John McCain exited the 2008 Presidential race with the same grace and class that he was noted for before he got involved with Karl Rove’s proteges and Sarah Palin. He was gracious and courtly. A true gentleman. He showed more class than many of his supporters at the beginning of his speech. Only a hardened cynic wouldn’t have felt compassion, with touches of sympathy and empathy for John McCain at that point in time. The compassion John would accept, but not the sympathy or empathy.
His running mate, Sarah Palin didn’t say anything. She didn’t need to concede defeat, as she had already alluded to defeat in the waning days of the campaign. Her staff had also conceded defeat, though it is unknown who conceded first, and their reasons. There can be little doubt that Sarah was probably beyond extremely difficult to work with which could cause some to throw up their hands in defeat. In that respect, she is a maverick. She doesn’t play well with others.
Sarah is on her way back to Alaska. She previously has vowed to return for a run in 2012. To be successful in the primaries, she will have to have the backing of the Republican Party. Whether she will have that backing is an unknown this soon after the elections. Wounds must be licked. Blame must be assessed and reassessed.
Regardless of whether she will have the backing of the Republican Party, there can be little doubt that Sarah Palin will be back.
It has often been said that Alaska is 15 to 20 years behind the lower 48 States in societal standards. It was only a scant 25 years or so ago that Alaska was known as The Last Frontier. This is also a state that just re-elected the recently convicted felon Ted Stevens by a small margin to the Senate.
George Bush ran on one platform where he stated that he was a “compassionate conservative.” His record has proven to be the opposite, although in fairness it must be acknowledged that his administration did face unprecedented challenges. It must also then be noted that he surrounded himself with people who could be considered to be anything but compassionate -- Cheney, Wolfowitz, Bolton, Rumsfeld, Rove, et al.
After eight years of a an administration virtually devoid of compassion, the American people sent a clear message to the Republican party. They are tired of the way that Republicans do business. Tired of their “pit bull” attitudes and approaches to everything that they do not agree with. Americans are tired of an administration that does at it pleases without regard for the people it was elected to serve and the Constitution it was elected to protect.
The Republicans embraced Sarah Palin in the beginning. She was a fresh face, and a source of fresh energy for the McCain campaign. She could be forgiven for some of her gaffes -- but also rightfully criticized for others. Palin simply did not have the knowledge of the rest of the world, and exhibited little common sense on many issues she was confronted with.
Palin’s portrayal of a “pit bull” was no act. That is her personality. Sarah Barracuda is a nickname that she earned in high school. She has carried it with her ever since. That is how she has gotten ahead in life.
Americans are tired of people with those types of attitudes. They were ready for, and have demonstrated their desire for calm approaches without the attacks. They were ready for civility. Obama and Biden demonstrated that they could be civil. Palin, by far the worst of the McCain team demonstrated beyond a doubt that she was not capable of civility.
Palin is returning to Alaska which reveres her attitude. Hence, she will have little or no incentive to change her it, and by extension her personality. Because of her personality and her attitudes, she has lost the stature that she enjoyed briefly with the majority of Republicans. If the Republican Party were today to mount a campaign, their first choice would be Mitt Romney, whose personality is almost non-existent when compared to Palin’s.
The next 24 months will be telling for the Republican Party, and of course for Sarah Palin. If the Republican Party can get beyond blaming the economy and the lack of any terrorist attacks on America for losing the election across the board, and start encouraging civility, they may be able to begin making a comeback. To do that, they, as an organization, will have to leave Reagan in the annals of history, rather than trying to revive him, and make amends for their blind support of George Bush for six years.
What remains to be seen is whether Sarah even realizes that her personality is out of step with mainstream America, and if so, what she will do about changing it. If she can go forth with any degree of civility -- and holding out the olive branch to Obama would be a good start -- she may stand a chance. Putting lipstick on an older pit bull is much easier than teaching it not to bite.
The Old Codger has left the room.