Sarah Palin’s perpetual presidential campaign continued today, as she told reporters that she thinks she represents something more than a celebrity. She represents hard working American families. She also represents ignorance and the politics of division.
Palin told reporters at the Republican Governors Association meeting that she doesn’t think that she is the future of her party, “I don’t think it’s me personally, I think it’s what I represent. Everyday hardworking American families _ a woman on the ticket perhaps represents that. It would be good for the ticket. It would be good for the party. I would be happy to get to do whatever is asked of me to help progress this nation.” Palin no more believes the above statement, than she believed that John McCain was going to win the election.
The interesting thing is that both Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana both seem to have targeted Palin. Pawlenty said today that drill baby drill is not an energy policy, while Jindal was on cable news yesterday stating his belief that the GOP needs to change, and get away from divisive social conservative politics, and return to discussing the big issues that all Americans are worried about.
Pawlenty, Jindal, and Palin all see a leadership vacuum in their party and they are battling to fill it. Palin is the bigger celebrity and whether she likes it or not, she is more famous for her shopping spree and gaffes than she is for knowledge and policy. I think Palin has bought into her own hype, and she is making a big mistake by trying to stay in the media spotlight. She is not going to be able to fix her image by giving more interviews to Fox News, Matt Lauer, and Larry King. If anything her little media blitz is going to lead to overexposure.
The best way for Palin to become a serious candidate for president in 2012 or beyond would be to go back to Alaska, learn something about policy, keep a low profile, and if Ted Stevens’ seat comes open, run for the Senate. I think her fifteen minutes of fame have long been up, so if she wants to be taken seriously, she is going to have quietly go off and get some real experience and knowledge. The biggest problem for her is that she represents the socially conservative element of the party, and as 2006 and 2008 have proven, social conservatives alone can’t win an election for the GOP.
Palin carried a negative approval rating with Independent voters for over a month of the campaign. I think that both Jindal and Pawlenty are correct in believing that if Republicans are going to get back on track, they need to start talking about policy, and expand their base. Right now, Palin can do neither, which is why she would be a terrible choice to lead the party. I don’t think it matters who comes out of this leading their party, because if Obama governs half as well as he is capable of, he will romp to a second term.