One of the bright spots–or potential bright spots–of this election is the political emergence of Sarah Palin. This happens at a time when Republicans are sorely in need of fresh perspectives and candidates who can bridge the enthusiasm gap with Democrats. I like her quite a lot, but I am also among those who want to see her learn more, prove herself more, and learn to more skillfully navigate the contemporary media environment.
With the defeat of the McCain-Palin ticket, I fear that Palin is about to disappear off the map and be swallowed up by Alaska’s political wilderness. Some might say she could go back to Alaska, serve out her term and seek reelection as governor, and then potentially announce her candidacy for the Presidency two years from now.
I disagree. I think that she should take a page from Hillary Clinton’s book and join the Senate–a job that is basically now hers if she wants it. This will give Palin the time and opportunity to become far more familiar with the myriad issues facing the federal government (something that tripped her up during this election). It will also keep her constantly in the news as a direct and high-profile opponent of the Obama administration. Her voice in the Senate could be VERY influential, and certainly would be heard from coast to coast. Every MSM reporter, despite their bias, will want to hear what Sarah has to say about every move of a President Obama. Palin could dog Obama mercilessly at every step for the next two years.
As governor of Alaska, she risks marginalization. Having that job has already given her executive experience, and she needs to maintain and build a national profile–not just hope to reenter the scene down the road on the basis of her losing VP bid.
Here’s what I suggest.
Ted Stevens has retained his Senate Seat, but he will almost certainly be expelled from the Senate in short order. As Alaska governor, Palin should appoint an interim placeholder Senator (for 90 days), and then run in a provisional election for Senator. Riding high in Alaska’s public opinion, she should easily win.
Reunited with John McCain in the US Senate, Palin should in effect serve as a kind of “shadow President” (as they do in many parliamentary systems). Palin’s voice in the US Senate would INSTANTLY command a huge amount of attention. This will not only keep her profile high in national politics, it will allow us conservatives to scrutinize her closely (without the baggage of McCain), to decide if we want her as a future leader. I envision Sarah Palin all over the Sunday talk shows for the next four years, calling out Obama, doing battle with Democrats, the MSM, and communicating conservative ideals to the American public.
I am quite serous. I really believe that Palin should announce that this is what she’s going to do. If nothing else, it would inject a dose of energy and excitement into a presently disillusioned party that’s unsure what the way forward is, and who is leading the charge. It would sure be fun to watch.