If the past is any barometer, Palin should have disappeared shortly after the 2008 presidential campaign and retired to a quite life of mid-level honoraria engagements at Rotary Clubs and book signings, much as Dan Quayle did before her. Instead she has become arguably the most polarizing political figure in American history.
While I don’t necessarily endorse Sarah Palin at this early stage in the election process, when one considers the resume of the current leader of the Western world, the idea that she is not qualified to be President of the United States is laughable. Barack Obama has literally no experience as a manager or leader, and it has shown abysmally.
Palin may not get my vote in the primaries, I don’t know, but whether she runs or not, I think misses the point. She is a firebrand in one of the most extraordinary grassroots movements in U.S. history, and that movement will either be the catalyst for true change with in the GOP, or the party will not survive the twentieth century.
Currently, the GOP does not show any signs of true change in the aftermath of November’s wave election. Right out of the chute the Senate leadership cut a deal with Democrats to extend the Bush tax cuts that cost the American taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollar in unfunded spending. Now they are about to raise the debt ceiling, and they are not likely to get much in return.
But this new wing, if you will, of the GOP provides the best hope in years of truly changing the direction of the Republican Party. Jim De Mint, Mike Huckabee, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty and Mike Pence are all, in some respects, of the same stripe as Palin, and the there are others. What Palin and they represent is a badly needed second chance for their party.
With all of the talk of Mitt Romney in 2012, no Republican worth his or her salt believes it; Romney’s flip-flops on core conservative issues: socialized health care, abortion and mushiness on other social issues, makes him a yawner at the polls in a general election. No, Romney is what the Old Guard hopes the electorate will buy; his presidency would secure their positions in leadership.
No doubt Palin faces an uphill battle in the primary cycle, not to mention a general election should she decide to run, but only a fool would count her out at this juncture. She possesses enormous clout with factions in the conservative right that make her viable possibility for 2012. But perhaps whether she can win is beside the point.
There are two primary reasons why Sarah Palin should consider a run in the next election. First, the Democrats are paralyzed with fear at the thought of her. She will prove a distraction that they can ill afford, if they are to rewrite Barack Obama’s record. Don’t expect Palin-Biden II; Palin destroys Barack in a one-on-one debate.
But perhaps the best reason for a Palin run in 2012, is that she will wield enormous negotiating leverage with the old-line leadership within the her party to establish and solidify planks in the party platform and—in the event she doesn’t win nomination—determine who the GOP candidate will be.