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Guest Thinkers

Sarah Palin’s Never Going to Run for President

Will Sarah Palin run for president? Could she win? Garance Franke-Ruta argues that Palin’s best strategy would be to remake herself as a leader within the Republican Party. She notes that female candidates in other democracies have used own-party leadership to break through the glass ceiling and attain executive power.

Franke-Ruta acknowledges that being a party leader in a parliamentary system is very different from being a Republican Party official, or a mover and shaker within the party. For one thing, you can become Prime Minister without campaigning for the job, which is one way to circumvent the ingrained sexism of the electorate. But let’s set that issue aside for now.

If party leadership is Palin’s most viable path to the White House, we can all breathe easily. It’s too late for Sarah Palin to remake herself as the natural leader of the Republican Party. She’s not even the undisputed head of the conservative wing of the GOP. If the GOP picks its nominee based on leadership within the party, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi will blow Palin out of the water.

In order to lead a political party, as opposed to a cult of personality, you have seem like you give a damn about an institution larger than yourself.

Palin has made it clear at every step of her career that she’s out for number one. That’s a great script for reality TV, but it’s not a path to the presidency of the United States. Palin went rogue on McCain’s ticket and burned her remaining bridges in her memoir. She quit being governor of Alaska to flog her book on the lecture circuit.

I doubt Palin will ever run for office again. She clearly prefers being a celebrity without portfolio. She has to keep flirting with the possibility of running, because she knows her brand will go stale when her followers give up hope that she will hold national office. Her facebook updates are only compelling if you read them as promissory notes backed by some imagined political future. 

[Photo by Geerlingguy, Creative Commons]

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