Should the Washington Post Have Rejected Sarah Palin’s Op-Ed?


Future former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin wrote an op-ed piece for the Washington Post today, in which she roundly dismissed the idea of cap-and-trade.  The piece is generating quite a lot of discussion, including rebuttals from John Kerry and Sarah Palin From Several Months Ago.

Leaving aside the merits of present-day Sarah Palin’s argument, two of the responses to her piece got my attention.  First, HuffPo’s Art Brodsky posited the publication of Palin’s essay as further evidence of the decline of the Washington Post:

How does the Post regain its equilibrium? How does it recover not only from this disaster but also from the dismissal of popular blogger Dan Froomkin, whose sacking led to great protests from the readers the Post execs didn’t think existed?

Why, by putting the soon-to-be ex-gov on the op-ed page, one of the prime places of real estate left in the newspaper world? Not to put too fine a point on it — is there any sane person left over in the Post management?

I found the question intriguing, but not for the reasons brodsky gives.  Agree with her or not, cop to her expertise or not, Palin’s interconnectedness with energy policy is indisputable, making her voice newsworthy.

What I found interesting was this take, from my old stomping grounds, Politics Daily:

Palin Op-Ed Blasts Obama: A Prelude to 2012?

In case anyone doubts the presidential ambition of her save-the-economy essay, the last words should clear things up: “Yes we can. Just not with Barack Obama’s energy cap-and-tax plan.” Sarah Palin is serving notice that it’s a long while till 2012, with plenty of time to repair an image or, for that matter, create an entirely different one.

This reminded me of 2 incidents during the 2008 Presidential campaign, in whichthe New York Times rejected op-ed pieces from candidates.  The first rejected op-ed was from the Clinton campaign, a decision with which I disagreed.  The 2nd was from the McCain campaign, using the same rationale under stronger circumstances.

In both cases, the Times objected because they judged that each piece essentially consisted of little more than a campaign press release.

By this standard, if you buy Politics Daily’s premise, the Washington Post could be seen as simply renting its op-ed page to the Palin ’12 campaign for free.  It’s an interesting, but thin, premise.

Rather than attacking Palin’s standing or expertise, Brodsky might have been better served making his point on the merits of the piece.  While she attacks the idea of cap and trade that she campaigned on months ago, she presents absolutely no alternative to that policy’s central purpose, fighting global climate change.  As John Kerry points out, she fails to address it at all.

Does this fit in with the Washington Post’s editorial guidelines for op-ed pieces?  Let’s see:

Among the things we look for are timeliness (is it pegged to something in the news?), resonance (is it something that will interest Post readers?) and freshness of perspective (is it an argument we haven’t heard many times before?). You don’t need to have special expertise in a topic. But explaining how your background or experience informs your point of view can make for a more effective op-ed. You also don’t need to have an important title — and having an important title doesn’t mean we’ll publish your op-ed. In fact, because we realize that senators, business leaders, heads of state and the like have access to various platforms where they can express their views, we hold them to a particularly high standard when considering whether to publish them in The Post.

While Brodsky’s premise is wildly overstated, it’s tough to argue that Palin’s piece meets this bar, and tougher to argue that her clickability didn’t play a major part in the Post’s decision to carry it.

On the other hand, in the HuffPo and Politics Daily articles, both authors make the observation/assumption that Palin likely used a ghostwriter in composing the WaPo piece. This may be ignorance on my part, but I don’t think that’s a fair assumption. While it is quite common for politicians to use ghostwriters for memoirs and speeches, I’ve read nothing to indicate this is true of op-ed pieces. Even if it is a fair assumption, it isn’t one I see made about other politicians’ op-ed pieces. Either it’s commonplace, and not worth mentioning, or it isn’t, and thus worth checking.

I asked Governor Palin, via Twitter, if she could confirm that she had written the piece. She hasn’t responded, as she probably gets a million tweets an hour, but it was worth a shot. In any case, it was an insulting assumption, made without basis. It’s the kind of thing that feeds into Palin’s persecution complex, whereas criticism on the merits would be more than sufficient.

Newt Gingrich Nailin’ Sarah Palin’s Political Coffin Shut

Newt Gingrich is making a genius out of me.  I’ve been saying for a long time that the GOP is looking to jettison S505px-sarah_palin_kuwait_22a3arah Palin as a candidate for 2012.  While I have accumulated a mountain of evidence of this, Gingrich pretty much spells it out.  Asked, by Christianity Today, who are the GOP’s leaders, with Palin and Jindal as a starting point (Who do you see as the emerging leaders in the Republican Party: Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin?) , Gingrich goes through every Republican he can think of, even someone named Linda Lingle, but… Continue reading

Today’s Quickies and…Palintology

I covered this at AOL today, but I can’t stress enought how bad a miscalculation it is for the left to constantly jump all over  her.  The Republican establishment is doing that job, and shitting all over themselves in the process.  If the regular people in the party have to choose between them and Palin, well, the left wins.

