How Sarah Palin Can Get Her Groove Back…
When one looks at the current field of presidential candidates, one can’t help but wonder if former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is regretting her decision to not throw her hat into this nominating cycle. But chances are, Palin thought long and hard about a potential campaign, looked at all of the data and decided that it was not her time herself to be a candidate for president. Despite Palin’s views on polling (which I agree with by the way), her polling, no matter what way you slice it, was terrible. And I think the stat that probably really sat Palin down to think about it was the over 50% of people who said they would definitely never even consider voting for her for president. As great a potential candidate she was and is (and make no mistake about it, she would be incredible), when you’re running for president, you come under EXTRA scrutiny, sometimes that can make someone appear resilient and help them gain popularity as it did with Hillary Clinton, other times though it undo them as it has with Newt Gingrich, who will have to repair his great legacy in the conservative movement if he has to drop out of the presidential race.
While you would think that would have given Palin a lease on life to venture and try other things, it hasn’t really. She’s tried pitching other TV Series about her family, including one that would have followed her husband Todd during the Iron Dog Snow Machine race, only to get rejected. Her 2012 endorsement has been all but squandered as she’s offered three non-endorsement endorsements to Newt Gingrich to little fan-fare (I’m sure Newt is really happy about that). Palin was the hottest property for people to get their hands on prior to this year, her books sold like hot cakes and her endorsement gold to any candidate lucky to receive it.
So what happened? I think the breakdown in Palin’s career can be tied back to one word: abstinence. No, not THAT abstinence, but abstaining from leadership. When Palin spoke about the Tea Party, she would constantly note that the “tea party didn’t have a leader” and that she “didn’t need a title to make a difference.” But I would say to Palin that the success of any movement goes back to its leadership and if there is no leadership, what happens to the movement? The fact of the matter is this: the tea party is not the force it was in 2010, and part of that is because no one was willing to step up and lead it on a national level. Palin would have been the most natural fit. Even if she had not decided to run for president, had she decided to take leadership of a movement that was happy to give it to her, I guarantee you, tea party leaders would not be going around saying, “the tea party as we knew it is dead.” Secondly, on the business of “I don’t need a title to make a difference.” It’s true, she doesn’t, but I would point out that someone will get said title and WILL make a difference for better or for worse.
If the tea party has come to an end (and I have a hard time believing that), there is an opportunity for Palin to fulfill. You see whoever gets the nomination at this point, Romney, Gingrich, Santorum or Paul, may be conservative in some ways and most may be sufficiently conservative, but none of them is a conservative in the spirit of Ronald Reagan. As people supporting the least conservative of the candidates love to point out, Reagan was not a purist in the sense that he always made conservative decisions. Reagan lived his life as a conservative.
Many have pointed out that Palin is similar to Reagan in this way. She doesn’t always choose “conservative” policies, but she lives her life as a conservative, her instincts and her guts are conservative. The conservative movement is looking for a leader, someone who, like Reagan exudes conservatism. Regardless of what happens in this election, should Palin look for a place to get her groove back, why not take to YouTube and explain conservatism, explain the importance of the Declaration of the Independence and the Constitution. Explain the importance of American exceptionalism and what it means to be an American. We have a serious education problem in the conservative movement if this is all we’re left with.
Regardless of whether or not she ever becomes President, Palin can made a difference by taking leadership of a movement in desperate search of a leader.