Is Sarah Palin the 2012 Version of Jesse Jackson in 1988?

February 24, 2010, 7:00 AM ET
Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, is a former White House correspondent with two decades of experience covering Washington government and politics.

Sarah Palin would probably blanch at the comparison, given their widely divergent world views, but these days her political profile looks quite similar to the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s just over two decades ago.
Simply put, the two emerged as political and media celebrities backed by exceptionally strong support within the most ideological wing of their respective political parties. But both also carry substantial political baggage with the much larger numbers of American voters who decide November elections.
That profile made the idea that Mr. Jackson had a serious chance to win the presidency unrealistic. Ms. Palin’s poll ratings are actually lower than Mr. Jackson’s were then. And doubts about her ability to broaden her support past the true-believers, as numerous as they may be, raise the same questions about her chances in 2012.
To be fair to the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, her base within the Republican Party is larger and more influential in primaries than Mr. Jackson’s was a generation ago in the Democratic Party.
Nonetheless, the electorate today sees Ms. Palin much like it once viewed Mr. Jackson.
Transition to the Mainstream
He was a well-known civil rights leader who had made the transition to the conventional political mainstream in 1984 with a presidential campaign. She was a former small-state governor who zoomed to national political prominence when GOP nominee John McCain selected her as his running mate.
Current poll data show that more than seven in 10 Americans don’t think Ms. Palin is qualified to be president, including a majority of Republicans. But she commands strong loyalty among the grass-roots conservatives who have great sway in GOP presidential primaries.
Polling data two decades ago, asking voters whether they thought Mr. Jackson was qualified to be president, showed even fewer viewed him as Oval Office material.


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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Syrin from Wasilla
    Feb 28, 2010 @ 01:05:00

    …The problem is, Palin doesn’t know she’s unelectable, and neither do her followersAn even better version is at


  2. Josephine (a British Conservative)
    Feb 28, 2010 @ 04:32:00

    Historically Reverend Jackson deserved to lose his bid for the Presidency mainly because of his particular brand of divisive politics and an attitude of he personally was entitled to be the President because, etc. etc….. One thing however has been omitted in this comparison and that is Education, and an ability to learn from ones mistakes.
    Reverend Jackson recently took a huge step up in my opinion of him after I listened to a recent BBC interview he gave – it was very informed and he sounded most relaxed and comfortable both with himself and the interviewer.


  3. sjohnson
    Feb 28, 2010 @ 08:26:00

    Where did you get that picture (Dope), Syrin? It would make a great poster. I think you should sell them.


  4. Syrin from Wasilla
    Feb 28, 2010 @ 08:32:00

    Welcome Josephine..
    Jesse Jackson has been for the most part an anomalie that never seems to go away. In that same respect I see Palin being that car wreck, train wreck, any wreck that people just have to turn their heads to look.. Education and self awareness does make a difference in how someone presents themselves. Personally, as far as education, basic understanding of politics, geography and life… I say it's too late for the 46 year old Sarah halfbaked Palin. The cat is out of the bag so to speak on Palin's lack of education and self awareness.


  5. Josephine (a British Conservative)
    Feb 28, 2010 @ 08:55:00

    Thank for your warm welcome Syrin! (all the more appreciated as I know it's much colder there than here!)
    I totally afree with you, agree even <grin>, I actually wrote a lot more, but it disapeared into the ether that is the networld!. What I wanted to point out, was I belive Mr J had finally learnt why he would never had made President. Mrs P I fear, just does not have the capabilities to think that deeply let alone learn it… I feel so sad saying that, as initially I thought she was a breath of fresh air, and badly needed after the likes of Cheney et-al and those awful right wing talk show hosts like Limpbaaah and Reagan, was I ever wrong eh? I should have remembered that old adage "never judge a book by its cover". Ah well we have our political monsters too, they are called the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties…..


  6. sjohnson
    Feb 28, 2010 @ 09:45:00

    Don't misunderstand: I would never vote for Jesse Jackson, but from time to time he has actually done something worthwhile on a small scale. Palin? Zip.


  7. Syrin from Wasilla
    Feb 28, 2010 @ 09:59:00

    No misunderstanding here sjohnson. I totally agree that JJ has provided some worthwhile thought. Jackson at least has a grasp, limited, but he's proven he can learn. Sarah Palin- Not so much


  8. sjohnson
    Feb 28, 2010 @ 12:09:00

    Exactly! What has she ever done that she can be proud of? Furthermore, what has she ever done that was unselfish? (crickets)


  9. Alaska Pride
    Feb 28, 2010 @ 19:12:00

    From;… McCain’s choice of Palin, who seemed to have the foreign policy
    knowledge of a bowling alley waitress, made these attacks sound silly. …" Bwaaahahahahaaaaahaaaaaa!!!


  10. Syrin from Wasilla
    Feb 28, 2010 @ 19:16:00

    Lol… Make 'it' go away…..
    It came from Wasilla.


  11. Alaska Pride
    Feb 28, 2010 @ 21:16:00

    To this day, I can't believe she was even elected mayor of Wasilla. The R Party should have stayed out of the recall effort.


  12. Syrin from Wasilla
    Feb 28, 2010 @ 21:26:00

    ::::Remember this list of Headlines::::

    Palin's personal ethics problems and lack of integrity along with aincompetent record as played out in headlines.. The alarm bells ranglong ago! Frontiersman Editorial Criticized Cronyism and PoliticalManeuvering in City Hall.
    A Frontiersman editorial wrote, “Palin promised to change the statusquo, but at every turn we find hints of cronyism andpolitical maneuvering. We see a woman who has long-since surrenderedher ideals to a politicalmachine.” [Frontiersman editorial, 2/7/97]
    Frontiersman Editorial: Palin Doesn’t Grasp the Truth. A Frontiersmaneditorial wrote, “Mayor Palinfails to have a firm grasp of something very simple: the truth.”[Frontiersman editorial, 2/7/97]
    Headline: “Palin may face recall” [Frontiersman, 2/5/97]
    Editorial Headline: “Mayor’s Lost Credibility” [Frontiersman, 2/7/97]
    Frontiersman Editorial: Palin Assumed Her Election Was a Coronation. AFrontiersman editorialwrote, “Palin seems to have assumed her election was instead acoronation. Welcome to Kingdom Palin,the land of no accountability.” [Frontiersman editorial, 2/7/97]


  13. sjohnson
    Mar 01, 2010 @ 03:54:00

    Wow, Syrin! Thanks for those Frontiersman articles. By the time I was reading that paper, it seemed that they were totally supportive of Half-a-gov.


  14. conscious at last
    Mar 01, 2010 @ 06:59:00

    You could agree or disagree with Jackson on many issues– but he isn't/wasn't an ignoramus.


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