Monday, March 29, 2010

The Palin Paradox

The Palin Paradox
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
March 29, 2010

Sarah Palin is an opportunist. But then again, so were we as Republicans in 2008.

She brought the vim and vigor the pallid ticket lacked with the Bob Dole-esque candidacy of Arizona Senator John McCain – it was his turn – true in 1996, more or less so in 2008. As Republicans we reveled in Palin’s energy, good looks, real straight talk and ability to raise money and the pulse of the party rank and file wherever she campaigned. Palin drew crowds who arrived hours in advance just to ensure being in her presence.

Palin is still a crowd magnet – whether at her book signings or campaigning for other candidates. And herein lies the rub – for nearly a year and a half since she and McCain succumbed in 2008, Palin has been paradoxical in her behavior – much akin to Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde.

On the one hand Palin resigned as Alaska governor with about 18 months remaining in her term for what she called undue attention on her family distracting from her ability to devote full time and attention to her duties – so she claimed. Perhaps that was true, but before the door of the governor’s mansion hits Palin in the tuchus, she has embarked upon a book tour and myriad speaking engagements.

I have absolutely no issue with that – this is still the United States of America and we are still a capitalist society – more or less – for the time being, anyway. I don’t begrudge anyone the ability to earn as much money as possible – that’s a basic economic principle of supply and demand. As long as there is a demand for Palin, she will oblige her fans and supporters.

But Palin is being disingenuous. Palin should not say she can’t fulfill her gubernatorial obligations because of unwanted attention, or unwanted scrutiny. Being in the public eye is akin to living in a giant fishbowl – and this is a fishbowl Palin is willingly diving into, hosting a future television show. With that, Palin has lost political credibility that ought to seal her fate as a potential presidential candidate.

Quite frankly, I believe Palin had already done that with her resignation as governor. After all, one does not seek higher office not having served out the term from a prior electoral stint. Couple that with the fact that Palin is a veritable political neophyte – serving as Mayor of Wasilla and less than one term as her state’s governor – Palin could very well enter the 2012 GOP presidential race as a front runner.

She is not presidential timber – she is, however, a great party ambassador and should take to the road for as many GOP candidates as possible – she is a passionate patriot, always proud to be an American – she is a great cheerleader, and not just because of her good looks. (Make no mistake – my thought process is not rooted in sexism as I worked hard on Christine Todd Whitman’s two gubernatorial races in New Jersey, one of Ellen Sauerbrey’s races for governor of Maryland and myriad other women candidates worthy of the offices they sought.)

Palin genuinely cares about the future of this country and expresses that point well, but that does not mean she ought to be the next president. To those who would suggest that Palin has more executive experience than Barack Obama – they would be correct, but look at the disgraceful manner in which he comported himself during his short tenure in the White House as a so-called leader – with arrogance and ignoring the will of we the people. This is the same mean-spirited arrogance by which the so-called main stream media and rank and file liberals have treated Palin.

Then there’s the Palin who is clearly a face of the TEA Party movement. Yet, on Friday, March 26 Palin was in Arizona with her old pal Senator John McCain stumping for him at a reelection rally. Yes, this appearance is demonstrative of Palin’s loyalty to the man who made her a national figure, but contrary to her conservative principles and credentials. In reality, Palin should be campaigning for McCain’s primary opponent, former Congressman J.D. Hayworth – the GOP race’s real conservative.

So, with Palin, I must paraphrase Ronald Reagan – there she goes again. The picture of paradox.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

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