Jane Chastain is a Southern California-based broadcaster, author and political commentator. Despite her present emphasis on politics, Jane always will be remembered as the nation's first female TV sportscaster, spending 17 years on the sports beat. Jane blogs at JaneChastain.com. She is a pilot who lives on a private runway.More ↓Less ↑
The GOP was the Grand Old Party. Now it’s the Gray Old Party, and no amount of Grecian Formula can hide the obvious.
Somewhere along the way, the GOP adopted an unofficial rule that says you run for office, bring home expensive pork barrel projects to your state, have a few roads and bridges named after you, campaign for others, and when you are old and gray and have enough political chits to call in, it becomes your turn to be the party’s nominee for president of the United States.
While the Democrats have brought in charismatic newcomers like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the GOP has offered up senior citizens Bob Dole and John McCain. George W. Bush was the notable exception, but “junior” was able to piggyback on Bush-the-older’s coattails. Bush 41 didn’t get his second term so it was still “technically” his turn.
Under this formula, there is no room for fresh new faces with good ideas. In fact, you can have bad ideas or no ideas and the party will cover for you. If you keep your nose clean, show up in the right places and shake enough hands, you are in line for this position. If you run for president but don’t make it, you get extra points and move up a couple of spaces. If you become the vice president, you go to the top of the list. This is how it works.
John McCain threw in a wildcard by selecting Sarah Palin to be his vice president. The energetic young governor from Alaska turned the political landscape upside down. If McCain hadn’t been such an unbelievably bad candidate, if he had taken his Geritol and not slept through his debates, if he had taken ginkgo biloba so he could have memorized a few new lines, Barack Obama likely would still be the junior senator from Illinois.
As the primary progressed, the McCain campaigned soaked up all the leftover staffers from the other campaigns. These campaign workers were biding their time until 2012. Then it would be their candidates “turn” to get the nomination. They were not about to let this upstart from Alaska get in the way, so some “leaked” information to the media to ensure her demise. Stories are still being printed using these “unnamed” sources from the McCain campaign that paint Palin as a dummy, kook or demanding prima donna. Rubbish!
Now the Republican Party elite has focused on doing what these disgruntled staffers and the left-wing media tried to do but could not – bury Palin.
Why is she so misunderstood, if not outright hated by the party establishment?
She is not a political animal.
She doesn’t play by the old rules.
She has not been to the right parties.
She doesn’t bow down to party “insiders.”
She is a true outsider and unpredictable.
She can’t be counted on to cover for party members who are spending too much or doing too little.
It is not her turn.
Let’s be clear about one thing. Resigning as governor of Alaska was not a smart political move. She didn’t do it for political reasons. She did it because it was in the best interest of her state. When is the last time a politician did something – on purpose– that was not in his or her best interest?
Sarah Palin is not a politician. She is a statesman. Statesmen are an endangered species. It’s been so long since we’ve seen any, we can’t identify them anymore.
Palin fought corruption in her own party and was the darling of the Democrats in Alaska until she became a national figure. Now they fear her, so they have jumped on the “bury Sarah” bandwagon. Surprise! Surprise!
Sarah Palin didn’t set out to become the mayor of Wasilla or the governor of Alaska because she wanted those jobs. She became mayor and then governor because there was a need. There was no one else available to fill that need, so she answered the call.
The last thing we need is another politician who will say or do anything because he or she simply wants to be the president. Been there, done that.
I think it’s pretty clear that Sarah Palin doesn’t really want to be president. However, she understands how desperately this country needs reform and, if no one else is available who can get the job done, she likely will take off her apron, put down her hunting rifle, dust herself off and run for the office.
One thing is sure. She will have to climb over the GOP establishment before she gets to the White House.