I have written previously of my belief that Sarah Palin running and winning in 2012 is not as far-fetched as some would like to believe it is. (http://foamcage.com/conservative-in-los-angeles/palin-2012-don-t-bet-against-her ) Sarah Palin continues to dominate the discussion of presidential politics. This week, the New York Times Magazine ran a fascinating profile of her by Robert Draper. (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/magazine/21palin-t.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=magazine) It is clear that, as a candidate or not, she will have a huge impact on the 2012 presidential race. Even Joe Biden got into the act this week, noting that she is often underestimated.
Joe Biden is right (wow, that hurts to say): Her television show on TLC garnered big ratings. Most of the candidates she endorsed won. Bristol made the finals on “Dancing With the Stars.” With the Iowa caucus a little more than a year off, things look pretty good. It might be time to order those “Sarah 2012” signs.
But should she do it? Running for President is a public and personal decision. She is the mother of 5 . The impact of a presidential run on her children cannot be underestimated. The Palin children have already experienced some of the national press treatment, granted some of it is self-inflicted, but one wonders whether the timing is right to do it again. That said, this is the personal side of the decision that is best left to the Palin family.
But the public side is tricky as well. If she does not run, she can continue to be a successful author, paid commentator, and TV star. I can only imagine the parade of candidates seeking photo ops and an endorsement. She becomes the kingmaker. A prime time speech at the convention is almost a certainty, with Sarah bestowing her blessing on the Republican ticket and firing up the troops.
If she runs, she has to trudge through the small towns of Iowa and New Hampshire. This is retail politics that she does not appear to have the taste for. There is no path to the nomination that does not go through one of these states, so she can’t skip them in the hopes of a big state, big primary strategy. Just ask Rudy Giuliani.
If she stumbles in Iowa or New Hampshire, or falls out of the race later, then she joins the ranks of other presidential also rans. She does not have another stage, such as a Senate seat a la Orrin Hatch, Richard Lugar or others whose presidential dreams died early. The vice presidential nomination? Few get that shot twice and it is hard to picture the Republican nominee choosing to be outshined again by Sarah Palin.
She also falls well down in the ranks of Republican women. There will be Republican women actually holding jobs as Governors in North Carolina and New Mexico. Michelle Bachmann’s profile has grown in the House. Any one of these could end up on the ticket in 2012 or as the front runner in the first “woman to be nominated for President by a major party” primary. Their endorsement value will grow as the Palin brand is diminished.
A lower stature might force her television show to be moved from TLC to Oxygen. Instead of guest shots on Fox news, she might be reduced to doing point, counter point segments with Keith Olberman on MSNBC.
Could she pull it off? I still say, under the right circumstances, yes. Should she try? It seems counterintuitive to say someone might have more influence if they are not a presidential nominee, but in the always unusual case of Sarah Palin, that just might be true.