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I originally drafted this post earlier in the week to address the five reasons why Sarah Palin is not the future of the GOP. I then held off because of the onslaught of attacks she has since received from within her own Party.
Granted, Palin didn't belong on a national ticket - but she didn't put herself there. T'was the Powers That Be who did that. Ultimately, the blame for her position and actions on the ticket falls squarely at the feet of those who put her there. As I mentioned earlier this week in this post, I do think that Palin was part of the reason that the ticket lost - but she was not the sole reason for the loss.
Since then, there have been numerous reports of GOP insiders pinning the loss on her, "throwing her under the bus" as the phrase goes. Even Fox News got in on the action. A recent post on ABC News goes into detail about the problems with Palin and the McCain campaign. Remember the cries of sexism the Republicans said about Democrats and the treatment of Hillary Clinton during the nomination period? All of that pales in comparison to what's going on now.
This onslaught is bass ackwards (as the phrase goes). Ultimately it was the Party that failed - not the runningmate.
Because the surest way to keep a runningmate from "going rogue" or going on shopping sprees is to put staff around the people who will manage them appropriately. Even if the candidate has a tendency to deviate from the message or the objectives, a strong managerial staff can bring that person back. Presidential campaigns are not about the running mates - they are about the nominee. This was a failure on the part of McCain's leadership team. Scapegoating Palin only makes the advisors look even worse.
As for Palin's future...
The slow death of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens' career could also be the slow revival of Sarah Palin's. Because though he may pull out a win in the still-to-be-determined US Senate race there, his recent felony convictions could cause Stevens to get booted from the chamber much in the same way Bob Packwood was forced to resign in 1995. This would create a vacancy in the Senate in which Palin could run and likely win.
Palin's faults are well known, she's shown a penchant to be naive and boasts an intellectual capacity that only rivals that of George W. Bush.
The thing that Palin has going for her the most is that she is likeable. She's a much better face for the right wing than the likes of Ann Coulter. The main difference is that, even though her conservative positions are outdated and wrong for America, it's hard to argue against the notion that Palin is actually a nice person.
She's also most most popular export to come from that state since Jewel and the Alaska Pipeline. So while naitonal Republicans are in a tizzy blaming her for the lousy campaign they ran this year, they aren't likely to lift a finger to help her win any potential run for the Senate. But, being the maverick and Alaskan favorite daughter that she is - she may not need it.
Her name recognition is high back home, and she's brought a lot of attention to the state. Clearly she's popular there and it's likely the voters of that state are going to want to keep her around a bit. And if Democrats couldn't beat a politically-dead Stevens, then there probably isn't a candidate who can mount a credible challenge to Palin in a special election to the Senate (the better prize for Dems in that state may be the Governor's office anyway).
There could also be a future for Palin in broadcasting, or even as a two-term Governor of Alaska. But let's get real: she will not be the standard-bearer for the GOP's presidential ticket in 2012.
Ultimately, Sarah Palin is clearly not the future of the Republican Party. Yet she is likeable enough - and ambitious enough - to get past the GOP's attacks and pave a successful future of some kind.