I don’t know if Sarah Palin intends to run for president in 2012.
Certainly, resigning her job as Alaska’s governor is a politically unconventional way of doing it.
But whereas pundits have now almost uniformly written her off, 70 percent in a new USA Today/Gallup poll say Palin’s resignation has “no effect” on their opinion of her. Of the remainder, 9 percent say they now see her “more favorably” and 17 percent “less favorably.”
Moreover, in the same poll, 43 percent (and 72 percent of Republicans) say they would be at least “somewhat likely” to vote for her if she runs in 2012.
It has got to gall the many political geniuses – the journalists, consultants, bloggers, academics – that so many at America’s grass roots refuse to see what is so obvious to them.
Surely everyone, they think, should understand, as do they, that Palin is a vacuous shooting star whose selection by John McCain as his running mate showed nothing except McCain’s questionable judgment.
But we’re still left with the fact that fresh out of the Republican convention, with Sarah Palin on board, the Republican ticket moved out front. They were in the lead.
Then, of course, McCain showed his mettle to the many around the country looking for a Republican leader who actually believes that government is the problem, by suspending his campaign to go back to Washington to talk to politicians about a government stimulus package. That was the end.
Now John McCain and Sarah Palin have moved in very different directions.
McCain has shown what a maverick he truly is by announcing that at the age of 72, after leading his party to defeat, he’ll run for yet another six-year term in the Senate.
And Sarah Palin, at age 45, has announced she’s resigning her job as governor.
More astounding than Governor Palin’s audacious move is the fact that her political base appears unfazed. It appears as strong as when the McCain-Palin ticket surged into the lead after the convention.
So why, after Palin has partaken in what is supposedly forbidden political fruit, do so many not readily grasp that her death sentence is pre-ordained?
Pundits live in the world of the conventional. They assume if you know what happened yesterday, you can predict tomorrow.
But life is art, not science, and freedom is about enabling the inconceivable. It’s where principles, faith and courage depart from expertise and analysis.
Reagan’s experts didn’t want him to speak those historic words in Berlin – “tear down this wall.” The words stayed in the speech because of Reagan.
Reagan himself drew derision from the media and the pundits, not unlike what Sarah Palin gets. Even though he served two terms as California’s governor, he still was an ex-actor who went to Eureka College. How could he be president?
But grass-roots America heard him. As they do Sarah Palin.
American entrepreneurship – whether in business or politics – is always unconventional. The experts then step up and write how-to books after entrepreneurs break the mold.
These are not usual times. Many, legitimately so, are deeply concerned for the future of this country. It’s more than the latest economic statistics. It’s knowing that what will drive the future is freedom and values, and both are disappearing.
Genuineness and conviction are more critical in these challenging times than resumes and appearances.
So stepping down from a job in which you are no longer realizing your ideals to reconnect with family and self is not necessarily political suicide. But doing what everyone says you are supposed to do, compromising your values and letting pundits and experts run your life is.
So far, Sarah Palin’s audacity of the unconventional is playing just fine.