Sarah Palin announced her resignation as Governor of Alaska in a rambling and unfocused press conference last Friday. In fact, she made Mark Sanford seem like the epitome of coherence. Those on the left were quick to proclaim that this was the death knell for Mrs. Palin as a serious candidate for President in 2012. Those on the Right were quick to point out that she is now free from the burden of running a state and can now make even more appearances where she can spread her message.
If we were living in "normal" times, those hopeful thinkers on the left may indeed be right, but we are not living in normal times. The Republican party has been reduced to its core elements. Social conservatives now dominate the base of the party and those are the very people who find Sarah Palin irresistible. We must also remember that over 58 million people voted for her in the last election. I understand that she was not at the top of the ticket, but she was only a heartbeat away from the top job which would have been held by a 73 year old, 2 time cancer survivor.
Sarah Palin is the most ill-prepared person proposed for national office that I have ever seen. She has no understanding of the Constitution (illustrated by her constant misstatement of what the 1st Amendment means), she couldn't explain what Conservatism is if you spotted her Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan and she is dead set against learning what she doesn't know. That last point is what makes her so dangerous. Anybody with the lack of understanding of national and international issues that she has demonstrated and with the family issues that were forced to be played out on a national stage, would have declined the offer to join the McCain ticket. However her personal ambition outweighs any family obligation or reasonable action.
Despite all her shortcomings, the base of Republican party has anointed her as the savior of the party. Republican pundits have even compared her to Richard Nixon. Nixon uttered the famous, "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore", after losing to Pat Brown in the California Governor's race. Nixon, of course, returned 6 years later to become a two term President. However comparing Richard Nixon to Sarah Palin is like comparing an Indy race car to a scooter. At the time that Richard Nixon made his famous concession, he had been a 2 term Congressman, a Senator, a two term Vice President and had lost a closely contested and controversial election for President. For all his shortcomings, I don't think that there is anyone who would question his intelligence or his skill as a politician and statesman. Sarah Palin, a first term Governor of Alaska, was as recently as 4 years ago, voted mayor of a town with approximately 600 votes. The comparison is ridiculous on its face and becomes even more ridiculous when you compare the two. She has also been compared to the great communicator himself, Ronald Reagan. Of course Reagan had become politically aware as part of the Conservative movement. He was schooled by the likes of Barry Goldwater himself and cut his teeth as Governor of California. Ronald Reagan's intellect will never be confused with Richard Nixon's, however he knew what he stood for.
Sarah Palin doesn't know what she stands for. Her speeches contain no details, no policies, no directions for how she intends to "make America a better place for all Americans". She simply spews talking points and applause lines. Her ego is so large that she would probably never allow someone around her who doesn't agree with everything she says, or at least they wouldn't be around her for long. I have nightmares about this woman being in charge of our international policy. Can you imagine this woman as our representative around the world? Can you imagine her having a serious discussion with the leaders of the rest of the world? George Bush at least had the awareness to understand that he needed smart people around him. They were evil for the most part, but they were undoubtedly very intelligent. I don't think Bush ever had a problem with not being the smartest guy in the room.
Sarah Palin, almost unbelievably, thinks that she is the smartest person in any room that she's in. She would surround herself with people who would be unwilling or unable to disagree with her on any topic. It would be an absolute disaster. I honestly don't understand how anyone could hope for this to come to pass. There are smart people on the right, who for unknown reasons support Sarah Palin. It could be desperation, it could be... actually there is no other reason. It has to be desperation. I hope that in the years before the next Presidential election, the Republicans come up with an alternative. I fear, however, that wishful thinking will not be enough to get rid of the spectre that is Sarah Palin. She will be with us for the foreseeable future. Unless there's a scandal out there that we don't know about. That might be more wishful thinking I'm afraid.