Sunday, December 27, 2009

Palin Rising by Matt Patterson

I have in the past been a skeptic of Sarah Palin. Not of her political talent, which is considerable, but of her grasp of – and even interest in – substantive policy issues.

When she abruptly resigned the governorship of Alaska on July 3rd, I wondered if she simply hadn’t the stomach for national politics. And the rambling, disjointed speech she gave that day left me wondering if she even knew why she was making such a momentous and potentially career-crippling decision.

But then a funny thing happened: In November, Mrs. Palin debuted her memoir “Going Rogue” with great sales, which was not a surprise, but also with a luminous and successful press tour, which was. The interviews she gave in promotion for her book (at least the ones that I saw) were much improved from those given during the 2008 presidential campaign. Palin seemed to speak about both herself and national issues with greater verve and confidence.

Other stars are aligning for Palin:

Several of her potential rivals for the 2012 Republican nomination find themselves suddenly, perhaps fatally, compromised by recent events.

Mitt Romney, for example, is watching the national health care debate work against his presidential ambitions, as the tortured and torturous Senate bill resembles more and more the regime he helped institute in Massachusetts – not something that will endear him to conservative primary voters enraged at Democrats’ health care offensive.

And there is Mike Huckabee, who charmed his way into a television hosting gig at FOX News after the campaign. Revelations that a man suspected of shooting and killing four police officers in Washington state had been granted clemency years ago by Huckabee, then governor of Arkansas, are widely believed to have seriously damaged his future electoral chances.

As a result, should they decide to run again both Romney and Huckabee will certainly find their respective tenures as governor under renewed and perhaps unwelcome scrutiny.

Meanwhile, Palin appears to be having a ball, trading comedic blows with William Shatner on the Tonight Show, receiving throngs of adoring fans at bookstores across the heartland, and weighing in on global warming in the pages of The Washington Post.

Could she be preparing, in a serious way, to become a serious candidate? It certainly looks that way to this amateur Palin watcher. If she can convince independent voters that she understands the issues, has thought them through and come to reasonable judgments about possible courses of action…if, if, if.

A lot of stars have yet to align for Palin’s path to the presidency to be illuminated. But that no longer seems impossible to me. In fact, I can now quite clearly imagine that someday, someone may say the words “Madam President,” to a moose-hunting mom from Alaska.

Wouldn’t that be something?

No comments:

Post a Comment