Palin In 2012: Backed by Big Oil?

One of the top (online) pundits in the country, The Atlantic‘s Marc Ambinder, thinks a McCain loss would make Sarah Palin the top contender for a Big-Oil-fueled presidential run in 2012. ThinkProgress’s uber-pundit Matthew Yglesias agrees.

palin-mask.jpgSince the notion should be pretty scary to those concerned about clean energy and climate, and since Halloween is coming fast upon us, I thought I’d share with you Ambinder’s frightful thinking:

There’s a suspicion in some McCain loyalist precincts that Gov. Sarah Palin is beginning to play the Republican base against John McCain — McCain won’t let her campaign in Michigan…McCain won’t let her bring up Jeremiah Wright… McCain doesn’t like her terrorist pal talks….Think ahead to 2010…2011…2012.

Palin is ambitious. Very ambitious.

And if she wants the job, she’s easily the frontrunner to become THE voice of the angry Right in the Wilderness.

She is a favorite of talk radio and Fox News conservatives, and speaks their language as only a true member of the club can. (Her recent Limbaugh interview was full of dog whistles that any Dittohead would recognize. Including her actual use of the word ditto.)

Palin will have plenty of time to become fluent on national issues. She will easily benefit from the low expectations threshhold, and will probably even garner positive reviews from the MSM types who disparage her today….

Palin is an enormously talented politician. When she knows what she’s talking about, or even when she knows enough to fake it, she is very, very appealing, and very good at redirecting questions to whatever her message is….

With Republicans completely out of power, and President Obama running what is likely to be a bigger government that spends more on social programs, Republicans are likely to run the most anti-government, anti-Washington campaign this side of Barry Goldwater. Again, Palin is perfectly positioned for this campaign.

Republicans tend to pick the next guy in line. Strangely enough, the next guy in line is now Sarah Palin, by virtue of her being the VP nominee this year. She will have the benefit of being both an outsider candidate and the natural heir to the nomination; indeed, the only candidate who will have experience in a general election campaign.

Her main obstacles to the nomination are Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee.

The Republicans are going to want someone willing to really go for Obama’s throat, and be able to do it with a smile. Depending on the outcome of the GOP’s War of the Roses, the evangelical community might be a stronger force in 2012 than it was in 2008, at least when it comes to dominating the GOP nominating process. They are a solid bloc of voters and footsoldiers amidst a rapidly splintering coalition.

Palin will be the most well-financed candidate aside from Mitt Romney. She will raise gobs of money from old energy interests (who will be running scared against Obama’s green energy initiatives), and will in turn raise gobs of money from small donors online.

Of course, we must consider black swans and the like. We don’t know what will occur during Obama’s first term, and he could have either a historic high point (like Bush did with 9/11) or a historic low point (like Bush did with Katrina). Or, he could have an unremarkable first term.

We just don’t know. That being said, GOP voters simply don’t nominate new candidates who came from nowhere. Therefore, no matter what events transpire, we can safely predict that the GOP will nominate someone who is already known to us today.

Not everyone agrees. The New Republic scoffs at the notion. The UK’s Guardian, says “We’ve seen the last of Sarah Palin If she fails to win the vice-presidency, Palin won’t be back in 2012. Too many forces are aligned against her.”

I’m not so sure. Yes, 10 days is a lifetime in politics — who would have guessed she would sign on for a $150,00 wardrobe and a $10,000 a week makeup artist — let alone three years. She most certainly has the hunger and that is often the biggest factor.


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17 Responses to Palin In 2012: Backed by Big Oil?

  1. rpauli says:

    The US will have 4 years of climate chaos – and increased rate of change. That might include a few Katrina level hurricanes, severe tornados, droughts and floods, and even a killer heat wave or two. Since she is a party line denialist, all this might constrain her candidacy..

    However, and pure energy based problems, like brown outs, gas prices could be the issue that she might float on.

    So she will be a pundit on Fox TV for a few years, setup a lobbying think tank and take aim.

  2. Rick C says:

    Is this Climate Progress’s “Goosebumps” story for Halloween 2008?

  3. David B. Benson says:

    This was supposed to be posted in Humor.

    Wasn’t it? :-(

  4. Dano says:

    One can only hope Palin is the best the GOP can do in ’12. No way she takes the election – way, way too many skeletons.

    Sadly, the GOP has chased all the smart people and adults away from the party. There must be checks and balances and representation for the people at all times. We need all hands on deck to address the coming issues. The GOP today represents only a small minority, and that minority is not interested in contributing to society as a whole [IMHO]; I’d be happy to be wrong.



  5. gaiasdaughter says:

    Assuming Obama gets elected, he will have an incredible task ahead of him — an economic crisis that may dove-tail into peak oil for something much blacker than anything we’ve yet seen — a transition to alternative fuels that will not be painless — the possibility of terrorist activity — an angry earth — a diminished tax base. I do believe Obama will deal heroically with the challenges arrayed against him, but American voters have a way of holding the President accountable for all their personal ills. Obama may well be a one-term President through no fault of his own.

