Does Palin Have a Political Future?
NRO on what comes next for the governor.


EDITOR’S NOTE: The all–Michael Jackson news networks switched gears this weekend when Alaska governor Sarah Palin announced that she is not running for reelection but will instead step down from office this month. Does Sarah Palin have a future in politics? Should she? National Review Online surveyed some political observers.

It may confound old men and spinsters in the media that a mother of five would want to stop the madness and protect her brood from the relentlessand vicious attacks by people who literally don’t know anyone like her, but, at some level, Governor Palin should be taken at her word: She’s had enough.

The advent of the blogosphere means there is not a single unexpressed thought left in America. And one would be challenged to find someone more singularly excoriated by people whose opinions, issued from poison keyboards, matter so little (except perhaps to their cats).

But, as a private citizen, Governor Palin can unbind her hands, quit swallowing hard, and respond. She can also make a boatload of money with a bestseller or two, a spot on the speaking circuit, and a steady media gig. Palin can steep herself in foreign policy, become an advocate for issues that people actually care about — like special-needs children, a cause for which savaging her would be difficult — and help a national Republican party that is in no position to turn away any volunteers, let alone one for whom thousands cheer at events.

Palin has her critics and her patrons, and she surely has earned both admiration and consternation in the past ten months. But the beating she has taken from media and blogosphere snarks is undeserved and a little tired. If she were as irrelevant as they claim, she would not be under attack. If she were as dumb as they hope, her critics wouldn’t need to spend so much time saying so.
Palin has a future in politics or public policy or both — if she wants one. That’s a broader question than the possibility of a presidential run in 2012 or beyond. If she does pursue the presidency, she’ll have to earn it, but her cost of admission to the race should be no greater, and her burden of proof no higher, than those of the other governors — or the one-term senator/community-organizers who have come before her.

Kellyanne Conway is president of a polling company, WomanTrend, and will soon be a mother of four.

Does Sarah Palin have a future in politics? Should she? Yes and yes. But before we conduct the political proctology of Governor Palin, conservatives need to take a deep breath and consider the ramifications of our naval-gazing and infighting.

The essence of modern conservatism — and its source of strength —  has been the vigilant and rigorous reform and renewal of flagging institutional governance, based on balancing maximum individual liberty with social order. That message was the catalyst for policy and political progress. To their detriment, Republicans have fallen into the Information Age’s false premise that the messenger is the message. Such a mindset is tailor-made for liberals, who have perfected the politics of personal destruction and have erected an unprecedented infrastructure for mauling conservative messengers.

Too many Republicans go weak-kneed in the face of chattering-class criticism of personalities that don’t conform to a clichéd, insular ideal of urbanity — which, not incidentally, never includes conservative Americans. Rather than defend the true superstars of message-coherence and -delivery, such as Rush Limbaugh, they jump on the trendy totalitarian bandwagon in the absurd belief that they will either be let into the club or spared its wrath.

As we have been saying for decades, elections have consequences, and we are now experiencing the scariest consequence of an election in decades. This president is reordering, at warp speed, the relationship between lawmakers and citizens; he is reshaping the role and scope of a constitutional order two centuries in the making.