When Sarah Palin burst onto the national scene in 2008, the conservative movement thought it had a new hero. The hysterical reaction to her from the Left (including some absolutely vicious hate-filled personal attacks on her and even on her children, including her infant son) galvanized conservatives to defend her and injected some excitement into the campaign of a candidate for President that conservatives had no enthusiasm to support. Palin had a great deal of potential and a rabid fan base, but she has squandered that and made herself into a clown and a laughingstock.
It is unfortunate. Palin had a great deal of potential to be a serious force in the Republican Party, but she instead embraced fame for its own sake and confused crudeness with rational thought. Allowing herself to be photographed with someone holding an obscene sign insulting Michael Moore was the point where I finally gave up. Palin is an amusing diversion, she can motivate a crowd (when she wants to be coherent) and she is useful for illustrating how deranged some Leftists can be in their frothing hatred. But as a serious political force, her time is done.
As I said on Facebook, if Palin wants to be President then she needs to act Presidential. Even if she does not have serious plans to run for President, she should take the issues and causes she supports seriously enough to take off the clown shoes and address those issues with the seriousness and gravity those issues deserve. Serious issues need serious people to tackle them. Serious issues need serious people to advocate for good solutions and against bad ones. Unfortunately, “serious” is no longer a word I would use to describe Sarah Palin.
In fairness to Palin, she was probably not ready for prime time when McCain thrust her into the national spotlight in 2008. She was not as up to speed on issues and facts as she needed to be, and it at least appears that she was not given the support she needed to get where she needed to be. Unfortunately, she appears to be bad at taking advice, even from people who have her best interests at heart and want her to be successful. It was a combination of things that caused her to stumble, but the potential was there for her to grow into a serious advocate and political force. That potential has almost completely evaporated.
I still like Sarah Palin. What she needs to do is step out of the spotlight for a year, re-assess her image, study the issues and policy platforms of the parties and interest groups, and then come back with a determination to be a serious political commentator. She has damaged herself to the point that she may never be a serious contender for elective office (especially for the White House) but she can restore some of the respect she has lost. That will never happen as long as she is chasing fame and controversy for its own sake.