For reasons that defy logic, political reality and common sense, Republicans still back former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and the soap opera that surrounds her.
Even with widespread criticism and antics that doom most political careers, Palin remains a contender in GOP circles for the Republican nomination for President in 2012.
Yet Politico, in interviews with Republicans around the country, found widespread support within the party of the elephant.
Most reasoned political observers consider Palin a flake but flake or not she still plays well with the Republican base.
Which raises a troublesome question:
Despite a torrent of criticism from the media, Democrats and even some in her own party, Sarah Palin remains the hottest brand name in politics.
Her recent resignation was perplexing. It’s raised doubts about her viability as a potential presidential candidate. Still, she remains extremely popular with the GOP grass roots, and most Republican Party leaders would jump at the chance to have her headline one of their events.
That’s the picture that emerges from interviews with dozens of GOP state and local leaders from across the country.
As part of an effort to gauge Palin’s popularity with the rank and file beyond the Beltway, where the GOP establishment is lukewarm toward the charismatic former governor, POLITICO surveyed nearly 50 prominent Republican Party officials and politicians, representing every region of the country and ranging from statewide-elected officeholders to state legislators to state and county party chairs.
Some refused to talk about her at all. Others, mostly her critics, would do so only off the record. But taken as a whole, the body of interviews revealed that despite Palin’s high negative ratings in recent national polls, Republicans at the grass-roots level and their leaders still hold a very favorable impression of the former Alaska governor.
Westerners have a particular affinity for Palin, with many noting that she embodied the values of freedom and self-reliance.