At least one prominent Republican wishes that Sarah Palin would stop using her superstar status to endorse GOP candidates. Georgia congressman Jack Kingston took Palin to task for getting involved in his state's gubernatorial primary run-off — and pushing a once-fringe candidate, Karen Handel, into a tight second-place finish. "I don't know why [Palin] feels compelled to get into primaries all over the country," Kingston said on a talk radio interview, at one point agreeing that Palin should "butt out" of GOP primaries. "What she is doing is dividing the Republican Party at a time when we don't need to be divided," he said. Does he have a point?
Palin's endorsements are bad for the GOP: If the Republican Party allows Palin's "short checklist of slogan-ready, litmus-test issues" to shape its candidate lineup, says an editorial in The Washington Post, it will find itself in a "very snug tent" filled with "hard-core partisans" rather than candidates with "character [and] pragmatism." Palin's strategy is "so narrow that it amounts to self-marginalization."
"Sarah Palin endorsements help push GOP farther from the center"
What about the other big-wigs who got involved? Palin wasn't the only outsider who stepped into Georgia's run-off, says Bernie Becker at The New York Times. Mitt Romney also backed Handel, while Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee both backed Rep. Nathan Deal, the eventual winner and Kingston's own favored nominee. Interesting that the congressman didn't take them to task for "injecting themselves" into the race.
"Georgia congressman no fan of Palin endorsements"
You can't generalize about Palin's intentions: Actually, says Jim Geraghty at The National Review, Palin's candidate in this race — Karen Handel — was probably "the less conservative of the two options." Palin appears to favor "underdogs [and] sometimes even long shots," not just the most hard-line Right-wingers. It's a risky strategy, but it boosts her 2012 credentials when she is "credited for their surprise performances."
"Why did Sarah Palin's preferred candidates lose yesterday?"