Monday, July 06, 2009

The Unconventional Mrs. Palin

Governor Sarah Palin has announced she will step down effective at the end of this month. She leaves her office about a year and a half before she would have to run for re-election. She has to her resume currently: Member of Wasilla, Alaska City Council (4 years); Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (6 years); Chair, Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (1 year); Governor of Alaska (2.5 years); Candidate, Vice President of the United States. If the story was written today, we would probably never hear or see Sarah Palin again.

As of this writing, Gov. Palin has not announced her plans for the future. Most political pundits seem comfortable that Mrs. Palin will be running for office of some sort again in the future. Most seem to believe she has driven a stake through any chance she had at being on the ticket, let alone elected, in the 2012 Presidential election. Fred Barnes, writing in The Weekly Standard boldly proclaims, "Forget about Sarah Palin as the Republican presidential candidate in 2012 and probably ever." There are many smart operatives on both sides of the aisle that would quickly agree with him. In Mr. Barnes own article, he details the experience Republicans have brought to the table since the end of World War II in both successful and unsuccessful presidential bids. And yet…

I am forced to ask if those covering Washington (or Alaskan) politics have already forgotten the lessons of the 2008 Presidential election. If you were writing a book, could you have come up with a more classical stereotype of a career politician? Senator John McCain served as a U.S. Representative or Senator from 1982 to present (26 years). Before that, he was a career Navy man (23 years) and POW (almost 6 years). Headlining the Democratic ticket was a junior Senator from Illinois (close to 4 years). Before that, then State Senator Obama served about 7 years in the State Senate that was unremarkable and included a failed bid for the U.S. House of Representatives. Ask almost anyone two years ago, and it wouldn't even be close. And yet, here we are, with a junior Senator as our 44th President of the United States.

During her short run as Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin was able to galvanize the base of the Republican Party in ways John McCain was unable to do for the entire election. During her political career in Alaska, she has shown a determination to prove conventional wisdom wrong at every chance she can. Will she run for President in 2012? Who knows? If she decides to, there are a number of political writers who may be forced to eat their words.


the anonymous guy said...

Michael Jackson has an unconventional biography too. Glad he wasn't president, though.

Andy D said...

I would think today might be a poor day to use Michael Jackson in any analogy.

the anonymous guy said...

Tru nuff.

Brandon said...


I agree with you that it's possible that we could see Sarah Palin as a candidate for president, but it would be a difficult path for her to secure her party's nomination.

Firstly, she quit as governor. There's no shame in declining to run for re-election and you are only a lame duck governor if you have absolutely no political support from your legislature.

If she wants to run for president in 2012 or 2016, it would have been much more advisable for her to finish out her term and then spend 2010 stumping for GOP candidates and studying up on her policy weak points.

Secondly, her speech announcing her decision is going to hurt her in future elections. She needed a well-written speech to effectively convey her point and instead gave a performance that would make Joe Biden wince.

Thirdly, some of her reasons for quitting are also going to hurt her, specifically the comment about the media attention. The scrutiny would only get more intense in a presidential campaign and if she can't stand the pressure now, she would be an idiot to run.

Fourthly, she needs to expand her electability. She would probably have no problem winning the nomination if the social conservatives support her en masse, but she has trouble connecting with moderate Democrats and independents. Not to be crass, but unless the GOP returns to the days of it being a big tent party, her base is literally dying off and the younger voters are increasingly likely to be Democrats or be Democratic-leaning independents.

Andy D said...

You have made a number of very good points. I don't think anyone really knows what the situation will look like in 2012. If a primary were to happen today, I think Palin would be very tough to beat.

My biggest point to this post was that most of the articles I had seen written (and still see today) seem to forget Obama's background.

the anonymous guy said...

OK Obama rose pretty quickly, yes. But to be fair: Obama at a young age was president of the Harvard Law Review, one of the most selective and promising positions a person can hold *in the world.*

Palin skated through *five* non-selective schools with an undistinguished record.

Palin was not quite a one term governor of a state that has about the same number of people as Memphis, TN.

Most historians (and, I assume, scientific measures of intelligence) would see very little in common between Sarah Palin and Barack Obama.

Andy D said...

We can rehash the debates from last year if you want. Obama and Palin both had very little experience compared to most people that run for President or Vice President. As far as intelligence goes, I don't think we have seen anything that would lead us to make any decision on their relative intelligence's.

Obama has lowered the bar for what it takes to become a President. I think a number of political commentators have forgotten that.

the anonymous guy said...

Congratulations, Andy and Mrs. Palin!

I didn't believe it at first, but Sarah Palin has garnered top honors this year from the non-partisan group PolitiFact.

Andy saw her promise before I did!

I was blind, but now I see.

Andy D said...

Interesting. I am surprised that President Obama's claim that his Obamacare will "bend the cost curve down" didn't get at least an honorable mention. Maybe the St.Petersburg Times didn't have them time in 36 hours to read the Reid bill that Obama will probably sign into law to see the real costs that bill will impose on the country. Or maybe they are saving it till next year...