September 24, 2010
In an interview with Rachel Maddow at MNSBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” John McCain’s daughter,Meghan, said she wondered why on the night of her father’s concession speech, Sarah Palin still lingered on stage with her father against the advice of his handlers and after everybody else had gone. It dawned on her not much later why Palin did. Meghan realized that, “for Sarah Palin, that night wasn’t the end…it was just the beginning.”
Sarah Palin and Meghan McCain:
Opposite Faces of the Republican Coin
PART I: THE SARAH PALIN PHENOMENON
Sarah Palin’s star power soared incredibly to unparalleled heights not long after President Barack Obama was installed into office in 2009. It was as if she had been there, lurking briefly in the shadows of Alaska’s enclaves, waiting for that opportune time to resurface and claim her spot in big time political arena, far and away from Wasilla where her public life began as member of the Wasilla City Council and in Fairbanks where it supposedly ended having resigned her position as governor of Alaska 17 months before her term expired.
Palin’s resignation took everyone by surprise. Many predicted a backlash in her political career. “People would remember her as a quitter,” they said. But when Palin’s book, “Going Rogue” hit the bookstores, an enthusiastic crowd of Palin fans queued for the new superstar. That began her resurgence and meteoric rise to unprecedented fame. And one by one, the Republican stalwarts lined up behind her, albeit accepting of her newfound role as a leader and a force to reckon with in the Republican Party.
Gone, too, was any memory in people’s mind of her quitting her job all so suddenly.
After “Going Rogue,” Palin was on a roll. She was all over the airwaves, in tweeter, Facebook, Fox and in rallies and conventions as one of the featured speakers, if not the keynote speaker.
She was the headliner and keynote speaker at the first National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tennessee in February this year and was reportedly paid a whopping $100,000 for it. This early and at this same convention, too, she was jabbing on the President for “apologizing for America as he spoke in other countries” and for being weak on the war on terrorism. “To win that war,’ she said, ‘we need a commander-in-chief, not a professor of law” to the great delight of her audience.
It should be noted that Palin’s fame or notoriety was partly due to her distinctive rhetoric of hyperboles and crude metaphors. This “pitbull with lipstick on” seemed to know just what words to pick that will stick. She had increasingly become bolder in her slogans and before long, the Republican conservatives have lined up behind her and swallowed the extremism of Tea Party ideologue. During the health care reform debates, Palin’s Facebook postings referred to the health care reform that would provide government funding for optional counseling on end-of-life care issues such as hospice as a “death panel” and a way of “pulling the plug on grandma.”
As the frenzy of midterm elections filled the air, the Right Wing Republicans have obviously coalesced with the Tea Party leadership of Sarah “Don’t retreat; reload” Palin and Minnesota’s Michelle “I want you armed and dangerous” Bachmann. More Republican candidates follow their daring and irresponsible political language and slogans in an effort to get the favor and support of the Tea Party movement, now touted by a few as a “transformational force in US politics.” Hence, the likes of Tea Party candidates, Joe Miller in Alaska and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, both backed up by Palin sent shockwaves to the Democrats and Republicans alike, having defeated formidable Republican-endorsed incumbent candidates.
The Palin Touch and the Reality of Today’s Republicans
The recent primaries confirmed without a shred of doubt what naysayers – Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike, couldn’t and didn’t want to admit. Sarah Palin has metamorphosed into a king maker, a genuine and undeniable force from the farthest left but a force neither the Tea Partiers nor the Republicans can claim as their own. She went against Republican endorsed incumbents like Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and publicly threw her support to neophyte and relatively unknown candidate Joe Miller and won. She did the same for Christine O’Donnell whom nobody thought could topple Republican incumbent and hugely popular Mike Castle.
And, as if to prove that she is a brand all her own, Palin went with state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte who won against Tea Party candidate Ovide Lamontagne for New Hampshire’s Republican Senate primary.
Sarah Palin sits on top of the world these days. Twenty out of thirty candidates she had endorsed won. That record is golden and it speaks volumes. The Palin brand is permanently established and it’s only 2 years away from a tempting presidential run in 2012.
Despite evidences of her political influence and strength though, Palin came in only 5th as a presidential favorite in a straw poll taken at the Values Voters Summit in Washington on September 18. She was however, the 2nd favorite VP bet, next to Indiana Representative Mike Pence who took first place both as President and as VP bets. Mike Huckabee took a close second place and Mitt Romney, a far third.
Palin’s Shot at the Presidency
Even at the height of Palin’s political strength and fame, many don’t believe she could win the presidency nor do they believe she has what it takes to become president of this country and leader of the international community. Tea Party converts and some of her so called Republican allies are nothing more than chameleons riding on her popularity and influence. Even the very person she literally made, backed up and brought out of obscure campaign and into victory, Joe Miller, avoided responding to the question “Does he think Sarah Palin is fit to become President of the country?”
As a GOP bet, can Sarah Palin win the presidency should she decide to run in 2012? There is no telling the answer to this question. Not only is it too early to say because her circumstances could still change either for better or for worse. But no one could really rule out her chances of winning should her rock star status prevail until the next presidential elections. If she continues to draw from her conservative base of highly energized voters, she could go down as the first woman president of the United States of America!
The answer to the second question, however, makes a big difference. Does she have what it takes to become president of our nation? Does she have the ability to deal intelligently and make wise decisions on critical domestic and international issues? Sure, she can surround herself with the best minds but in the end, it is she who will make the final choice. Can we sleep at night, assured that she can answer that midnight call with confidence and conviction that she has done what’s in the best interest of her country?
Sarah Palin possesses a great degree of charisma. She can charm people with her wink, smile, average Joe one-liners and that characteristic voice that seems to fall music to her audience’s ears. They are great qualities to have as a person. But none of them matter that much to a head of state whose knowledge, experience, leadership skills and strength of character are all that will matter when he or she finally gets to sit in the Oval office.