One of the prevailing debates in the GOP these days (if not the only one) is whether or not Governor Sarah Palin will, or should, run for president. Not only should she, she must if the GOP has any hope of having a legitimate nominee whom everyone can support for the 2012 election.
Why? Without Palin in the race a massive segment of the GOP base–Tea Party patriots and other independent conservatives–will find themselves once again with the prospect of choosing from a manipulated field of Next-In-Line GOP establishment liberals.
And make no mistake–that is exactly who will prevail. Despite the desperate and not surprisingly shallow belief by the boys in control of the GOP, Palin cannot be replaced by another woman, or another Tea Party supporter, or another Brunette (no matter how much they think a Stalking Horse will split the Tea Party vote). Palin’s impact is unique, significant and deep. Her influence rests on background, experience, legitimacy and most important of all–trust. These are the reasons why Palin matters, the same reasons why the GOP machine appropriately sees her, and no one else, as an existential threat to their status quo.
Despite this, if the GOP truly wants to win 2012 (of which I’m not entirely convinced, after all, I hear Jeb Bush would love to beat Obama in 2016) they should be begging Palin to enter the race. Considering their portrayal of her, why not? Look, if you can’t beat Sarah Palin what makes you think you can beat Barack Obama? What are they so afraid of? Do they so not trust the decision-making of the American people they want to make sure you have no choice at all? Those lingering questions would eventually be answered–by an Obama victory on November 6, 2012.
Palin also has a dilemma. The decision to run is one only Palin can make, and she must know that choice is first and foremost a commitment to every voter so they can own the result of the election. No matter what happens, with so much at stake in the process, we must be able to look in the mirror and know the result is something of our doing, not a half-truth of the insecure and self-obsessed political class. This is the only way a large swath of the American populace will not abandon the process, allowing the government to maintain at least a semblance of legitimacy.
Palin must know the importance of her simply being in the arena. If she runs and is defeated for the nomination, the burden is then on the shoulders of the voters, they made the choice, not Palin, not the machine. With her in play, Reagan Republicans, conservative independents and Tea Party patriots will know their circumstances are of their doing, that the decision is truly theirs and will have no reason to resent the result or stay home on election day.
The contempt the GOP machine has for the average Republican voter is best illustrated by their other Big Fear–Palin does win the nomination! And why should we fear that? Well, that would be a disaster, because, uh, there’s no way she could win the general election and they have to stop that catastrophe from happening! You know, because Mr. Next-In-Line is for sure the only one who can beat Obama. Just like in 2008. Or something.
The truth of the matter is quite the opposite. They fear a Palin nomination because they know if she wins the GOP nod, she wins the general election. How? Consider these years of frantic and pathological attacks on Palin, all of which she has survived with the grace and dignity so void in her accusers. Now imagine what the establishment will try to do to her during the nominating process. If she wins the nomination despite what they do, it means she not only has convinced Republicans under extraordinary circumstances, she will have convinced the rest of the nation as well. If she wins the nomination with all that she will undoubtedly face during the Republican primaries, the presidency is hers.
All of America will watch to see if Republicans and conservatives are serious about saving this nation–that seriousness will be reflected in their nominee–if it’s Obama-lite–a mandate-supporting, universal healthcare-making, “the era of small government is over”-stating Big Government Conservative–why would anyone else feel compelled to abandon a cultural icon incumbent who represents those very same things?
For Sarah Palin, there is only one way for her “fundamental restoration of America” to take place–first, she must run.