I’m used to nobody listening to me, but I called this a long time ago, and now it’s obvious.  Now that McCain is toast, the GOP wants to send Palin back to Wasilla, but she ain’t goin’ nowhere, you betcha.


I knew the extra money for canned tuna would pay off!

Coho, tuna, trout IM’s explained at last!

More Levi-bashing, this time by Gramps Palin.

Begala goes all Jon Stewart on Ari Fleischer.

Twitter Fail:  I picked up, like, 5 followers.

Poll: Sarah Palin to Lose Big to Obama in 2012

Poll: Sarah Palin to Lose Big to Obama in 2012

A new poll from Public Policy Polling suggests that if the 2012 Presidential election was held today, Barack Obama would win in an unprecedented landslide:(h/t Huffpo and PoliticalWire)

Several post election polls have shown Sarah Palin as the Presidential nominee of choice for Republicans in 2012, but a new national survey from Public Policy Polling suggests that such a contest would result in the largest popular vote blowout since George McGovern ran against Richard Nixon in 1972. Obama leads Palin 55-35 in the hypothetical contest. He has an 89-7 advantage among Democrats. Among Republican he trails 66-17. Last year exit polls showed Obama winning only 9% of the Republican vote, so it appears Palin would lose a lot more voters within her party than McCain did.

I spoke to Public Policy Polling‘s president, Dean Debnam, and I asked if anyone had commissioned the poll. He said they had conducted the poll on their own because “it keeps us, frankly, in the news, keeps guys like you calling us, and that helps us with the rest of our business.” The poll was conducted March 13-15, on the heels of news stories about Palin supporters drafting her for President, and appointing a pro-choice judge. Maybe I’m hearing zebras where there are only horses, but it seems to me like there is an effort underway to undermine Palin in the eyes of Republicans. First, the story about the pro-life judge was resurrected by the Washington Times (also blasted out there by HuffPo) in the guise of defending Palin’s conservative bona fides, and now a poll screaming “unelectable.” The GOP has a problem on their hands with Palin, who could easily steamroll the primaries with a mere wink, but who stands little chance in a general election. Undermining her now is in their best interests. The Democrats, on the other hand, should be donating money to Sarah’s PAC ’til it hurts. Both groups, however, are notoriously clueless about Palin, so it’s anybody’s guess where this is really coming from. Sometimes, you can judge a person by their enemies. Watch carefully to see who runs with this.

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Who Will Lose To Sarah Palin In 2012?

Who Will Lose To Sarah Palin In 2012?

I was watching Politico’s Sunday Morning Show Wrap-up, and besides Bobby Jindal reminding America why they can’t trust the GOP, I was struck by the fact that 2 of the shows are already teeing up primary opponents for Sarah Palin.

It’s SOP by now for these guys to claim that they’re focused on re-election, but in this case, they really ought to be worrying about the bird in the hand. Either that, or start figuring out how they can make themselves fit onto a Palin ticket.

I’m always happy to help my GOP brethren, so I have a few suggestions to help the 2012 losers get onto Palin’s ticket, so they can lose to Obama/Clinton:

Tim Pawlenty – He’s kinda got a leg up, since “Palin/Pawlenty” has a nice pop to it. Still, I think each candidate needs to appeal to a voter demo that Palin’s not getting. By 2012, there will be lots of young voters who will miss the misery of the Bush years that they were raised on. To capture these millions of voters, Pawlenty needs to go emo.

Joe Lieberman – If Palin decides to go the bipartisan route, Joe will be a top contender. Aside from his hawkishness and hostility toward women, Joe doesn’t have a lot going for him. I suggest he take a page from Palin’s “pitbull” playbook, and style himself as the “Joe-berman Pinscher with Lipstick.”

Bobby Jindal – He’s burnishing his ideologue’s credentials by refusing some stimulus funding, but he really needs to set himself apart. Since the whole “excorsist” thing didn’t pan out so well, I suggest he flip the script, and take on the manner of the demon possessed. People like a monster, as long as he’s their monster.

Mitt Romney – Maybe kajillionaires will be back in style by 2012, but if not, Mitt should get himself a toolbelt, some saggy pants, and a plunger to capture the 1100 or so Joe the Plumber votes that are still kicking around out there.

Jeb Bush – I don’t think he has any choice but to change his name to Jeb Obama.