By MARC McDONALD
It's easy to laugh at Sarah Palin. Then again, it was easy to laugh at Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush: two lightweights who wound up occupying the White House for a total of 16 years. I believe progressives underestimate Palin at their peril.
As Keith Olbermann has pointed out a number of times, Palin is an idiot. The video above proves it.
However, progressives shouldn't casually dismiss Palin---or her prospects to be elected president in 2012.
Personally, I believe Palin will indeed run in 2012. And if we Democrats don't take Palin seriously as a candidate, we deserve to lose the election.
After all, Palin has a rabidly loyal following that is enjoying growing momentum. She is a genuine political phenomenon. And most importantly, she has a formidable fund-raising machine in place.
If you doubt the loyalty of Palin's base, consider this: Palin's 2009 book, Going Rogue: An American Life sold nearly 3 million copies. It is one of the best-selling political memoirs in U.S. history.
It's clear that Palin is a political and intellectual mediocrity. However, it doesn't necessarily follow that Palin has no chance at winning the presidency.
After all, the American people elected Bush/Cheney twice. (Well, not really, but enough people voted for Bush/Cheney to where the GOP could steal the vote).
If you doubt Palin could win in 2012, consider this: in 2008, nearly 60 million Americans cast their vote for Palin to be a heartbeat away from the White House.
If the U.S. economy is still in the toilet in 2012 (and I believe it likely will be), then the nation will be in an angry mood, come election time. The horrendous poison-pill economy that Obama inherited from Bush could well simply be unfixable, no matter what action Obama takes between now and then.
If 2012 still sees America mired in an economic rut, then the Tea Party and Palin will be well-positioned to take advantage of the crisis.
Anyone who doubts Palin's prospects for success in 2012 is simply blind to the reality of American political history (and the dumbing-down of U.S. culture) since 1980.