Jindal played it smart to stay away from McCain. I also think, however, that Palin played it smart by taking the gig. There is no way given her gender and the remoteness of
Alaska that she could have ever generated this much buzz on her own. She became a household name at no cost to her.
She was probably partly happy that she last b/c she knew that a McLame presidency would tarnish her forever. She can remake herself in 4 years.
all things considered, from her pov she did the right thing.
When she was picked, I’d say McCain had around a 40% chance of winning and by the middle of Sept , after the convention and before the Lehman Bros collapse and the Fannie/Freddie/AIG collapse began the worst 6 weeks of economic news and market behavior in 80 years they probably had around a 50-50 shot, or even slightly better.
If McCain won she was 100% guaranteed to be the first woman presidential nominee in 2012 and even had a decent shot of beoming the becoming the first woman President, and ergo most famous and powerful woman in US political and possibly world history, if something happened to him between now and then(given his age, a better possibility than most). All that without having to raise any money, go through any primaries, any of the rigorous and endless process of runnnig a yr+ campaign to get the nomination, doing hundreds of events and legwork in small states and villages and towns, running gauntlets left and right, 20+ debates, etc... All just by saying yes and running a two month campaign where all the legwork had already been done for her. No one would turn that down.
In any attempt at natl office if she didn’t accept the offer, as a woman and gov of remote AK she’d be a huge, huge underdog at best and a mere novelty act at worst. Especially in a GOP that is still very establishment and rewards the next guy in line, is big on family legacies and war hero/cinc tough guys, and doesn’t really do underdogs and insurgents. She’d basically have to start from nothing.
Now she has all the advantages she wouldnt have had otherwise. Add in McCain’s organization and contacts and fundraisers and state party people and field workers and DC/Congress connections, and email lists, and all the other parts of his campaign that she undoubtedly has first dibs on and the best shot of picking up. There’s no other way any of that would eve be possible. Guys spend years putting that together. They spend years getting name ID and connecting with the base and building support. Look at Romney. He spent over a year and still couldn’t get it all the way done. Huckabee camped out in IA and had no room for any other states. Fred saw how difficult it was to just wing it, even when much of the establishment is behind you. She put herself in a position that she could never have dreamed of otherwise.
If McCain picked another VP and won, they’d be the nominee in 2012 and the future of the party.
If McCain picked another VP and lost, that VP would still have a huge leg up in 2012 or 2016, unless he picked a Lieberman or Ridge who would never be a serious candidate.
But in that case Romney and Huckabee would be the clear frontrunners and have tons of money and name ID and connections and 4 years to plan. Others like Pawlenty and Jindal and whoever would also be in the mix. She’d be a longshot with no name ID, no money, no support, etc...
Also, Obama has a very good chance at getting reelected so 2012 is a long shot at best. The economy is likely to turn around and he’ll get the credit just like Clinton in 96, we’ll be out of Iraq so people will feel good, Obama will have the media cobering for him 1000%. If you thouhgt it was bad during the campaign, just wait. He’ll have even more gobs of cash to spend in 2012 as well. The next couple of election cycles could get worse for the party before it gets better.
So 2016 is probably the next best chance for the GOP. Unless Obama pulls a Carter and totally screws up beyond all comprehension.
By 2016 though, Palin is 52, will be 2 yrs out of the Governorship, if she’s releected and that’s never a guarantee, will have an 8 yr old Downs child with all that entails(much more difficult than a 5 month old as symptoms and problems haven’t manifested themselves yet), and will be totally unknown on the national stage as fmr Gov of some state no one cares about that’s far away from everything. She’d have no foreign policy, natl security or military exp, no business background, no real exp at all on the natl level in any way. She’d have little to no fundraising, recognition, campaign staff and insiders who know what you have to do, establishment backing, etc... Her chances at the nomination would be zero.
She’s young enough that she still has plenty of time, Reagan was 69 in 1980, 65 when he ran in 76, 55 when he was elected Gov of CA. Palin won’t be 55 until 2019, 65 until 2029, 69 until 2033. But age is more of a problem for a woman, especially one who’s looks are an asset to her. But she’d still really have no way to get a natl profile. Reagan was already a nat’l star for 20+ years before he ever set foot in politics and Gov of CA is as big as it gets outside of the WH. And even he ran 2 failed attempts in 68 and 76 before he got the nom. HW Bush lost in 80 and had to wait until 88. Dole had to wait forever. Look at McCain. W only got in on the first go round because he was Bush’s son and the whole party was behind him from the jump. Not happening with Palin. As Gov of AK it’d be very difficult for her to break through. It’s not like Obama where the media was going to get on the bandwagon from the beginning and basically spend 4 years shoving him down the public’s throat.
And who knows what things look like in 2012 or 2016 or beyond anyway? Who knows what issues matter, what the landscape looks like, whether Obama and the dem Congress has ushered in some new Dem era like the GOP did starting in 68. Who knows what her family or personal situation is like? What happened to her popularity as Gov or the rest of her term?
Basically, if she had natl aspirations, and its clear she did, the chance to be McCain’s VP and be groomed and set up as his heir apparent and nominee in waiting for 2012, when at the time she was picked and decided to accept he had close to a 50% shot at winning, was an opportunity no one in her situation would really pass on.
While she didn’t win, in the end, it was still the best shot she had and would ever have to get on the scene and really have a go at the WH. If the economic collapse doesn’t happen who knows what would have happened and they may well have won. She had no way of knowing that would take place of course. I think if the economy had stayed the same from 9/15 on, McCain would have won. So from her POV and given everything she knew and was facing, the opportunity to be VP and a surefire Presidential nominee in 2012 or 2016(and possible P if something happened to McCain) was really a once in a lifetime chance and the best opportunity she’d have for any future plans. Even if she did lose, she’d have 100% name ID and be in a position that would be impossible for her to attain otherwise. She’s a no doubt about it leader in the party and natl figure where on Aug 28th, no one but a people in Alaska and some bloggers and pundits even knew who she was.
As for the future 4 or 8 years is a very long time. On Nov 10, 2004, conservatives and Republicans were crowing about the new GOP majority and how Bush was the new McKinley and we’d rule the WH for the next generation. The dems were in the dumps and in tears. Little did we know or expect what 2006 and 2008 had in store for us. Nixon was pronounced dead and buried in Nov 62(remember “you won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore”). Reagan was finished after he lost to Ford. In Nov 1994 Bill Clinton was a dead man walking. In Nov 2006 Hillary was 200% assured of being the nominee. You think Joe Biden ever thought in Feb he’d be in the WH that time next year? He just got less than 1% in IA. Obama was 30 pts behind nationally as late as Thanksgiving, 2007. FDR was the VP on the ticket that suffered the biggest landslide loss in US history and 12 years later he’s elected in a landslide and becomes the most powerful and longest serving President ever. Lots of things can happen in politics. But the stuff Palin has gained from this is priceless and really would have been impossible to in any other way.
And even if she doesn’t have any future plans or for whatever reason it doesn’t work out for, it was still an experience of a lifetime and one that no Republican or conservative woman has ever had. For two months she was the most famous woman in the world, traveled the country, was part of the top story of the year, was able to connect with millions of voters and conservatives and republicans and women nationwide. For a pro life, pro gun girl from Wasilla, Alaska(a town no one in the lower 48 had ever heard of before Aug 29th) who’s issued Reagan proclamations each of the last two years on February 6th, I doubt she has many regrets.