Conservatives greatly admire Sarah Palin. They know she will be one of the most important figures in the conservative movement, the Republican party and the nation over next 25 years. She probably will be president someday. She is bold. She has called the liberal media in Alaska “corrupt bastards”. Awesome. She has declared that “the GOP is through” if it does not accommodate conservatives. Wonderful. She picked many winners in the Tuesday election. Amazing.
And with the super-successful 2010 election behind them, Republicans now are focused on the presidency in 2012. And to Palin conservatives should say in unison, “Please do not run in 2012.”
This is not to say that Palin should never be president. What this means is that Palin is so young – only 46 – and has so many roles to play that it is not in her best interest to run in 2012.
Politics is like fine wine and a candidate should always avoid seeking office at too young an age, before their vintage has mellowed. Like many endeavors, youth often means folly. Good things come to those who wait, says the old adage. Patience. Because young people often fumble under pressure and ruin not only their own legacy, but their party’s legacy as well. Consider Obama.
Presidents in their 40s have not done well. Despite all the media sycophancy, JFK was a mediocre leader who started us down the disastrous path of Vietnam. Bill Clinton was handed peace and prosperity but then got caught up in the Lewinsky scandal and impeachment that badly marred his tenure. Obama is simply a young radical who is bringing down the entire Democrat party and the nation, for instance, calling his fellow Americans “enemies” indiscriminately.
In contrast, Ronald Reagan became president at age 69 and made few mistakes. His legacy is like concrete. And one of the main reasons for his success is that his age gave him time to gain the kind of stature and wisdom that helped him to build a bulletproof administration.
Word is now circulating that GOP bigwigs are already worrying about their ‘Sarah Problem’, that unnamed sources are talking about how to keep Palin from getting the nomination in 2012 under the assumption that A) many Republicans do not like her conservatism; and B) the Ancient Media will ruin her and Obama will beat her. Because these media indeed have it out for Palin just like they did for Reagan.
Yet just two years ago, Republicans had a damned shallow bench. McCain was old and awful. Huckabee was too wimpy, trying to always be Mr. Nice Guy. Romney was an off-putting, plastic politician who was disliked even by his fellow candidates. Giuliani choked badly in 2008. The party looked like a good football team that hadn’t practiced.
Palin is the single figure in the 2008 election who stuck to her conservative principles. She has not stood up for gays or abortion like Giuliani has. She has not instituted state health insurance like Romney. She did not commute the sentence of a criminal in state prison who then went on to kill four police officers as Huckabee did. She has not taken political positions all over the map like McCain has.
So why should she not feel entitled to enter the 2012 race?
She should feel entitled. But that does not mean that she should run. Because like an artist working on a canvas, Palin should wait for her image to clarify itself out of the brushstrokes to the point where she can be a good president or a great one, not just an average president or even a bad president.
Now look at the GOP leaders who have emerged or re-emerged since 2008, who would make very good presidents – a strong, opinionated Giuliani who won’t make the same mistakes in 2012 as he did back then; Romney has written a book that reads like Reagan; Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty has come out swinging hard; while representative Mike Pence of Indiana looks and sounds like a rational president should.
Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is a new intellectual light for the party; Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal has recovered nicely from his disastrous 2009 State of the Union rebuttal with strong leadership over the Gulf oil spill; Jeb Bush is now coming out from under the dark spell of his brother George W, who himself is looking more rehabilitated every day; governor Jim Douglas of Vermont is a fine figure known for strong leadership in a very Blue state; and Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx, is a very interesting private-sector guy who could run the nation like he runs his superb business.
There are others like Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, Mississippi governor Haley Barbour and Texas governor Rick Perry. The GOP now looks supremely strong in contrast to the Democrats who now appear weak and disorganized just two short years after Obama’s resounding victory.
And the Democrats also have Obama with his terrible record not only of political missteps and leftist overreaching but ongoing gaffes like saying that America can absorb another terrorist attack. So the time is ripe for Phase Two of Conservative Rebound, which started in 2009 and continued with an awesome mid-term election.
This rebound relies, however, on the GOP standing strong and sticking to principle, which is what the Tea Parties are all about. But conservatives and the Republican Establishment have often been at loggerheads. Until, that is, a good candidate starts sounding like Ronald Reagan which most already are. Because they know where victory and success lie. And the party bosses will then see the wisdom in the conservative ideas they appear to be seeking distance from today.
As long, apparently, as those ideas are not being expressed by Sarah Palin. And she indeed is mulling the presidency, saying recently on Fox News Sunday:
“I don’t need to run for office… I know that I don’t need a title. In fact, I love the freedom that I have that I can sit here and I can tell you anything I want to tell you and not have to worry so much how it will affect my future political career…I love the position that I’m in now. I would weigh that, the freedom that I have now, against those constraints you would have as a candidate… The country is worth it, though, to make those sacrifices… If the country needed me … I would be willing to make the sacrifices, if need be, for America.” (end of excerpt)
Gee, that sure sounds like she is thinking of running. And who could blame her. The aphrodisiac of that kind of power must be utterly exhilarating.
But then again, the media would do everything in their power to smear her if she ran. And if she runs and is defeated – and that would result largely from relentless media attacks – she would be finished in national politics with many “I told you so’s” emanating from every quarter and among many angry Republicans. Her reputation in the party would be destroyed.
On a preview episode of Sarah Palin’s Alaska, a TV show featuring the former governor and her family showcasing her wonderful state, she seemed at ease hiking and canoeing and being with her family, talking about the outdoors lifestyle she loves “not in some stuffy office”.
So maybe life is good for Palin for now and she should not mess with it. Enjoy! Go with the flow.
And don’t push your luck…
And that “stuffy office” surely does not include the “Oval Office”.
Sarah Palin has a long life ahead of her. She has everything – a wonderful family, a certainty of principle, a national reputation, beauty, poise and political courage. But she still is relatively new on the American scene and should see her ambitions in light of a longer time line. Other GOP candidates like Giuliani, Romney, Daniels and Pawlenty are in their 50s and 60s and only now are seeking or may be seeking the highest office in the land, the most powerful on earth. It is an office worth waiting for.
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can read excerpts from my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.