It’s time to fold the tent once and for all on the traveling circus that is Sarah Palin Inc. and end all illusions the Tea Party Leadership Fund and others cherish about any ambitions — real or pretend — she might have for state or national office.
Our latest check of the news wires didn’t have an announcement from the former governor about whether she’ll run against Democratic incumbent Mark Begich for a U.S. Senate seat. On Aug. 23 she told Fox News the door was “open.”
Decisions are hard.
Palin didn’t seem to have trouble making decisions back when she was our elected governor — and a fairly good one at that.
She took hold of spending her first year on the job, penciling-out line items in a big budget. She helped to temporarily cut the cost of fuel when the prices rose crushingly high by working to suspend an 8-cent-per-gallon state tax for a year, and got the Legislature to send a $1,200 energy rebate to qualifying Alaska residents.
She was the kind of governor who, even though she seemed to hate it here in Juneau and took an allowance to camp in her compound on a lake in Wasilla, we could have trusted to fight for Alaska’s best interests.
She did lead the ultimately disastrous and Quixotic bid to save Southcentral Alaska’s dairy industry, but one might chalk that up to inexperience, poor execution and maybe some bad advice from whomever was standing in for Sancho Panza.
But that Sarah Palin, the effective one who didn’t always speak in polarizing, money-raising sound bites, changed in the harsh spotlight of a national presidential campaign. The Palin they sent back to us was not happy just being governor. Then she quit her day job in Juneau/Wasilla and Fox News built a studio for her so she wouldn’t have to commute. You know what happened next to our unemployed former leader, it was a downward spiral. She got hooked on fame and political influence.
The next thing we know she’s clowning around with another reality show mom and shooting caribou with her dad on “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.”
Sarah Palin was a good governor, for an inexperienced former Wasilla city official in her first term. She was a terrible choice for vice president — she lacked polish, experience with national politics and a very basic knowledge of statesmanship and world affairs.
Sarah Palin is not in the same league as distinguished governors who have risen to the presidency. She is not Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, or Jimmy Carter. They all served full gubernatorial terms, for one thing. Reagan, a movie star with a BA in economics and sociology, was politically active before becoming a Republican California governor, and had been president of the Screen Actor’s Guild. Clinton, a former Arkansas governor and state attorney general, was a self-made scholar who studied at Georgetown, and Yale, and at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Carter left a distinguished naval career as a submariner with the rank of lieutenant to take over his late father’s businesses and carve out a business career on his own. He was involved in local politics before becoming a state senator and later governor.
Sarah Palin, politically, is fresh out of junior high and acting out in awkward ways, such as when she hopped on the back of a Harley in 2011 to start a bus tour of the East Coast, and when she starred in her own short-lived reality show.
Palin’s future seems to be limited to raising and doling-out PAC money. It’s time to let the fantasy go that she will step up to the plate again, unless the plate is on a table at a conservative fund raising event.
Or, it’s time for her to jump in the race and make a run for senate. The Tea Party Leadership Fund — and every editorial cartoonist and late-night comedian in the country — eagerly await her decision.