Palin Backlash Underway in St Paul

St. Paul - Susan Sandberg.JPG

(St. Paul, Minnesota)

Forget Hurricane Gustav. The biggest storm is St. Paul is now the “Palin backlash.” Conservatives are mounting a defense of their Vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, and the gloves are coming off.

When the elevator door opened on the third floor of the Xcel Energy Center, I got in not knowing there was a firestorm inside. “There’s a lot of sexism in the media,” I heard a loud voice say. It was former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

“She’s having to answer questions no man would ever have,” said Huckabee, to a radio reporter, who had him cornered. He was mad! After venting, he praised Barack Obama who on Monday said the candidate’s children should be “off-limits”

“I think Barack Obama has shown a lot of class,” said Huckabee. The door opened and he stormed out with aides in tow.

His sentiments are not alone though. The Palin stories and the reaction to them are the talk of St. Paul, not to mention the Xcel Center.

“Politics are a nasty business,” said Susan Sandberg, of Stillwater, Minnesota. Sandberg is the Republican Party’s chair for State Senate District 52. “I would never run for public office,” she said, “because they will dig back to elementary school for anything they can find.”

Sandberg believes the DUI arrest of Sarah Palin’s husband 22 years ago, is a case in point. And as for the Plain’s pregnant teenage daughter? “They are just normal, everyday human beings, going through life the way the rest of us do,” said Sandberg.

And she may have a point. The public probably likes politicians who look more human, rather than less so. What happened in the Palin household has happened in millions of other American families. People can relate. They probably also appreciate the candor. The story, just a few days after her VP selection, has hardly been varnished or sugar coated. If John McCain really knew all this, and stood by his pick anyway, then more power to him.

It’s interesting to note that while Mike Huckabee calls this episode sexist, Susan Sandberg does not. “I don’t think so,” she told me, “but politics is a nasty business. It’s pretty cut throat. You’ve got to be a really strong person, and realize every little skeleton in the closet will come up.”

The upside for her is that she believes Palin will attract wavering independent voters, and disgruntled woman who backed Hillary Clinton. ”I like what she (Palin) had to say,” said Sandberg, “She definitely appeals to the party base, and people who may have been on the fence. They will decide it was a good choice and go for it.”

In a close race, that could provide the margin of victory.

More to come later on:

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(St. Paul, Minnesota)

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