the legacy of Palin on the GOP
I find it an interesting coincidence that on the day after the death of Steve Jobs, when the world is mourning the loss of a titan of innovation and business, the world is also writing another form of obituary: the death of the political career of Sarah Palin. So TRC will engage in this also.
Chris Christie is not running for president, as he repeatedly said he would not. His future remains in politics. Unlike another candidate who wasn’t a candidate and who was never going to be a candidate, but who decided to lay to bed any rumor that she would become a candidate. I am talking of course about Sarah Palin, the once-and-never face of the Republican Party. Palin has made it official: She will not join the 2012 race for the Presidency.
Here’s David Frum on Palin: Palin will never become a party elder stateswoman. Over the past three years, it became apparent to all but a handful of cultists that her only interests were money and celebrity. She had no concept of public service, and no capacity to serve even if she had wished to do so.
And Ta-Nehisi Coates: I’m left to wonder how in the world people ever saw in Sarah Palin, who showed no willingness to work, the makings of a gifted politician.
What is the legacy of Sarah Palin for the GOP? Or what will it be when she finally accepts she will be a TV personality and not a politician? I don’t know. But I do have some thoughts on the woman who never was a national politician, but got the media attention warranted by only the highest of offices.
Sarah Palin never spoke for the GOP at large. She was never going to win a national election. She did not drive a single policy or platform or issue for the national Republican Party. Sarah Palin is lazy, and does not want to do hard work to build a career or record that might show people she was serious about politics, policy, or even business or market issues. None of these are even criticisms of a life. These statements are true of 99 percent of the US population. The problem with Sarah Palin is that she made a lot of money letting people think these things were not true, when they always were.
But these are the less interesting details about Ms. Palin. It is worth thinking less about the end of the Palin as Party Statesman and Christie as a Nominee and more about the the Party after Palin and 2012 without Christie. The national Republican Party stands a turning point, as cliche as that is, and this nominating process might decide where the party’s heart will be for the next decade or so. At one end of the spectrum, in my opinion was Chris Christie, and at the other end was Sarah Palin. It seems there is a real choice between a Herman Cain or Rick Perry Presidency and a Mitt Romney or John Huntsman Presidency. The difference is not so much ideological as it is how these individuals would represent political difference to the nation; their politics aren’t terribly far apart, but how they would hold the office of the presidency might be. No one is moderate in national politics today, but some seem more likely to attempt to bridge a gap for the good of the country. Maybe.
Or maybe nobody wants to bridge gaps for the good of the country. Maybe Sarah Palin just made obvious what the rest of the political world keeps hidden. But I’m not yet pessimistic enough to believe that’s so.
Over at The Hill, there is another option for Palin’s GOP legacy. And it would be that she despises the Republican Party as much as the they despise her. So much in fact, that she could play spoiler with a 3rd party presidential run in 2012. To wit:
In short, Palin doesn’t claim loyalty to the GOP, and in fact loathes the party establishment. There’d be no greater blow she could strike to the GOP elite than to run as an independent and siphon off votes from the Republican nominee. Party bigwigs would either fawn over her, trying to coax her out of the race, or attack her mercilessly as they try to discredit her among conservative-minded voters. Either way, Palin would once again be the center of attention.
It’s not nice to tease President Obama with such prospects.