Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Trey Grayson, Meet The Hoffman Effect

If you're a Republican primary candidate and somebody asks you if Sarah Palin is qualified to be President, you really are put in a rough spot.  On one hand, saying that you believe Palin is qualified to be President right now is not a real good answer heading into a general election, given Moose Lady's falling popularity.

On the other hand, admitting she's not qualified to be President is bound to annoy those Republican primary voters.  Dave Weigel:

Does Grayson think Palin is qualified to be president? "Not today." Did he think she was in 2008? "She wasn't running for president. I think she had the position to be vice president, but she wasn't running for president. I thought Sen. McCain was the best candidate to be president in the last election."

Is this a fair thing to ask Grayson? Well, Palin has endorsed his opponent, Rand Paul. Grayson initially reacted to the endorsement by raising questions about whether Palin had actually issued it, then lumped Palin in with the "outsiders" supporting Paul. So Palin's been a presence in the race. Is it something that would hurt him? Certainly, "she's as qualified as Obama was" is a better answer for conservatives (if harder to spin with reporters), but there is a sense in the movement that Palin is better suited to a campaign role than to the presidency. Still, lots of Kentucky Republicans think she'd be just fine in the White House.
Here's my question, how long does it take for Grayson here to be attacked as a misogynist for thinking this? I believe that's that standard charge for anyone who doesn't believe Palin is 100% qualified for the Oval Office, yes?  And yes, let's keep in mind Sarah Palin made herself an issue in this race by endorsing Rand Paul.

The larger issue of course is the Hoffman Effect:  Grayson has to run increasingly to the right in order to beat Rand Paul, but the further to the right he runs, the more damage he takes in the general election.  And "to the right" in this case means trying to out-crazy Rand Paul here in Kentucky, no mean feat.  Paul continues to have a substantial lead, and it's clear Grayson is trying to present himself as the moderate alternative to Paul here in order to win the general.

It's just not helping him in the primary.  I'm not convinced however that given Palin the griftebrity's falling popularity that this was an entirely bad move.  After all, it can't get much worse for Grayson at this point.

[UPDATE 6:05 PM]  And Jim Bunning has just endorsed Rand Paul.  Somebody get a towel.  This is gonna get messy.


Anonymous said...

Grayson won't have any problem about being too far right in the general election, because he isn't going to make it that far.

Zandar said...

Considering Paul's up by 15 or so, I can't really disagree with you.

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