Today on The Washington Post's front page appears the article "Back Home in Alaska, Palin Finds Cold Comfort: Scrutiny Has Been Intense Since Election." Staff writer Michael Leahy reports that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has had a rocky return following her run on last year's Republican national ticket. Writes Leahy:
A number of factors seem to have contributed to the bumpy homecoming: a residual anger among Democrats for the attack-dog role Palin assumed in the McCain campaign, lingering resentment from Republicans for the part she may have played in McCain's defeat, and a suspicion crossing party lines that the concerns of Alaska, at a time of economic crisis, will now be secondary to her future in national politics.
The claim that Sarah Palin hurt McCain's candidacy has been refuted by various sources including, coincidentally enough, The Washington Post. Chris Cillizza covers the White House for the newspaper. Shortly after the election he cited five election myths. One of them was that McCain made a mistake by selecting Palin as his running mate:
Remember where McCain found himself this past summer. He had won the Republican nomination, but the GOP base clearly felt little buy-in into his campaign. A slew of national polls reflected that energy gap, with Democrats revved up about the election and their candidate and Republicans somewhere between tepid and glum.
Enter Palin, who was embraced with a bear hug by the party's conservative base. All of a sudden, cultural conservatives were thrilled at the chance to put "one of their own" in the White House. In fact, of the 60 percent of voters who told exit pollsters that McCain's choice of Palin was a "factor" in their final decision, the Arizona senator won 56 percent to 43 percent.
For skittish conservatives looking for more evidence that McCain understood their needs and concerns, Palin did the trick. It's hard to imagine conservatives rallying to McCain -- even to the relatively limited extent that they did -- without Palin on the ticket. And without the base, McCain's loss could have been far worse.
A Rasmussen Reports national survey taken immediately after the election found that 69 percent of Republicans believed Palin helped McCain and 91 percent held a favorable view of the Alaska governor.
Perhaps the Post article, using multiple anonymous sources to buttress its findings, is right in the assessment of difficulties Sarah Palin now encounters back home. The belief she hurt McCain's chances for the White House, however, doesn't appear to be held by very many Republicans. So why would lingering resentment be a significant factor?