What is going on right now in the Republican Party are the early scenes of the 2012 campaign for the presidency with Sarah Palin as the once and future hero. Like Joan of Arc, Catherine the Great, Elizabeth Regina and, skipping four centuries of quarrelsome princes, Margaret Thatcher, the Republican Party has already decided that the governor of Alaska will rescue the GOP from its ruination.
If you scoff at Palin for president, you are likely insufficiently cynical to work on a national campaign. Eight months after the election, the governor is as natural and gifted a presidential candidate as anyone since Huey Long. The farther she stays away from Washington and the longer she pushes away those sharpies clamoring for her to raise PAC money, to prepare gray-bearded policy positions, network at the barbecues in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina (well, maybe not South Carolina right now), the more box-office irresistible she will be to the Republican primary voters. What most recommends the Palin boom is that she is now, forty months to the election, as celebrated by the GOP right wing as she is reviled by the Democratic left wing.
Rather than a blow to a career, the Purdum piece in Vanity Fair is a spectacular tribute to a force of nature that became an “ineradicable” caricature before she became a household name. Tina Fey’s talent is a walking advertisement for presidential debates to come.