No, Folks. Sarah Palin Does Not Have to Run.

| June 14, 2011 | 9 Replies

Tammy Bruce has a piece over at Big Government that just rubbed me wrong way this morning. She is a staunch supporter of Sarah Palin, and when I say “staunch”, I mean that she is more aggressive in protecting Sarah Palin’s interests online than anyone currently working for Palin. Well, she watched the debate last night, and some of the reactions thereto, and she’s unhappy. Very unhappy.

One of the prevailing debates in the GOP these days (if not the only one) is whether or not Governor Sarah Palin will, or should, run for president. Not only should she, she must if the GOP has any hope of having a legitimate nominee whom everyone can support for the 2012 election.

Why? Without Palin in the race a massive segment of the GOP base—Tea Party patriots and other independent conservatives—will find themselves once again with the prospect of choosing from a manipulated field of Next-In-Line GOP establishment liberals.

I tried to understand those two paragraphs, but they just don’t reflect what is really happening out there in the political world. Sure, there is a debate about whether Sarah Palin should get into the 2012 race, but it is by no means the only debate. There’s this little thing called a deficit that we on the right are trying to tackle. Paul Ryan has a plan for rebuilding Medicare that’s caused a pretty robust discussion. The economy is still staggering along and we’re talking energetically about how to fix that as well. Clearly there are other debates happening in the GOP right now. In fact, I’d bet that most folks who consider themselves Republicans — and here I’m talking about the people who will go to the polls and flip a lever for a candidate in 2012 — care a whole lot more about the results of those debates than they do about Sarah Palin’s future political career.

But even if Sarah Palin was our only concern, I’d still wonder what “manipulated field” she was talking about.

  • Does she mean Tim Pawlenty, whose resume — degree from a non-Ivy League school, high-school athlete, business experience, city and state-wide office-holder, Governor, father, parent — is similar to Palin’s?
  • Does she mean Herman Cain, who has spoken at dozens, if not hundreds, of Tea Party events over the past two years and who has never held elected office?
  • Does she mean Michele Bachmann, who has been closely involved with the Tea Parties since the beginning and who actually put political capital on the line to stand up for them to GOP leaders in Congress?

Help me out here. Which one of them is the “liberal”? Which one is the “Next-in-Line GOP establishment” type? Which one of them has less Tea Party cred? Which one of them is — and I can’t honestly believe I’m typing this — a “stalking horse” aimed by the GOP establishment at Sarah Palin?

Oh, right. I get it. None of these people can win, even though each of them has proven they can draw a crowd and/or win an election at least as well as Palin has. None of them can win because they’re all “liberals” who have been “manipulated” into running so that they…

…well, you know, I don’t know what comes next. I think Bruce’s argument is that the whole GOP primary field is just one big set-up by the Republican Party to push Mitt Romney (the “Mr. Next-In-Line” who Bruce refuses to name for reasons that absolutely do not, in any way, involve fear. No way!). This set-up, we’re to believe, includes the candidate who has no strong ties to the party apparatus and the candidate who publicly duked it out with the leaders of the party in Congress just a few months ago.

That’s simply not plausible.

For the record, I really want to see Palin in the race, officially and with her full attention. I honestly don’t know if she’d win or not. I do know that can contribute ideas, enthusiasm, and experience that would serve the country, and the Republican Party, very well right now. I believe she’d be a formidable opponent and while I’m not nearly as sure she’d win as Bruce, I do know that any candidate who beat her would be much stronger than if they hadn’t competed against her. She will be good for the conservative movement, the Tea Parties, and the GOP if she runs.

That said, she does not have to run. No one has to run for President. There is no “must” here and no “duty” to run because we are not in a situation where only one person has the ability to pull us out of our dire situation. Life is not a season of 24 and neither Sarah Palin nor Paul Ryan is Jack Bauer. There are plenty of people in this field with the executive chops, the wisdom, and the stamina to be a very good President for us. For that matter, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who are not in the race (Sarah Palin included) who would do very well.

Let us remember something very important. The President can not turn this country around single-handedly. He or she can have a great influence on the decisions Congress takes, can attack stifling regulations in the Executive Branch, and a strong President can drive the public conversation in productive ways; but no President can pass a budget, raise or lower taxes, or cut the spending we need to cut. Whatever the GOP does in 2012 will have to be a cooperative effort between the President, the House, and the Senate and we will need strong people in all of those positions and outside of government. I say that because Sarah Palin can play an important part in an American Renaissance that doesn’t involve a seat at the Resolute Desk. She can run for a Senate seat. She could use the millions she gets in PAC donations to form a think-tank or fuel dozens of new media outlets. She can continue to sift through candidates for Congress and endorse the ones she believes will do the best job for us. She has plenty of fantastic options.

But none of them enhance her personal profile, or the profiles of those who have backed her without reservation, like winning the Presidency would. Is that more useful to the whole nation? Of course it isn’t. Sarah Palin would be a strong candidate, but she is by no means the only person who could serve us well as our President and no number of conspiracy theories and rants about “establishment liberals” will change that. In fact, the strident attacks against anyone who so much as looks askance at Palin only turn people off to her and I’m fairly sure that’s not what Bruce wants.

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