How Will History Judge Sarah Palin

November 3, 2008 at 2:28 am 5 comments

With apologies for the relatively poor production value, I’ve posted to YouTube my own little campaign ad for Barack Obama.

The Sienna Research Institute periodically surveys a cross section of historians and asks them to rank the Presidents of the United States. Using a ranking from 2002, I took every Vice President that succeeded to the presidency upon the death or resignation of the then sitting President, and I indicated whether they fell in the top 50% of their peers or the bottom. I then posed the following hypothetical: If John McCain is elected and does not complete his term, will Sarah Palin likely end up among the top 50% of all Presidents or the bottom? Seeing her face next to men like Harry Truman vs men like John Tyler gives you a gut feeling for the answer.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. The Red Pill  |  November 3, 2008 at 2:54 am

    I’m no editor but based on the content of your post, perhaps a more suitable title would be “How might history judge Sarah Palin?” Since it is based on multiple things, each with a slim chance of happening.

    As a history major I can assure you that Sarah Palin won’t be remembered by history unless McCain wins. And even then, only as a historic novelty.

    History is fairly kind to past presidents. Even the bad ones. Time heals the wounds they cause and people forget about the bad and focus on the good. And their VPs don’t get remembered at all.

    I wonder, where did Joe Biden place in your experiment? And since he’s already had 2 brain anyeurisms and 2 brain surgeries, you’d better do one up for Nancy Pelosi, too. It would be interesting to see who’s pictures they are shown next to.

  • 2. wickle  |  November 3, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    I’m sort of with RP on this one. He’s obviously right about her not being remembered unless McCain wins. The fact is, even Geraldine Ferraro already has the category of first female VP candidate on a major ticket, so Palin won’t even be remembered by “Jeopardy!” or Trivial Pursuit without a win.

    For her to have much of a place, the GOP will have to win, and then McCain have to leave office (by death or failing health) prematurely. I don’t want to speculate about how she might be judged, that gets to be too hypothetical for me.

  • 3. Rutherford  |  November 4, 2008 at 2:18 am

    I am a bit surprised by the reaction of Wickle and Red Pill. Many pundits are saying that Sarah Palin is the last great hope of the conservative movement and that if freed from the shackles of the McCain campaign, she will rise as a leader in the party. Personally, I find this preposterous but I am surprised to see my view shared by both Wickle and RP.

  • 4. Lucas  |  November 4, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    Buddy, Palin will make no history at all!

    There is plenty of stupid people in politics and fortunatelly, she will be just another one by tomorrow.

  • 5. wickle  |  November 5, 2008 at 8:17 am

    I think that the hype of Gov. Palin was a flavor-of-the-week sort of thing. Ferocious partisans jumped behind her immediately and exaggerated her strengths.

    For people who are going to be leaders of whatever conservative resurgence might come next, I can’t imagine that she’s going to lead anything. I could see people following Mitt Romney (though I sure as heck won’t), Mike Huckabee, or (most likely) someone we really don’t know at this point.

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