My first detailed knowledge of Sarah Palin was in early 2008 when she started appearing on some lists as a possible VP choice. Through the Summer of that year I read much about her and greatly admired what I learned. When John McCain made her his running mate I was nothing short of ecstatic. In fact as a response to her selection, that very day I sent the largest single contribution to a political campaign before or since (where I was not the candidate) .
I called my wife and alerted her to watch the press conference when Sarah was introduced. My wife loved her too. After what had been a dreary couple of years, Sarah Palin injected excitement into the conservative movement and a wet cardboard McCain campaign. We watched the speech to the GOP Convention and were thrilled. Her poise and ability were astounding under the circumstances.
We followed the campaign closely and when she debated Joe Biden and more than held her own, the emotions were not unlike those felt when watching a daughter or younger sister succeed and flourish.
It will be argued for decades what was the net effect of McCain-Palin in contrast to McCain-Pawlenty or McCain-Romney. I continue to believe that Sarah was a net positive and that she stirred the conservative base in a way that Pawlenty or Romney never would (still haven't and never will).
Amidst the sad debris of 2008 most of us assumed that Sarah Palin would be in the mix when 2012 came on the horizon. I naively assumed she would serve out her term as Alaska Governor and run for a second term. I likewise took it as a given that she would immerse herself in current events and bring on advisers who could assist her in becoming well rounded in public policy.
That task would have not been difficult. For a woman like Sarah Palin who clearly is quite intelligent, mastering the intricacies of a dozen or so of the major issues that the President of the United States must deal with, would not have been onerous. To include the basics of a few dozen lesser issues, likewise.
We all know what happened instead.
Through the past three years my feelings for Sarah Palin the person have not changed. When I see her speak I am still reminded of those heady days when she was briefly on top of the world. Were she to announce today that she is running for president she would cast me into an internal conflict like none I've had before, however my thoughts about Sarah Palin as a possible candidate for President have changed. She is not ready. Her moment has not yet arrived. She is young and has many years to learn. 2012 is not her time.
We have all seen what happened when the Democratic Party nominated someone based primarily on their ability to touch and move emotions. It would be foolish and unduly risky to repeat that mistake with a conservative.
No matter how much we admire her and wish her all the best.