What’s the lowest, meanest, most spiteful thing you could do to Sarah Palin? Elect her.
With remarkably little effort, Palin has achieved a magical transformation from the drudgery of elected office to the lucrative glory of life as a political celebrity. It’s good to be Sarah. First class flights, legions of fawning fans, and no accountability.
It’s a lot easier to be a celebrity than it is to do something for a living, and holding political office is a tougher than average job. People are always questioning you and you actually have to respond to them like they matter. It’s no life for a diva.
She has in her hands an opportunity to leave behind all the misery of politics while still enjoying the fame. Whether you’re an actor, an athlete, or a politician, there is a revelatory freedom that sets in when you don’t have to do your job anymore and you can still be rich. But there is a Faustian twist to her unearned fame and fortune that could still send the whole beautiful dream straight to hell.
In order to seal the deal, for the next half-decade or so Palin has to convince the public that she just might run for [insert office here] in the [insert year] election. And she will probably have to stage some convincing facsimile of a campaign at least once. All without either winning, or suffering the humiliating indignity of an authentic loss.
This is why she didn’t run for Alaska’s Senate seat. She would have faced an extremely high risk of winning, then being locked for six years in some miserable job. People would be calling all the time, and you have read stuff, and you have to answer questions that aren’t on the card. It’s horrible.
The key is to never again have her name appear on a ballot on Election Day. A gracious exit early in a primary campaign, with deference to the need to “protect party unity,” is the Holy Grail. She must carry on long enough to be taken seriously but not so long as to be taken genuinely seriously. If Republican competitors ever start to regard her as a true rival instead of a potential patron the bubble will burst.
The demonic denizens of the mainstream media are awfully cruel (why is Katie Couric so mean??), but nothing she has endured at their hands could prepare her for a real Republican primary campaign in the lower 48. She doesn’t want to stick around long enough to experience South Carolina.
If she can for the next five or six years retain her celebrity status without suffering either a win or an authentic defeat her position will be safe for life. She can evolve into a kind of political Elizabeth Taylor, always in the media eye without having to actually do anything.
From that point forward nothing could stop her. Sex scandal, divorce, DWI, cocaine, hookers, you name it, it wouldn’t matter. She could murder three or four of the family’s staff and feed them to mamma grizzlies, or even gay, Communist grizzlies. No problem. She’ll be &^%$’ing golden.
It won’t be easy to remain “politically positioned” for the next several years without getting ground up in a primary campaign or worst of all – winning something, but she is carefully positioning herself for the role. She is becoming a sort of clearing house for fundamentalist fundraising, building a cadre of endorsed candidates, and setting herself up to be a perennial kingmaker.
If she has the skill and wisdom to pull off this act, life for Sarah Palin will be pretty sweet, you betcha. What could ruin it? Pesky voters who take this act seriously are a real threat. But the worst danger? Letting her pride get the better of her.
At this point, the only thing that can destroy Sarah Palin is victory.
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