Johnson at Powerline disagrees with Hinderaker, pointing out that the polling at this moment in time likely reflects the post-Tucson beating Palin has taken in the media, and also makes a point that I have made, which is that every other Republican candidate will be attacked by the media in turn:
The rest of the pack of likely Republican candidates for the presidency has problems too. Mitt Romney? He’s got Romneycare hanging like an albatross around his neck. Haley Barbour? Let’s just say he doesn’t match up well with Obama. Newt Gingrich? I’m unaware of any base of support on which he might draw.
Mitch Daniels? If exhaustion with Obama has set in and created a market for a boring candidate, Daniels might be the ticket. Tim Pawlenty? I doubt he would even carry Minnesota and, after his eight years in office as governor, he has left some of us wondering what it is he really believes in. John Thune? The Senate is a notoriously difficult place from which to run a presidential campaign. Mike Huckabee? He’s found his niche at Fox News.
And yet, depending on circumstances, just about any one of them might also be able to compete against Obama. Or so it seems to me.
Update 1-20-2011 – Hinderaker has responded to a reader letter, and I respond too, John Hinderaker’s Weak Defense Of His Palin Political Premortem
We Just Witnessed The Media’s Test Run To Re-Elect Barack Obama
The Dilemma of Someone Libeled – Palin Edition
Will The Media Investigate Why Eric Fuller Targeted Trent Humphries?