My arch-conservative buddies at Fox (that right wing storefront masquerading as a news organization) closed the comment thread on an article by Greta asking whether Sarah Palin should run for president in 2012.
I just couldn’t let it lie. And, I am sure, Gov. Palin would appreciate a few more minutes in the limelight.
Folks, Mrs. Palin was a truly interesting sidebar to this election. While one can argue for days on end as to why McCain chose her as a running mate, and for an equally long time whether she is or is not qualified, you have to admit that she is interesting.
Gosh, her views are so far to the right that I daresay many Republicans even support them. Then there are all of the issues with “troopergate” up there in Alaska. The hubbub over her clothes and makeup. Her unending series of gaffes and questionable statements.
Hey, for bloggers it doesn’t get better. But, as I wrote in a previous post, she is not why the Republican ticket lost. And that’s not what I wanted to write about here anyway.
The question is: should she run in 2012? And the underlying question is: if so, what would it do for the Republicans’ chances?
To be sure, aside from John McCain as the nominee, not one of the other contenders got half as much press as Mrs. Palin did once she joined the ticket. (I am comparing her publicity to that of the other primary candidates prior to the primary election.) So why was that? A female? A fresh and not unattractive face? Some highly polarizing views? Her ‘folksy’ style of dialog?
So the fact that she attracts media attention is good, right? Not so sure on that one. More often it was pointing out the gaffe (Africa IS a country, isn’t it?). It was thinly veiled criticism of style of speaking. It was wondering who paid for that wardrobe. Still, a famous saying in marketing notes that “I don’t care what you call me, just call me”. Maybe the attention is good all by itself.
So is she qualified to be President of the United States? I know, I know, not even close. But let’s examine that a bit further. Our president-elect has only non-profit and legislative experience. Obama has, for example, no experience in a chief executive role where there is substantial budgetary responsibility. Mrs. Palin, while not governor of a large state, has had, nonetheless, that burden of overseeing a budget and defending expenditures.
Does being a governor prepare you for the presidency? Well, it worked for Carter. And, although he never ascended, it did for Nelson Rockefeller. Heck, Adlai Stevenson (yes, I know he didn’t win) considered himself qualified and his resume was topped with nothing more than being Attorney General of Kansas.
So maybe we are being too tough on Governor Palin in the area of qualifications. Set that aside for a minute whether you agree or not.
Here’s the root of my post: she does not represent the core of the Republican Party. She is far, far too conservative. She is in lockstep with the white, Christian, anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-environment right wing of the party. And, folks, they are the minority of Republicans. For sure, they are a vocal minority, but a minority nonetheless.
While you could read my previous post on this, basically the party of Lincoln is a party that supports pro-business policies, is fiscally conservative, believes in smaller government and a strong national defense. It is not a party that advocates legislating what adults do in their own bedrooms, nor is it a party that is ignorant of the dangers of abusing the environment, nor is it a party that wishes America to be the world’s policeman and, at times, the world’s bully.
I do not believe that Sarah Palin should run for the Republican nomination in 2012. Not because she is a woman. Not because she has some challenging personality quirks. Not because she is unqualified. But because she does not represent the right kind of Republican Party. She does not represent a party that will attract young voters, minorities, or moderates. She does not represent a Republican Party that can win a national election.
So, if the Republican Party wants to offer Americans a real alternative to the Democrats in 2012, it had better get to work on a platform that goes back to core Republican values, and, with just as much urgency, find candidates that represent those values.
Otherwise we’re really talking about candidates for 2016.