Do Not Underestimate Sarah Palin

Wednesday, 02 Feb 2011 07:32 AM

By Jon Friedman

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It's clear why American liberals hate Sarah Palin. It's obvious why she gets under their skin. The woman is on their minds all the time.

Palin has emerged as the spokeswoman of the right — a speaker for all seasons and all situations. When Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot by a crazed gunman on Jan. 8, Palin became the designated spokeswoman for the conservative movement in the United States.

A few weeks later, after President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union address, sure enough, Palin appeared as the rebuttal voice.

The woman is a 2011 phenomenon. She makes news without lifting a finger. Every politician should be so lucky.

Can the Palin juggernaut be stopped? Probably not. The Republicans need to use someone to counter the Democrat in the White House. Palin is perfect for this purpose because she is no longer viewed by the smart money as a serious threat to win the Republicans' 2012 nomination.

Ironically, Palin's appeal to the television networks as a right-wing spokeswoman has intensified as she ceases to be regarded as a political opponent to Obama. Of course, it's likely that Palin and her supporters would prefer to see their favorite back in the political high life.

President Obama, restored to prominence based on his spectacular showing in January, cannot be toppled in an election. He has regained his momentum at the most opportune time — on the eve of the national election.

And now he has competition for the microphone in Palin. While the left can exult in Obama's resurgence, it will have to contend with Palin.

Get used to it, America. She is not going away any time soon.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column.

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