    Isn’t 2012 the year time is supposed to come to an end?

  6. John Mashey says:

    I would suggest following Mudflats, an AK blog I’ve watched since SP got nominated. In usual blog fashion, it isn’t always right, but it is quite often weeks ahead of the mainstream media with good information, although I thnk more MSM folks are now watching it.

    I’d suggest that:
    a) More people in AK are less happy with her than they used to be; this can even be seen in the size and intensity of pro-SP and anti-SP meetings there lately.
    b) A lot of people in AK are not at all happy with McCain/Palin lawyers from “outside”.
    c) Troopergate isn’t anywhere near close to done yet.
    d) The “Brownie”-like patterns of patronage appointments are coming to light.
    e) People have been digging out a lot of financial gimmicks already.
    f) It’s going to be very hard for the “outside reformer” schtick to stick.

    Of course, if you’re a “political operative”, SP is your perfect candidate, likelier far easier to control than McCain. With SP as President, can you imagine the piranhas-in-the-tank feeding frenzy for “advisor” positions (after Todd Palin, of course)?

  7. Jim Bullis says:

    Although there are serious climate related issues related to the possibility of Palin as President, I have tried to make the case on a broader basis.

    I also try to use a tone that is consistent with Obama’s objective to change the way we work with each other.

    Rather than try to find personal flaws it would be better to observe the undisputed actions of the candidates.

    A responsible report of the big oil tax situation in Alaska can be seen at:

    This report was written Aug. 10, before anyone knew that Palin was going to be the VP nominee.

    From this we can see that Governor Palin imposed a windfall property tax and used it to hand out about $1200 in free money to all persons in Alaska. Her Republican predecessors had already set up a “oil wealth fund” system where individuals were given $2000 a year, and they had arranged that most state expenses were paid by taxes on the oil companies. Before Palin the Republicans had already put in place the most generous welfare system in the USA, and maybe in the world. She saw the opportunity to make it even better.

    In the following link it is clear that Sarah Palin is very proud of the above accomplishment:

    So it seems there is no dispute of the basic facts.

    I suggest that there is a very close parallel between Sarah Palin and Hugo Chavez. Neither sees any problem with changing the deal for oil companies producing from “their” land. In fact, Palin is very proud of “taking on big oil.”

    Clearly Palin is skilled in doing popular things. Chavez is also very popular.

    The difference is that Palin is advertised as a conservative and Chavez is called a socialist.

    Palin, McCain, and the Republican party, all seem not to notice these similarities. They shout “Socialist” at Obama. Yes, he also has discussed a windfall profits tax, but this was not remotely like the parasitic Alaskan form of Socialism.

    So now I submit that the above demonstrated leadership qualifications of Palin are limited to opportunistic skill. An opportunistic pattern of government might also be seen in looking at the $15 million “sports complex” which Palin is also proud of as evidence of her effective tenure as Mayor. In implementing this project she seems to have demonstrated about the same level of skill as typical small town mayors. The judgment that this would be the best use of money in a town of 7000, seems to be more of a serious question. Clearly it is a popular path for local leaders everywhere. It gets votes.

    So McCain can be credited with a politically wise choice in selecting such a person. This seems like an opportunistic in itself, which can be challenged as bad judgment. It is particularly ironic that it turns the principles of conservative government inside out. At least there is nothing fundamentally unconstitutional about it.

    But it is also widely known that Palin was the choice to “energize the Republican base,” and that this base means people of the fundamentalist religion sort. Pandering to a particular large group of people is not a surprise, but when there is a religious dimension to it, there is some reason for concern. There is a particular worry when that religious group takes absolutist views of the Bible. It is hard to believe any of them have actually read it, for it has so many internal contradictions, and directives that are clearly not appropriate in the present day world.

    Obviously it is appropriate for a President to have religious beliefs. The question is boundaries, generally known as the “separation of church and state.” So it is appropriate to observe how this is handled by the various candidates. The basic lack of neutrality in religion is immediately apparent when a candidate is selected for her religious relationship to a large group. It seemed somewhat reassuring when Palin said she respects other opinions on the abortion subject, but there was something lacking in the way this was said. Clearly, abortion is an issue that is viewed differently by people depending on their religion. Government needs to be very careful about treading in any such area. The style of Palin’s campaigning raises alarms, at least for this observer. I was happy to see McCain toning things down a little, but this was not enough to make me comfortable about Palin.

    As to all the little things that are not very important in themselves, such as husband’s presence in governor’s affairs, saying that children are traveling on “official business,” negotiating experience with the Russians, military command experience claims, and foreign travel claims, reading “all the papers,” and so on, all these things taken together seem to show incapacity in understanding the very words, facts, and concepts under discussion. All the while she quickly learns a set of jargon to spew forth. How can she be expected to even understand boundaries, let alone handle the difficult balances that must be achieved by the President.

    John McCain should not have done this. It disqualifies him.

  8. She is the Cheney figure on the ticket, so, yes, of course Big Oil will run her again.

    She is perfect for them.

