By Paul Osborne
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Extra resources for Illusion Systems 2
But in order truly to have a national impact on her party and be a player in 2012, she’s going to need to improve her issue credentials. Cult of personality can only get a candidate so far; a proven ability to get things done or pushing a set of substantial issues is necessary to be taken seriously. As for the verdict of voters, it’s clear, according to the 2008 National Exit Poll, Palin was polarizing. Four out of ten voters said Palin’s selection was an important factor in their vote, but those voters split their votes about evenly between the Republican and Democratic tickets.
And in a time when President Bush had approval ratings ranging from 25% to 30%, change mattered the most to voters over any other issue. Of course, Obama didn’t win his nomination by simply holding an impressive kickoff, but he did quickly cement his place as the chief challenger to the then front-runner Clinton. In one fell swoop, Obama was able to displace all of the other anti-Hillary challengers and relegate them to second-tier candidates. John Edwards was the strongest of these second-tier challengers because of his near victory in the 2004 Iowa caucuses.
But there was one potential candidate whose name was being talked about by activists and the blogosphere who did have the Clinton crowd nervous: the freshman senator from Illinois, Barack Obama. The factor that kept the Clintons confident about their 2008 chances was the notion that there was just no way, despite his popularity with the Democratic activist base, that a guy who, until 2004, was in the Illinois state senate would somehow have the audacity to run for president so soon. The Clintons were very familiar with the strategy of figuring out the timing of when best to run.