Will the GOP save itself -- from Sarah Palin?
"Out in the streets; they call it murder!" - Ini Kamoze's "World a Reggae"
Hardly contrite over having been cynically used as a "pit bull in lipstick" unleashed by John McCain to brutally attack the American electorate's collective intelligence, and blissfully unacquainted with her viral exposure as the politically dramatic cross between Tammy Faye Bakker and some cerebrally-challenged beauty pageant runner-up, the brief introduction to the glitter of out-of-Wasilla limelight has pushed a budding demagogue into insanely hubristic flights of self-indulgent fancy.
So unwitting is she of the disastrous nature of her baby steps out of the shadows of the Alaskan wilderness into the grown up ray of the national political spotlight, Sarah Palin, Alaska's brash, yet overbearingly incompetent Republican "Thrilla from Wasilla," has found relative ease in developing a view of herself as the means to a gloriously cinematic end -- the political re-animation of the Republican Party. That's right, the same GOP that today is approaching the brink of political flat-line due, in no small measure, to Palin's emergence on its national scene less than four months ago.
You betcha, folks! Despite all this, within some segments of the GOP, the immediate post-election Palin aura glows with all the familiar aspects of logical inevitability. Of something greater than mere assumption. Of the assured expectation of wider achievements. It has radiated in the form of talk about jockeying her failed VP campaign into a successful Senate run a-la Hillary Clinton, along with some not-so-dubious utterances about a 2012 challenge of Obama.
Go figure. This sanctimoniously audacious "hockey mom" has a current political profile that more resembles Katherine Harris' than Hillary's. Yet in spite of this, she seems to take seriously the notion, promoted by her supporters, that the failed VP candidate -- whose campaign style revealed fractious rabble rousing, rather than "electrifying" inspiration to be her most formidable asset -- is currently the brightest hope for their party's now bleak future. Whatever the case, other than distancing herself from her less-conservative former running mate, it's evident that the widely acknowledged "drag" on the Republican ticket has no plans to just slink away.
Indeed just days outside of the election, Palin was spinning away from McCain while simultaneously refusing to rule out a Senate run in 2010, or a go for the presidential gold in 2012, reasoning that it would be “crazy to close a door” of potential opportunity prematurely.
"I'm like, OK, God, if there's an open door for me somewhere; this is what I always pray. I'm like, don't let me miss the open door," said Palin speaking to Greta van Susteren as though she were addressing her fellow “prayer warriors.”
Godspeed, Bible Spice. Do I wish you good luck? You betcha!
Why? Because if success is not defined as expanding the overall Republican base to include more moderates, minorities, young people, gays and women, and broadening its social agenda, but is instead viewed as Palin simply collaring her party's dwindling and rapidly-scattering base of hard-core conservatives, that success will also ultimately lead to the swift devolution of the GOP into little more than a kooky, neo-Libertarian fringe party.
It's a scenario that is not being disregarded by the cooler-headed and more pragmatic segment of the party which -- as indicated by the thinly-veiled innuendo tossed by some from among that group during the recent GOP Governor's Conference in Miami -- is terrified by this prospect.
“People mostly want to follow positive leaders; they don’t want to follow cranks,” declared Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, of Minnesota, whose state was won by Obama.
“Everyone wants to talk about personalities,” complained Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. “But for us, its: 'Where do the ideas come from?' ”
The Red State “blues”
Anyone taking the time to fully consider the social implications that underlie the 2008 electoral mash-up of what was once this country's clearly-defined Red State/Blue State boundaries, may be perplexed, if not too surprised at the inability of some segments of the GOP to appreciate the absurdity of Palin as the key to a GOP retooling that culminates in re-claiming the White House in a mere four years. To label this challenge anything other than a suicidal, ludicrously short-sighted and politically oxymoronic pipe dream would be an understatement, particularly in the current political climate.