Monday, March 01, 2010

Former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo Says Sarah Palin "Not Presidential"; Dittman Poll Supports His Contention

On February 28th, 2010, NRC Handelsblad, a leading Dutch media outlet, published an interview with former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo (R) in which he offers a blunt assessment of Sarah Palin's Presidential prospects and lashes out bitterly at Senator John McCain.

During the interview, Tancredo talked about the Tea Party movement, McCain, and Palin. It was during the first part that Tancredo bluntly states that Sarah Palin is not presidential. "I really don’t have this feeling about her as being presidential," Tancredo said. "I don’t know what it is exactly. I don’t know if the issues really are that difficult for her or not.” He questions if she has what it takes, and whether she really wants it. “As governor of the state of Alaska, she doesn’t have all that kind of experience. She can get better. But I don’t know if she is really looking to do it.

Tancredo also said that Palin's decision to campaign for John McCain soured him on her. He was much fonder of her before she chose to get involved in McCain's campaign. He claims there was no need for her to get involved. But there doesn't appear to be any malice in his tone towards Palin; the disagreement is primarily political.

Not so in the case of John McCain; Tancredo's resentment towards him is palpable and personal. Tancredo said, "“I don’t like him...He is not a very pleasant person. He is nasty, mean; the skin of an onion would look deep compared to his. He has a short fuse, he is almost peculiarly unstable.” The following encounter between the two was cited as an example of McCain's volatility and instability:

One day, he went over to the Senate and bumped into McCain in the elevator. “I had never met him. So I shake his hand to thank him for doing the fundraiser.” The senator then asked if he could count on Tancredo’s support for McCain-Feingold (a bipartisan campaign reform act McCain had drafted with Democratic senator Russell Feingold). Tancredo opposed this proposed regulation of political campaign financing, and he told McCain. “So I go: ‘I am voting no, I don’t like it. I actually think it’s terrible’.”

“It was like a bomb went off in his head. He exploded! He was screaming at me! It was, ‘When I come across the fucking street, you are…’ And, ‘You don’t know what the fuck you are talking about!’ And I said, ‘What?!’ I was just so taken aback. But then I went after him: ‘Hey, nobody told me you are coming to help me for a quid pro quo for a shit bill!’ It just got worse. It was really bad, I remember us getting out of the elevator and people stepped back way up because they couldn’t handle the screaming.”

A recent Dittman Research Poll of Alaskans seems to support Tancredo's assessment of Palin. Dave Dittman, one of Alaska's two premier pollsters, asked 402 Alaskans the following question:

Does Sarah Palin have a political future?
-- Yes: 53 percent
-- No: 43 percent

Of those who answered Yes, two-thirds opined that she should NOT run for President, but merely advocate issues and help other candidates. Only one-third think she should run for President. The second set of results can be a bit confusing to interpret. The 36 percent of those who do not want Palin to run for President are 36 percent of the 53 percent (which would be around two-thirds), not of 100 percent.

So if we reinterpret the poll, we can project the following:

-- 43 percent (the "No" voters) do not Palin to run for President or be involved in politics
-- 36 percent (two-thirds of the "Yes" voters) do not want Palin to run for President, but want her to remain involved in politics
-- 18 percent (one-third of the "Yes" voters) want Palin to run for President

Another poll of 400 Alaskans by Hays Research, conducted January 25-26, drives the message home by exposing the high polarization factor. While it shows good support among pro-Palin partisans, it also shows very high negatives:

Question: Would you say you feel positive or negative about Sarah Palin? And is that very (positive or negative) or somewhat (positive or negative)?

-- Very positive: 33 percent
-- Somewhat positive: 20 percent
-- Somewhat negative: 13 percent
-- Very negative: 31 percent
-- Don't Know/Refused: 3 percent

Note that the two extremes dominate. People either view Sarah Palin as a Joan of Arc or the Wicked Witch of Wasilla. Neither perception is accurate.

Sarah Palin's passion for politics is obvious. She projects a powerful sense of personal conviction every time she speaks. A marvelous motivator, she is a great campaigner and would make a decent Vice-President, particularly on a Romney ticket. But doggone it, she just ain't Presidential at this time; she lacks the professional demeanor one would expect from the leader of the Free World. If she wants to be taken more seriously and defuse the high negatives, she has to knock off the "hopey-changey" routine. She needs to complete the transition from soccer mom to stateswoman.

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