  9. Paul K says:

    Very few losing vice-presidential candidates ever get their party’s presidential nominations. Sarah Palin has a good chance to be the exception. She does so strongly appeal to a large constituency. It is not just the religious right. Legions of small business and self employed and economic and constitutional conservatives form her base.

    Gov. Palin is perhaps the most vilified candidate in American history, certainly in my lifetime. The disinformation is stunning and omnipresent. If she had said in the debate that FDR went went on television in 1929 or recommended eating in her neighborhood restaurant that had been closed for almost 20 years, you would rightly think she wasn’t very bright or not altogether there.

    I hope everybody votes and accepts the collected wisdom of us all and I wouldn’t try to change your vote. I’d much rather you join my replacing fossil fuel association.

  10. john says:

    There has been a very quiet seismic shift in politics in this country to the left. Thanks to the obvious and manifest failure of conservatism and Republicanism, Democrats are now a majority party, Independents are more to the left than they used to be, and Republicans are now less then or equal to about a third of the voting age population.

    Pallin appeals to the base, and the base only. One would have to be blinded by ideology to miss her stupidity.

    So, I say, let her run. If the Republicans don’t move left with the rest of the country, they’ll be consigned to history’s ash-heap. If they do, they won’t nominate Pallin.

  11. So, Paul, you don’t think Big Oil is running Palin?

    She practically gushes oil herself in her enthusiastic shilling for an imaginary vast untapped sea of oil beneath America.

    Her constant use of the word energy to mean oil is telling. Its as if she simply cannot conceive of energy coming from any other sources.

    She is their perfect candidate. Cheney had been in previous administrations, so had Rummy. So my prediction, they will run her again.

  12. John McCormick says:


    You are overlooking the new R Party icon: Joe the Plumber.

    He will have his plumbing company up and running by 2010 and looking for his tax break.

    John McCormick

  13. John McCormick says:


    Your are overlooking the R Party’s new icon: Joe the Plumber!

    He will have his new company up and running by 2010 and looking for his tax cut.

    John McCormick

  14. Peter Wood says:

    It may not just be big oil that backs Palin, there is also big aluminium, big beef, big cement and big coal. None of these sectors will like Obama’s proposal for 100% auctioning for permits in an emissions trading scheme. The rents at stake are huge. Expect every consultant in town to be hired by these industries to argue that climate change policies will kill jobs, relocate industries overseas, and any other piece of protectionist nonsense that they can think up.

    At present Australia is planning on introducing an emissions trading scheme that will have more auctioning that the European emissions trading scheme. Emissions intensive industries are coming up with a huge amount of nonsense to try to justify why they should have more free permits. Fortunately these industries don’t have much support from the public anymore.

  15. Paul K says:

    John McCormick has it correct. It is not the big interests that form Palin’s base. It is the little people. They are Joe. It occurs to me that if Joe used his first name Sam, the Republican chant would sound like Doctor Seuss.

    I’m hosting my first solar energy forum in Chicago. Attendance is encouraged, suggestions welcome.

  16. Ronald says:

    Paul K,
    ‘first solar energy forum’ in Chicago, which is what. I think you should give a little more detail because that could mean really anything. Also Palen didn’t make Gaffes, she really did think that she had foreign policy experience because she was Gov. of Alaska and Alaska was so close to Russia, and couldn’t understand many days later in other interviews why people were mocking her for that idea.
    All questions to Palen should start with ‘McCain has died or is otherwise incapacitated, how would you solve this problem . . . She has had some nonsensical answers to many, many questions. She is airhead.

    Way to early to write about 1012, we haven’t even gotten past the midterms yet. (that’s meant as a joke) Isn’t this a bit premature. Won’t this look stupid if McCain won because Dems didn’t show up.

    The largest newspaper in Alaska picked Obama for President.

    They did mention ANWR and that wrote that McCain and Obama are wrong in not opening it up. (I think we should open it up, the only thing we can do to stop global warming is to elimanate the need for oil and use low and non carbon fuel, just closing some places to drilling does no real long term good)

    As for the general economy and Obama, this might have been the election to win. He probably won’t be blamed by many for the bad economy and would get credit when it turns around. (some republicans will always be blaming any dem for a bad economy) If our troops come out of Iraq on the Pres. Bush timetable, concentrate on Afghanistan, spend a hundred billion a year or more less on war, that might help with the country mood.
    Better Obama than McCain for us and the world to forget about Iraq. If Obama becomes a President that we and the rest of the world can respect because he handles the global econ. crisis well, talks in complete sentences and raises the status of the US because he would become our first Muslim . . .because he can raise the status of the US because the guy before him lowered it so much to many in the world, he may just become maybe not the Messiah, but a Messiah of our time.

  17. Paul K says:

    The purpose of the forum is to promote a people’s program to provide fossil free energy to schools, libraries, museum and community centers. There are so many people who see the necessity of rapidly moving away from fossil fuels, but who don’t know how they can effectively be involved in the process. The Replacing Fossil Fuel Association makes that involvement possible.