Andrew Malcolm over at the LATimes is wondering what to make of Sarah Palin.

Her poll numbers are low, both when the polls ask if she is qualified to be president and also when asked if people would vote for those she supports, yet in this primary season a lot of those she endorsed have won victories in the primaries.

So what is going on?

The answer is that the polls forget that publicity can mean votes, and that having Mother Palin endorse you  and your positions on her Facebook page means a headline for you, and a “headsup” to teaparty voters (both grassroots Republicans and Bluedog Democrats) that this person is fiscally conservative.

A lot of the political coverage in the US news seems to be horse races, with few details to help us judge a person on his or her integrity, or their long standing positions on issues.

When it comes to primaries, you get propaganda by the parties, but few good details. The result is the election of obedient hacks, who toe the party line in exchange for everyone overlooking their sweetheart deals and “campaign donations” that will result in their representing the rich and powerful (mainly business, but also unions) rather than those who vote for them.

Ergo having a person who won’t rubber stamp the decisions of the rich country club Republicans in Washington DC, and who can explain why a person might be good to vote for, makes a difference. We voters desperately need to know who is a hack, and who will be a good candidate.

And her endorsements have been personal and even quirky. From the Hill:

Palin’s endorsements this primary season have perplexed some observers. For the most part, she has endorsed conservative underdogs like Didier in Washington State and Bledsoe in Arkansas. But in other races she has gone with the establishment Republican — California’s Senate primary and Iowa’s gubernatorial primary are two examples.

The Hill article also notes that Romney’s endorsement record was better than Ms. Palin’s: (12 out of 13 won, versus 9 out of 12 for Palin).

Yet quick: Can you tell me of one person that Romney picked? (Can you even tell me who is Romney? I know, because I have relatives in Massachusetts, but I suspect a lot of people never heard of him).

Finally, the power of Ms. Palin, who is hated by the elites of both parties, is partly due to what some of us have called the “revolt of the yeomen”.  When the NYTimes blithely explains it is better to let inflation lower the deficit than cut spending, it sends a clear message to those of us who work hard, pay our bills, and try to save: We are suckers for doing so.

It is this disdain for ordinary folks that is causing the smouldering tea party rebellion, and it is one reason that criticism by the press and the elites in both parties is making a lot of us support Ms. Palin. (The Arab proverb goes: the enemy of my enemy is my friend.)

Both parties seem to be run by political hacks, we have a congress who passes expensive bills without reading them or explaining to us where our money is going, and most of them seem to be more interested in reelection than in the welfare of our country.

Hence the opinion of an outsider with common sense can influence the elections, at least in the primaries, and at least in the otherwise clueless Republican party.

No, Ms. Palin is not qualified to be president, but her executive ability and judgment seems to be good, and her real talent might be to  influence US elections as “kingmaker” rather than as candidate.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She is a Democrat and blogs at Makaipa blog.

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