Sarah Palin: Fancy Pageant-Walking Tea Party Queen
Sarah Palin has finally found her niche! She’s gone rogue against her own party, once again: this time by endorsing the Conservative Party candidate over the Republican nominee in a special U.S. House election in Upstate New York’s 23rd district. This race has become indicative of the civil war brewing within the GOP. On the one hand, you’ve got the party establishment which, though very conservative, wants to actually win elections. On the other hand, you’ve got what many pundits are choosing to call “the base.” I prefer to call them what they really are: extreme-right-wing crazies, hell-bent on getting their way, even at the cost of destroying the GOP and losing many, many elections for the foreseeable future. In other words, the Tea-Partiers.
Palin has chosen to throw in with the latter group. Very mavericky, and very natural. For those of you on the left that may be worried, or those of you on the right that may be excited (or vice versa) about the prospect of Sarah Palin bolstering her bona fides for a 2012 Presidental campaign: ha ha ha ha ha! Palin versus Obama? Please! She’d be destroyed at the polls, let alone any debate. Everyone knows she can’t win a national election. But, she is the patron saint of the Tea-Partiers. She can sell an awful lot of books, do some fancy pageant walking, and have her face splashed on screens all over the country. It’s everything she really wants.
While Mrs. Palin does possess some valuable political assets, she will find herself much happier giving speeches and rallying the Tea-Partiers to the Conservative cause than she ever has in a position of governance. She just doesn’t have the policy chops. She does have good looks, what many people find to be a charming “folksy” demeanor, and a few ideological issues about which she is truly passionate. Beyond that, it’s all about money and the trappings of power. Why did she resign from the Governorship, after all? It was getting pretty hard, what with the blowback from the campaign, ethics complaints, and a faltering economy, true. But I would give her the benefit of the doubt, and say that I don’t believe she quit so much because the going was getting tough, as because she didn’t want to pass-up her opportunity to cash-in.
Alaska law would have made it difficult for her to rake in money from speaking engagements and book deals while still Governor. With over two years left in her term, it would be quite a gamble that she would still be commanding the same attention and potential dollars down the road. Many believed at the time, and continue to believe now, that she is positioning herself for a 2012 run. As a Democrat, I sure hope so: the primaries would rip the GOP in two, and were she to emerge as the nominee, the campaign would be an unmitigated disaster.
I don’t think she’s going to do it. She’s found her people, and they adore her. The same people that are attending tea parties now are the same people rabidly cheering her on while she lied and smeared Barack Obama during her 2008 campaign rallies. The same people that were shouting out racist and violently threatening taunts then (which she, unlike her running-mate McCain, did not attempt to tamp down) are the same people ranting about birth certificates and socialism now. She can lead them. (To where is anybody’s guess.)
She won’t have to worry with the boring job of governing; she need not know too much about policy; all she has to do is look good, wink and sling the mud. Lots of mud.