Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sarah Palin in Ten Years

If the polls keep going in the direction they are, knock on wood, we won't have to endure a McCain-Palin presidency, and our country will have a fighting chance of reversing the disastrous last eight years. But even if it were to head towards a landslide outcome, it probably continue to be one of the most interesting election years all the way to November anyway. And that's due not just to Obama being the right guy at the right time, but Sarah Palin as well.

The video in Gawker's recent post Palin's Failed Cute, although intended to make democrats cringe, is in fact a compelling portrait of Palin's skills. Watching how she paved the way for the corny line of "Say it ain't so Joe" with asking Joe Biden up front if "do you mind if I call you Joe", and then getting a 1000 watt smile out of Joe Biden with it, was both canny and charming. It was using charm to win minds. And although we can poke fun of her Beauty Pageant past and her Fargo-like accent, she demonstrated an incredible degree of control and finesse over a challenging situation. That's a gift on a JFK and Bill Clinton level. And don't forget that twice now she's surprised us, in the Republican convention and the Vice Presidential debate, in far exceeding our expectations. I even lost $17 on Intrade on the Sarah Palin to Be Withdrawn as VP Candidate Nominee Before the Election prediction market.

So I'll say it, hate me for it if you will, but Sarah Palin is not only a force to be reckoned with, but maybe even a positive one. Who's to say what she'll be doing ten years from now? How do we know that this role she's playing now, of appeasing the social conservative base of the GOP, isn't just a role? Maybe in reality she's only just to the right of center. The fact that she hunts and brought a Downs syndrome child to term may be a hallmark for social conservatism, but it's not necessarily a slam dunk.

I had a conversation recently with a conservative whose voting choices are driven by taxes more than any other issue. He said: "Obama, wow, what a great guy, fantastic speaker and inspiring. I say, God Bless 'im, give that guy a job. Just don't make it President of the United States." That's what I say about Palin. I'd like to see what she's doing in ten years. I'd just rather see her do something positive with those skills than give service in an administration that would most likely wreck the US beyond repair.

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