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After the primaries, will 'mama grizzly' Palin lose her bite?

June 10, 2010 |  1:39 pm

Untitled-1 The folks at Fox Business wanted some insight into California politics and why GOP voters put Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina on their November ticket for governor and senator, respectively. So naturally, they turned to ... Sarah Palin.

The San Francisco Chronicle's Carla Marinucci reports in a blog post:

It's official: former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin clearly wants to make some waves and get some attention in California, the nation's biggest political stage in the 2010 contests. Now she's talking up Carly Fiorina again and throwing down the gauntlet to ... Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown.

"I guess I don't have enough grace to apply to Jerry Brown when he says he isn't going to be one for taxing Americans,'' she told host David Asman on the "America's Nightly Scoreboard" show. "Look what he did when he was Governor. Look at what the foundation has been built upon there in California and he had been a part of that and that was spending outside of their means.''

She adds: "I guess I don't have enough grace to say "Hey Jerry, I believe ya."

Palin should have answered "I don't know" when prodded by the Fox anchor to comment on former two-term Gov. Jerry Brown's record (but then again, Palin wouldn't have much of a punditry career were she to speak so honestly about what she knows). She's dead wrong about Brown's alleged spendthrift ways; in fact, he lurched so far in the opposite direction of his father, who during his eight years in Sacramento spent prodigiously on things like expanding the state's university systems.

Historical misunderstandings aside, I doubt Brown wouldn't relish a fight with a governor who quit during her first term.

Which brings up a broader point: Is Palin good for anything after a GOP primary? She may have some political capital left to spend in a state like South Carolina, where her anointed gubernatorial candidate  survived the Republican primary (but is headed for a runoff) despite allegations of marital infidelity. In California, however, Mitt Romney provided Whitman's big-name endorsement, so whether the former EBay chief will enlist Palin later in the race against Brown is a question that, barring the need for a last-minute boost in October, appears to have been answered.

Fiorina, on the other hand, fended off the more moderate Tom Campbell and "tea party" co-opter Chuck DeVore thanks in part to Palin's enthusiastic embrace relatively late in the campaign. But how much good can Palin do for Fiorina against Boxer in the general election contest, when both candidates must emerge from their ideological trenches and fight for the support of less partisan California voters? Judging by her Fox interview -- in which she took a swipe at Brown for a contest she had no involvement in -- one would think Palin has no intention of calling it a day.

For her own sake, Fiorina (and Whitman, for that matter) would be wise to read this Field Poll released days before the 2008 presidential election. Here's an excerpt:

Californians also hold differing views of the two vice presidential nominees. Biden is viewed much more positively than negatively by a 57% to 24% margin. On the other hand, more statewide voters have an unfavorable (53%) than favorable (37%) view of Palin.

Palin’s image in this state is extremely partisan. Republicans view her positively by a 74% to 19% margin. However, Democrats and non-partisans have a very negative image of the Alaska Governor, with Democrats rating her unfavorably 75% to 15% and non partisans giving a 65% to 20% negative assessment.

-- Paul Thornton

Left photo credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Right photo credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

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