I simply cannot help feeling that were Sarah Palin to capture the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, it would virtually guarantee a rout of historic proportions. If the American electoral system were capable of registering intensity of preference, I would worry big time. But one passionate vote by a God-fearing Tea Party Birther counts for exactly as much as one desultory vote by a languid, over-confident Obama supporter. And there are vastly more of us than there are of them.
Let me tell a story. Back in the 80's, I was invited to speak at a panel of the Socialist Scholars' Conference on my new book, Understanding Marx. I found my way down from Western Mass to Manhattan Community College, on the Lower West Side of New York. When I entered the large reception hall, absolutely packed to overflowing with socialists, I exulted. Just for a moment, I thought "My God! Look at us all! We are going to take over the world!" Then it occurred to me, "This is all of us. And we fit into one large room." We did not take over the world.
Sarah Palin can pack a room. She can, with enough planning, fill a plaza. But in a country of more than three hundred million people, that won't even get you elected to the Senate from a reasonably populous state.
If the economy has not come back big time, a Mitt Romney could pose a real threat. But the Republicans, Lord love them, will not go for Romney. They just may rush over the cliff carrying Palin banners.
From my mouth to God's ear.