Assuming the polls hold and the McCain-Palin ticket is not successful on Nov.4, what then? After her exposure on the national stage, will Gov. Sarah Palin be content to return to Alaska and relative political obscurity?
My guess is that she’ll need something more. Something that keeps her in front of a national audience and acts as a launching pad for a run at the Senate in 2012 and another run at the White House after that.
They’ll no doubt be some rough weeks for her immediately after the election (if, in fact, she loses), for Senator McCain’s people will try and shred her to divert blame from themselves as they try to salvage their own political reputations. But by mid-2009 she should be ready to move onwards and upwards.
The 44-year-old former beauty queen and self-styled hockey mom has captured the public’s imagination in a way no politician has since Senator Barack Obama. Now I’m reading reports that producers and agents are discussing possibilities for capitalizing on her celebrity, ranging from syndicated television talk show to cable news or a radio talk show.
Ms. Palin is wildly popular with the Republican base and just as unpopular with left-leaning Americans. One can only imagine the viewership this love-hate response to her would generate. In fact, we got a taste of this from the double-digit gain in ratings her appearances on Saturday Night Live and CBS Evening News generated.
There is a problem, however. Based on the presidential campaign, Ms. Palin doesn’t seem to wear well over an extended period of time. Once her novelty faded her appeal seems to have decreased. But perhaps this is just one more indication of the ineptness of the GOP campaign.
With careful “handling,” and mentoring I’d bet Gov. Palin could maintain her popularity indefinitely. She’s tough and she’s smart, and there is some recent indication that she’s her own person.