I think Specialist and a commenter on that post were onto something.
I think Palin’s political history suggests he may be more right than anyone who says anything about her being “just a politician.” Hillary is “just a politician,” and it’s all she’s ever been. Ditto Obama. Kennedy. Romney. Ford, Jr., Tim Ryan (my parents’ Congressman, who got elected to the Ohio statehouse, is now in the US House, and has designs on statewide office), and anyone who begins running for political office in their twenties or thirties and never really considers doing anything else but staying in that position or parlaying it into a higher office, or at least some other statewide/national office they’ve not yet given a whirl.
Palin didn’t do that. You look at her background, she happened into politics and was elected governor of a non-flashy state <i>after</i> establishing herself as a mother, and with no intention (obviously) of ceasing to be a mother. She took the opportunity to be veep, but only because she was asked–did anyone seriously think she was the top candidate, or was actively seeking it?–and then returned to her duties as Gov. of Alaska because that’s what she was elected to do. While veep nominee she stuck to the horrid script she was dealt, but was herself within it–someone who honestly connected with Specialist and other real people, and not because she stopped by the plant with a crisp denim shirt and lots of cameras.
I reject the notion that she’s “just a politician.” She has been and acts like a real person with real concerns. A commenter at Specialist’s post was right: “just a politician” would have <i>stayed</i> in the governor’s mansion, let the state pay for legal fees, used her family as political football “victims” and try to parlay the governorship and the whole she-bang into the Presidency. “Just a politician” (especially a woman) would only have 1.5 children (see: Hillary, Michelle, Nan). “Just a politician” would not have started her political career on the local school board (!) as inauspiciously as she did. I don’t see her as “just a politician,” for those reasons, but also because of that gut sense of decency about her that I get. (I believe the “impending scandal” thoughts are our own national cynicism. I would be terribly upset, and, frankly, shocked to find out otherwise, especially considering the level of idiocy it would require for a woman who is already politically marked to take such a risk.)
I don’t know if this was the best thing to do (which possibly makes me unique among political junkies–someone with no strong opinion on whether Palin is brilliant or a dolt) but one thing I can say with certainty is that this was not the move of “just a politician.” This was the move of someone with a larger sense of what she thinks is right, goes with it, and doesn’t worry much about the official opinions of the Really Smart People who think differently. In that regard, she’s her own person, a real person, and not “just another politician.”
For what it’s worth, I don’t think she’ll be a POTUS candidate in 2012, focusing instead on raising her family, getting conservatives elected nationwide, and boning up on the issues (in that order, likely). But look out in 2016 (if Obama hasn’t abolished term limits and opposition parties), or 2020 if the GOP keeps its head out of its ass in 2012.
She’ll age well. In pretty much every way, methinks.