Students reacted with a mix of relief and indifference after Sarah Palin announced Wednesday that she seek the presidency in 2012.
Saint Mary’s College senior Katherine Casey said she was pleased with Palin’s decision, adding that Palin can be more beneficial to the GOP now that she has bowed out. “Sarah Palin is a smart woman who realized that she can have a larger impact on issues and the conservative movement by not getting into a race to hold an office that she will never win,” she said.
Casey said she would have been “deeply concerned” if Palin entered the race, mainly because she could potentially harm other candidates’ campaigns.
Purdue University senior Kristen Ruhl agreed, adding that Palin would divert voters’ attention.
“I think [Palin’s decision to refrain from entering the race] will allow the candidates to have a fair run at the presidency and not become overshadowed by Palin’s celebrity status,” she said.
Other students held similar beliefs, adding that Palin’s decision was good for the GOP. University of Notre Dame freshman Alexander Hathaway said Palin’s decision to bow out could open the door for a candidate with more potential for success.
“Sarah Palin stepping out will hopefully leave room and votes for a candidate who can actually stand a chance in the general election,” he said.
Casey said she believed Palin resonated with young voters in her 2008 campaign. However, she felt Palin lost popularity because many students criticized her for the publicity surrounding her personal issues, which Casey claimed made her “an Us Weekly cover, not future presidential material.”
She added that she felt many were critical of Palin for “capitalizing on her political fame.”
Like Casey, other students believed Palin’s press coverage would distract voters.
Sarah Palin stepping out will hopefully leave room and votes for a candidate who can actually stand a chance in the general election
“Due to all the negative press surrounding her while running for Vice President alongside John McCain, I think that people will focus on her for the wrong reasons,” Ruhl said.
Additionally, Hathaway felt that Palin’s many “slip-ups” on television caused potential voters to lose confidence in her abilities as a politician. “I think college voters saw her as an ill-informed public figure who by no means was suited to be a politician,” he said.
Ruhl added that she could not take Palin seriously because of her lack of large-scale political experience. Additionally, she said she would “not trust her to be the president of my country.”
In addition, Ruhl said she believed Palin was made into a laughingstock by some of the skits that aired on NBC’s Saturday Night Live.
“Overall,” Ruhl said, “I think Sarah Palin is a bit of a joke.”
Casey said she believed Palin did have a following with the Republican and Tea Party movement, however, she did not think she would obtain an elected office in the near future. Casey added that she currently supports Mitt Romney.
“Romney has a great deal of experience when it comes to business matters. That is exactly what our country needs right now,” she said.
Though many students agreed that Palin lacked experience, Casey recognized her contributions to the GOP.
“I love that she is a strong, conservative woman,” she said. “Despite her lack of knowledge or background information occasionally, she still is a conservative woman who has made a huge impact on politics and popular culture.”
Casey added that the media overemphasized the instances where Palin misspoke, causing many to lose faith in her.
“The media has over capitalized on many of her slip-ups, and greatly impacted the person that many people see when they think of Sarah Palin,” she said.
Other students said they believed Palin was well intentioned, but did not have the necessary experience to succeed in a presidential office.
“I think she tried to be enthusiastic about politics and attempted to make politics no-nonsense, but wasn’t necessarily successful,” Hathaway said.
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