Sarah Palin undoubtedly has an idea of the types of things a potential president should be doing, and what one should avoid. Palin’s behaviour is undignified and un-presidential, whether she is attacking her former political aides or starring in a reality TV show. Indeed, ever since Palin entered the national spotlight in 2008, her behaviour has seemed less and less like that of someone who will seek the presidency.
Palin has shunned any experiences that would make her a stronger candidate in the future. Despite specifically accusing Barack Obama of being a spotlight-seeking celeb in 2008, this is exactly what Palin has gleefully become. She is pleased to be a household name and face, with the media hanging on her every Tweet. Understandably, she prefers this to seeking a demanding job that she isn’t capable of performing. Instead, Palin snipes at Obama from the sidelines, makes speeches where the speaking fee and conservative adulation she receives are equally high, and writes books whose intellectual content make Garfield comics look like Dostoyevsky.
Crucially, it’s Palin’s constant 2012-tease-a-thon that permits her to enjoy such celebrity in the first place. It’s to her enormous advantage to continually capitalize on the media and public fascination that comes from her will-she-won’t-she dance. It’s unlikely millions would tune in to her show or buy her books if they didn’t fancy themselves glimpsing a potential president, rather than a washed-up beauty pageant contestant/failed governor/losing vice-presidential candidate who likes to hear herself talk. As long as Palin continues to tease, she’s winning more money, power, and fame.
Palin probably knows she cannot win. Even if she does not personally believe this, any political strategist with an ounce of credibility Palin inevitably consults will have to explain what her honest chances are. In 2010, anywhere from 52 per cent to 71 per cent of Americans viewed Palin as presently unqualified to serve as president. The consultant would also hint that the remedy to this perception lies more in gaining executive experience than in gaining Twitter followers. Sadly, Palin’s omnipresence drives a wedge between sections of the country as she relishes her role as the ultimate divider, slicing the United States into the “Real America,” and everyone else.
Furthermore, the traditional Republican establishment’s underlying opposition to her candidacy should give Palin pause. While many top Republicans are polite when asked to comment on Palin, a growing number are less reserved. It shouldn’t be taken lightly that Barbara Bush suggested Palin “stay in Alaska.”
It’s unlikely Palin is delusional enough to believe she can win in 2012. In the absence of any serious governing experience or accomplishments, Palin is essentially famous for doing nothing, finding herself in the worthy company of Paris Hilton, the cast of Jersey Shore, and that guy on YouTube who can fart out of his ear. Of course, there is the off-chance that Palin truly is illogical and hopes to soon launch a presidential bid. If this is the case, don’t be surprised if you see Barack Obama fist pumping on the White House lawn.
Jacob Kanter is a U2 political science and history student. He can be reached at [email protected]