Katherine - posted on 11/05/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )
Sarah Palin is wasting no time talking up her successes on Election Day--even though only half of the candidates she endorsed managed to win--and many of them were running in contests that already strongly favored the GOP.
The former Alaska governor and possible 2012 GOP presidential hopeful posted a political video on her Facebook page late Wednesday featuring footage of eight Republicans she endorsed who won their races on Tuesday.
The Web ad, called "Together," knits footage of Palin rally attendees with candidates including Nikki Haley, who won South Carolina's gubernatorial contest; and Kentucky's Rand Paul, Florida's Marco Rubio and New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte, all of whom won their Senate races.
[Video: The preview for Sarah Palin's new reality show]
"This is our movement," Palin says in the voice-over. (She is not shown in the 70-second video.) "This is our morning in America. We're going to stand up and speak out, and it may take some renegades going rogue to get us there. It may take folks shaking it up. We've got to do this together."
Her mention of "renegades" is perhaps a nod to the Palin-backed candidates whom the ad notably omits: Sharron Angle, who lost her bid to unseat Harry Reid in Nevada; failed U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell in Delaware; and Joe Miller, Palin's political protege in Alaska, who is trailing in his still-undecided Senate contest.
The spot ends with a huge bear rearing up on its hind legs and roaring. During the campaign, Palin dubbed the women she was supporting "Mama Grizzlies."
You can watch the Palin ad here:
SarahPAC ad "Together" @ Yahoo! Video
Two things stand out about Palin's latest Web video.
While Palin officially endorsed 64 GOP candidates this cycle, she publicly campaigned with only 13 of them, according to a tally by The Hotline's Jeremy Jacobs. Of the candidates mentioned in the ad, Palin campaigned for four—including Haley, with whom she stumped during the primary, and Rubio, who left the rally early, before Alaska's controversial ex-governor appeared onstage.
And, contrary to what the ad suggests, Palin's record in 2010 is pretty mixed. Of the 64 candidates she endorsed nationally, about half have won. (In addition to the Alaska Senate race, several races featuring Palin-backed candidates are still undecided, including House contests in Virginia, New York and Washington as well as Minnesota's governor's race.)
[Related: Palin: "You blew it, President Obama"]
In many of those contests, it's unclear what impact Palin's endorsement had. Her list of 2010 picks includes plenty of Republicans who were heavily favored to win in 2010, including Mary Fallin, who won Oklahoma's gubernatorial race, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. In some cases, she endorsed candidates long after they were expected to win, such as John Boozman, who handily defeated Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln. He picked up Palin's support in mid-October.
In many House races, Palin gave nods to candidates who had already been recruited by the national GOP, including former MTV star Sean Duffy, who won Democrat Dave Obey's old seat in Wisconsin. It's worth noting that Palin did not actually campaign for Duffy (though he too appears in her SarahPAC video). That's probably because Palin would not have helped his race in what is generally considered a Democratic-leaning swing district.
Indeed, Palin's biggest impact looks to have been in the GOP primaries, rather than in the general election. Palin's appearance for Haley helped put her over the top in what was one of the year's most closely divided and nastiest primaries. She came to her old friend John McCain's aid in Arizona at a moment when tea partiers were beginning to line up behind J.D. Hayworth, his GOP rival. And her endorsements of O'Donnell and Miller helped them to triumph over establishment candidates--much to the chagrin of the national party.
[Photos: More images of Sarah Palin]
In explaining O'Donnell's loss in Delaware on Tuesday night, Palin seemed to offer a defense against critics who say her interference cost the Senate GOP a crucial seat pickup. She told Fox News that exit polls showed that the GOP establishment's favored candidate, Rep. Mike Castle, whom O'Donnell defeated, would have lost to Democrat Chris Coons in the race anyway. O'Donnell's loss, Palin insisted,"was not really a surprise in deep-blue Delaware."
But there's another way to interpret the performance of Palin-backed candidates: Palin still doesn't play well in states where candidates not only need Republicans but also a cross-section of moderate Democrats and independents to win. To confirm this view, look no further than Rubio's choice to avoid Palin in the final weeks of the campaign--even though polls showed him leading.
In California, Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, who lost to Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer on Tuesday, not only didn't campaign with Palin, she barely mentioned the governor's endorsement at all--though state Democrats did, frequently.
If Palin is serious about a 2012 bid--and that Web video is the latest sign that she is--the former governor will have to find a way to appeal to a voting bloc beyond conservatives and GOP primary voters. Her 2010 wins, while undeniable achievements, don't suggest she's there yet.