Why Sarah Palin Won’t Run

In today’s New York Times (August 24, 2011) and elsewhere there is talk once again that Sarah Palin might join the Republican race for the party’s presidential nomination.  Perhaps she see’s what the rest of us see, an ensemble of embarrassing partisan extremists and intellectual light weights.  This would seem to suit Palin well.

As much fun as it would be to see Palin add yet another layer of absurdity to the race, it isn’t likely to happen.

First of all, I believe Palin is smart enough about her best interests to steer clear of this year’s race.  She has more to lose than gain.  Her popularity is already waning.  More exposure, especially in the “lame-stream” press, will only highlight her ineptness and flaws.  More public scrutiny would only further tarnish the Palin brand.

Palin sucks up trends and profits from them more than she establishes a lead role.  Her rhetoric distills a mix of angry conservative soundbites and complaints without offering much in the way of ideas and solutions.  And this has proven to be very profitable financially for Palin.  It has made her a political celebrity.  She enjoys this.  Real politics?  Probably not so much…she quit her most important political job midstream, as everyone remembers.

Palin will avoid a serious political race simply because it is what it is:  A lot of risk and a lot of hard work.  This one-time short-term governor isn’t up to the task.  Sarah is a better whiner and complainer than campaigner.  She does not enjoy the fight.  She struggles with interviews, slips up with facts, stands glassy-eyed in debates…and does none of it with any hint of polish as her Tea Party twin, Bachmann, seems to do.  Sarah Palin wants things her way and on her schedule.  That’s it.  A race for the Republican nomination won’t cater to her comfort well.

Plus the GOP already has a whole lot of out-of-touch crazy in the race.  Backwardness is the GOP theme in recent years and with people sharing Palin’s credentials like Perry and Bachmann already enjoying a headstart…well, it just wouldn’t be that much fun for Sarah.  She might get the spotlight for a few days, but couldn’t count on much more after that.  That is not the Palin way.  She expects and demands to win popularity contests.  She prefers to choose where she will be most popular.

And don’t forget the money.  Palin’s got all she can expect with Fox News, speaking fees, and book deals.  It is hard to see her giving up that golden goose even for a short time.

The realities of a campaign for the GOP nomination won’t cater to Palin’s needs.  She’ll need to compete and — even more importantly — she’ll need to compete with competence and success.  Again, Palin isn’t up to the task.

Perhaps the most obvious reason Palin won’t go after the GOP nomination is a reason Palin understands well enough instinctively.  Very simply, she isn’t qualified to be the nominee, let alone occupy the White House.  People like Palin — e.g., Bachmann, Perry, et al — have personalities and propensities that should make anyone looking for serious leadership look elsewhere.  These are not leaders, these are self-serving opportunists.  When it comes to an intelligent grasp of serious ideas and debate, these people are flat and shallow.  Few people represent this shortcoming as well as Sarah Palin and she might be just smart enough to understand this.

Finally, if Palin were planning to run, we’d probably see more of her now.  I think we would certainly hear more about her now.  There’s no talk of a campaign staff being organized, for example.  Nothing is happening and worse for Sarah fewer people are talking about her; as her party searches for a strong and popular candidate, Chris Christie was the guy GOP leaders wanted, not Palin.

In short, a presidential race is way over Sarah Palin’s head and her abilities.  She would not stand up to the scrutiny that comes with a campaign.  Personally this would cut into her profitable personal enterprise of being Sarah Palin.  Moreover, her party doesn’t want her anyway.  Sarah won’t run.

Why not just nominate Romney and be done with it?  The debates are too predictable anyway.


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