Friday, April 10, 2009


Nobody seems willing or ready to say it, so I have decided to break the ice: Sarah Palin cannot be President of the United States – in 2012 or any other year. Too much baggage, bad blood, bad press – take your pick. I think we knew this as soon as we saw the Katie Couric interviews, but we were all still willing to lend an ear and hear her out. We have heard her now, and we’ve witnessed the intense drama that seems to naturally surround her. Sarah can’t be the chief. No way. Here are my top five reasons:

1. Senator John McCain is unwilling to commit to giving her his full support. That is probably because he wants to see how things play out in her life, and right now there are a number of sideshows (political and familial) that seem to be distracting her. And the distractions are growing and multiplying. McCain emerged from the 2008 election as a statesman. Statesmen work a lifetime for that status, and why on earth would he compromise his image for Mrs. Palin?

2. Americans do not elect extremists to the office of President. Palin is increasingly revealing a disturbingly radical bent. Most recently she supported Wayne Anthony Ross for Alaska Attorney General. Good old boy Wayne Anthony – National Director of the National Rifle Association and lifelong right to lifer who calls abortion “killing kids" – is one of those off the map right wingers that sort of scare more moderate conservatives. He’s flamboyant. He’s arrogant. His Alaska license plate shows simply his initials – WAR. In the end, Americans prefer order over conflict. In our legislators, we’ll take reason over rancor any day of the week. From what is reported so far of Wayne Anthony, I see nothing more or less than Tom Delay in warmer clothes and snow boots. More significantly, he is the prototype Palin appointee. Mrs. P. cannot rule because we, the people, don’t want reckless fringe types driving the national bus.

3. Remember Troopergate? That was the case of Alaska State Trooper Mike Wooten, Palin’s brother-in-law – the one Mrs. P. tried and failed to have fired. As time goes by, Palin’s initial firm denials of any involvement in the case have become more tepid. The Alaska State Legislature publicly rebuked her. At best, Palin was dishonest. At worst, she abused her power to settle a personal, family score. Either way, Mrs. P. cannot be President because Americans saw her play fast and loose with the truth, and we would prefer someone more truthful as our leader. Moreover, we witnessed how devious she can be in her quest for public survival. We did not like it.

4. Mrs. Palin has family issues, and by issues I mean catastrophes, and by catastrophes I mean insurmountable image problems from all directions. Her own mother-in-law would not even commit to supporting her candidacy. Her husband’s sister was recently arrested for breaking and entering the same house twice. Oh, and did I mention she did so with her four-year-old daughter in tow, as the homeowner hid in the bathroom with a loaded gun. It’s all so trashy, is it not? And then there’s Sherry Johnston, Palin’s “was gonna be son-in-law’s” mother, recently arrested for felony possession and sales of OxyContin. Oh Sarah, Sarah, the company you keep. We can’t have all that riff raff in the White House. We had our Billy Carters way back in the disco era. Never again.

5. Mrs. Palin has issues with the issues, and this time, by issues I mean those elements of our culture which are critical to all of us. Palin, you will recall, charged rape victims for rape kits. She also vetoed a bill that would ban gay marriage, only to turn around and suggest the same ban should be the subject of a constitutional amendment. As it relates to young people and sex, only abstinence is up for discussion in Palin’s world. After the father of her daughter’s child appeared on the Tyra Banks show, Palin publicly accused him of “flat out lies and gross exaggeration:”

The response came so quickly to the press that one is inclined to believe it was nothing more than sheer damage control. And even then, it seemed tardy and disingenuous. The boy also claims he was living in the Palin home, sleeping with Bristol, at the same time her mother was out campaigning for abstinence. Even in the above-mentioned public statement, Palin claims, "Bristol's focus will remain on raising Tripp, completing her education, and advocating abstinence.” As late as last week Bristol Palin said abstinence is “not realistic at all.” Mrs. Palin’s stands on the issues seem a bit muddled even in her own home. Throughout the 2008 campaign we never were really clear on where Palin stood on anything other than her opposition to Barack Obama becoming President. A significant segment of the population was left feeling shaky about Sarah Palin’s knowledge of the issues.

Further, for better or for worse, Palin’s down home folksiness – which often felt contrived and unauthentic – simply does not play well in 2009 Washington – even among her fellow Republicans. This week the Senate GOP committee un-invited Palin to be the keynote speaker at a June dinner in Washington, and promptly replaced her – with Newt Gingrich. And McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain said Thursday, “I really don’t know. I’d have to see who else is on the table,” in response to a question about whether she would support Palin in 2012.

Sarah Palin is only 45 years old. She most likely has decades worth of career years before her and she may achieve some success in the public arena. But Sarah Palin brings way too much baggage to the national table to ever run the whole show.

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