It is becoming obvious that Sarah Palin is leaving the Alaska governorship in order to become the face of Republican politics. In that role, she will have to respond to Democratic initiatives with criticism and, hopefully, alternative policies. This will have her opposing healthcare reform, environmental policies designed to reduce carbon emissions, and any overtures aimed at jump-starting the peace process in the Middle East. She will fight for lower taxes, less government and a return to a strong national security policy. Sound familiar? It should.
Palin won’t stray from Republican orthodoxy because she has not closed the door to a presidential run in 2012. But just like her recent announcement about leaving her position as governor showed, there will also be plenty of surprises and improvisation in her quest for the GOP nomination. After all, when was the last time Palin acted in a conventional way? To many, this is what makes her so appealing. To most, however, it makes her an uncertain choice for 2012.
Palin will most likely continue to be the biggest draw in Republican politics, raising money for candidates in the mid terms of 2010, offering commentary on Fox News, penning a regular column pushing conservative positions, and going on a national tour to promote her upcoming book. All this will help her in the national polls and may generate legitimate enthusiasm for her prospective candidacy. It should make her a shoo-in for the nomination—but it won’t.
Put simply, Palin lacks the discipline, the concentration, the temperament, and the supporting cast for a long haul run at the presidency. She will master the basic GOP orthodoxy, but not much else. She will spend much of her time talking about herself, but this will soon be grating to voters. More stories will inevitably surface about how she is hypersensitive to criticism and more voters will begin doubting whether she is ready for the rigours of presidential politics. Finally,there will be no Karl Rove to help her focus on the big picture.
All this to say that, despite her efforts, Palin will not be the nominee in 2012.
Looking for more?
Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.