Sarah Palin has done wonders for the Republican Party and conservatives in particular. (Sadly, the two are not necessarily the same.) She has successfully endorsed “Tea Party” candidates across the country and she has energized a once-moribund part of the American electorate. As a result, Democrats and incumbents in both parties are doing more to align themselves with the redirected populace. It’s not unfair to say that Sarah Palin has done more to alter the political landscape this year than anyone else.
Because of her popularity and effectiveness among conservatives, the former Governor of Alaska will likely run for president in 2012. If so, the very party and agenda she has revived will likely suffer.
If/when Palin does seek the presidency, she will invite monumental derision not just on herself, but on the entire party. Her persona – fair or not, just or unjust – has already been ingrained. From unprepared and uneducated to quitter to a crass bumpkin with a reality-show family, Sarah Palin has become a rich target for pundits, the media, opponents and pretty much every one else.
Whether in the primaries or, should she get the nomination, the general election, Palin will go down in flames and, most likely, set fire to the GOP and a lot of good candidates and office holders as well. Just as the negativity surrounding Barack Obama is influencing public opinion about all Democrats, likewise the impact a Palin candidacy will have on Republicans.
Should Sarah Palin be the Republican standard-bearer, the sparks from her campaign will fall on the entire right-ward movement the country has taken in the last two years. Every candidate and supporter associated with her will be set ablaze.
I’m not condemning Palin, nor do I endorse negativity towards her. My point is that the realities of current American culture and politics and the established perception of her not only doom her candidacy, but the Republican Party and conservatives as well.
Sarah Palin is a cheerleader and, as such, she is quite good. But her strength is in getting the crowd excited about the game and enthused about the team. She’s better suited as president of the booster club, not as the team quarterback.
There is a place for Sarah Palin – and she damn sure deserves one. She speaks the country’s mind and challenges policies and people that threaten America’s core values. That place, though, is not the Oval Office.