Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

So what awaits Sarah Palin?

A lot of chat mates, readers, and friends asked us last night: "What happens to Sarah Palin now?"

That's a great question. I mentioned her in this morning's first post (scroll down) and I didn't really touch on her a lot. I brought her up preemptively to stave off so-called conservatives shredding her for being the reason why McCain lost. She's not, so don't even go there. As usual, Geraghty the Indispensable has the answer and puts it far more eloquently than I could right now. (Hey, give me a break. It was a very late night for us last night):

A few readers have asked whether I think Sarah Palin will run for the Senate in the future. I think that would be a mistake, for several reasons, not the least of which is that, if successful, the decision would take an unique and popular outside-the-beltway executive and put her inside the Beltway as one of 100 legislators voting on every bill that comes down the pike.

[We agree with Jim here. She doesn't need to head into Beltway politics, and that's for two reasons. First, she's a reformer, but she's not going to reform squat from the inside. As vice president she could have done that, but not as a senator. Second, her popularity is still soaring as Alaska's governor. She can accomplish a helluva lot more as governor than she could as a senator.]

For now, I hope Sarah Palin gets to take a vacation and spend some much-deserved time with that beautiful family. Her experience these past four months must have been simultaneously exhilarating, supremely frustrating, and thoroughly exhausting.

I hope Palin runs for a second term as governor and is reelected. This seems like a likely scenario.

Beyond that, her future is a blank slate. If she decided, after this rollercoaster experience, that she was no longer all that interested in national office, I could not blame her. But I suspect that she realizes the strengths she has and the opportunities that will await her.

[OK, she should run for reelection just on the fact that her popularity is still at astronomical numbers. Should she come back to the national stage? We think she should, but as Jim will explain in just a moment, she has some work to do if she's going to do that. At the very least, she needs to become one of the voices for the conservative base that can help lead us out of the wilderness that we're resigned to for at least the next two years, if not four. This was a point Hugh Hewitt brought up last night. Who will be the voice of the party now? It ain't McCain. He lost, and frankly his bipartisanship rhetoric was stupid, to be frank. She could and should be one of those voices.]

The Republican base loves Sarah Palin. Many Democrats instantly loathed her, at least partially because they sensed an almost unparalleled threat; a few couldn’t help but like her even if they disagreed with her. Independents concluded she wasn't ready — not that she wasn't likeable, and not that she wasn't an impressive person, but that she wasn't ready. This flaw can be overcome with time and useful experience.

If Palin wants a future in national office, I hope she takes some time to deeply contemplate where she wants to take the country. I suspect she'll write a book about her experience on the campaign trail; I hope she writes a separate one, when she's ready, about her vision for the country.

She indeed could be the next Reagan; the challenge this time was that she was running as the Ronald Reagan of about 1969, after about two years as governor. It’s easy to forget how much time Reagan spent touring and speaking at General Electric plants,
a thousand radio addresses, newspaper columns, etc. He familiarized himself with every major economic, social, and foreign policy topic under the sun, and figured out what he wanted American policy to do and how it should go about doing it. Very, very few political figures think through these key questions so thoroughly. A lot of the Palin criticism was unfair, but the Peggy Noonans of the world have something of a point when they say she has as-yet incomplete political philosophy. Until the end of August, Sarah Palin didn’t really need one; her natural instincts were sufficient to successfully navigate the treacherous world of Alaskan politics.

[Bingo. For her to be the next Reagan we're looking for, she has a lot of work ahead of her. Reagan went from obscurity to national figure in how he educated himself, and his ardent anti-Communist stances. He knew that Communism was the enemy of freedom in the 20th Century. We have another enemy in the 21st Century -- actually two -- and she should educate herself as much as possible on that enemy. (The second is a new rise of socialism/Communism in the world as evidenced by Russia's recent saber-rattling.) The first, obviously, is Islamofascism. It wouldn't take long to get her feet wet in learning about our enemy. "The Looming Tower," "America Alone," "Londonistan," "Legacy of Ashes," "Nuclear Jihadist," and "Liberal Fascism" should be among the first books to read. Start boning up. Learn as much as possible about the nation -- her strengths and weaknesses -- and get to know the people. She did a great job on the campaign trail doing that, but Reagan went the extra step. Take a page from The Gipper.]

And there is really no deadline for her interest in national office. Palin is a strikingly young 44 years old. If she runs at Hillary's age, she will be running in 2024. You’re going to hear a lot of buzz about her as a 2012 candidate, but I don’t think that she needs to run in four years. (For now, life will keep her busy – she has an infant to take care of, a son in Iraq, a grandchild on the way and a day job.) I don’t think that love from the Republican base is going to dissipate in four years. She stepped up to the plate and hit the ball as far as she could this time around, and for about two weeks, she helped achieve the near-impossible: putting McCain ahead in a Democratic year.

Every once in a while I think about working on a political campaign, and almost always conclude that I like what I do on the outside too much to ever want to accept the inherent limits of working on the inside. But after the joy of
offering a line that ended up in her convention speech, Governor, I’ll make clear the exception. I’ll answer that call anytime.

Jim's closing is an interesting one, and I'll expand on that later today. Why? Because he's right to make that consideration. It's an idea a lot of us should take into consideration. Like I said, I'll talk about that later today. It's going to take me awhile to put that post together. Until then, he's spot-on about Governor Palin. Her future is bright, and it's wide open. She can write her future, but before she does, she has some work to do. And there's no time like the present to get started.

Publius II

2 Comments:

Blogger road warrior said...

It's true the liberal illuminati have hated her because she been such a strong voice. But i have heard about her getting a TV deal or something like that. I think that would be hilarious. I wouldn't watch that's for sure but i bet A LOT of people would. I bet Joe the plumber could be her co-host.

November 6, 2008 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger knowitall said...

Seriously, she needs to just stay where she is. The liberal illuminati have their fingers crossed, wishing she would run, and we can't afford to lose again in 2012.

November 17, 2008 at 6:11 PM  

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