Depending on whose side you’re on, Sarah Palin could either be the next best thing for this country or our worst fears incarnate.
Regardless, the one question that most Americans are dying to know is whether or not the former Governor of Alaska will run for President in 2012. Why should she? Answer: because she can.
Sure, she’s still a newcomer in the political mainstream, but Palin has managed to distinguish herself faster and more efficiently than any other political figure in recent memory. There’s little reason to deny it now, and it won’t even be up for discussion in the future: Sarah Palin is the new face of the GOP, the reigning Prom Queen of the Republican Party.
The proof is everywhere. Case in point, her first book, Going Rogue: An American Life. Of all first-week sales of memoirs from presidents, vice presidents and anyone who unsuccessfully ran for those offices, Sarah Palin’s is the second most successful in history (following Bill Clinton’s). According to HarperCollins, the memoir’s publisher, Going Rogue’s first-day sales were among the most successful for all nonfiction books. Did Mitt Romney’s No Apology: The Case for American Greatness gain as much attention, making him a more sought after Republican figurehead than Palin? If Romney thought so, then maybe he should apologize after all.
And while Obama’s popularity has gradually diminished since his election, Palin’s has done the opposite. In a Rasmussen poll from last November, 59% of Republicans said that they share relatively the same values as Palin. Then, in a CNN poll taken a month later, eight of 10 Republicans said they viewed Palin favorably. And most recently, a February Gallup poll found that 11% of registered Republican voters already said they would vote for Sarah Palin, even though the Alaska’s former Gov. hasn’t announced that she would run in 2012.
Ironically, it is Palin’s perceived strengths which made her a Republican icon that may cost her the 2012 election. Republicans, on one hand, see her as someone who could have been their next door neighbor—the complete opposite of “politics as usual”—while Democrats view her as too Main Street, or someone who’s simply unfit to be described as presidential.
For anyone anti-Palin, there are too many examples of why she’d be better off staying in Alaska. Foremost, there’s her interview with Katie Couric. The interview was a complete disaster for Palin. She couldn’t manage to name a single Supreme Court ruling she disagreed with (besides Roe v. Wade). And worst of all, when asked what newspapers and magazines she followed on a regular basis, Palin answered with little more than a blank, deer-in-headlights stare. All of these factors conspired to make that interview The Perfect Storm.
Then, there was the interview with Charlie Rose around the same time. When Rose asked Palin to name her favorite columnist, she said Doc Sheehan, a former writer for Runner’s World Magazine. Good grief. And interviews aside, who could forget Palin’s crib notes written on her hand, making her look like a high school freshman cheating on an algebra exam?
But wait, there’s still more. In fact, the further that Democrats and anti-Palin Americans investigate on Sarah Palin, the more fodder they find. For example, Palin’s opponents say she’s unfit to be president because it took her five years (and four schools) to earn a bachelor’s in journalism. There’s also been some grumbling over the fact that she was in the Miss Alaska Beauty Pageant, and that she’s been supposedly receiving $100,000 as a speaking fee. And finally there’s the recent stain on her political career, where she resigned as Alaska’s Governor. Why? According to Palin, it’s because she didn’t want to be “a lame duck” at the end of her term. If she were president, would she do the same?
Well, maybe Palin isn’t a Nobel Prize winner, like President Obama, but her shortcomings still won’t indefinitely destroy her chances of becoming president. How is that possible? Look as far back as our last president. George W. Bush barely graduated from Yale with a 2.35 cumulative GPA, and he flubbed so many speeches, interviews and public appearances that Wikipedia has a page solely dedicated to all of his “Bushisms”. Yet Bush, a convicted felon, went on to become a two term president. So, Sarah Palin, keep in mind what Bush said in a commencement speech at his alma mater: “To all the C students, I say, you too can be president of the United States.” Of course, the former president meant that as a joke, but he also proved that it was unfortunately very possible.
For some, Sarah Palin is the answer to all their prayers, others think she’s their worst nightmare come true. Still, the United States may one day address Ms. Palin as Ms. President.