I posted yesterday about Ed Rollins being the latest of the “I knew Reagan” types to use a variation on Lloyd Bentsen’s “You’re no Jack Kennedy” line against Sarah Palin.

Rollins was Mike Huckabee’s campaign manager in the 2008 cycle, and guess who Rollins thought was the next Ronald Reagan:

“Governor Huckabee has probably inspired me as much as Ronald Reagan. He had an ability to connect with people and he was a great communicator. I’ve looked for a long time for another candidate to do that.

“People are always asking: ‘Who’s the next Ronald Reagan?’ Well, I was with the old Reagan. I can promise you that this man comes as close as I’ve ever seen.”

I have nothing against Mike Huckabee, and this is not an anti-Huckabee post.  Rather, it’s friendly advice to all viable Republican candidates: 

Run, don’t walk, away from Ed Rollins and the others who think that demeaning Sarah Palin is the best way to advance your campaign.

Other candidates are entitled to make the case why they would be a better nominee, and they should do so forcefully.  But if they think — like Ed Rollins and Joe Scarborough — that insulting Palin is the way to go, then they have seriously misread the Republican electorate. 

Without the enthusiasm of Palin supporters the Republican Party is nothing moving into 2012. 

The campaign troops who will be in the field, on the telephones and at the fundraisers in 2012 will be the same troops who fought the 2010 campaign war.  And those troops weren’t carrying Mitt Romney, or Mike Huckabee, or Newt Gingrich signs.

That doesn’t mean Palin gets the nomination just because she wants it, or that she is presumptive, or that her supporters constitute a majority of the Party.

It does mean that the Republican nominee cannot win against Barack Obama without the enthusiasm and support of Palin supporters.

So Mike, I wish you well.  But if you start running, don’t let Ed Rollins catch you.

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