Palin’s Future in the Gop.

17 11 2008

I hesitate sometimes to call the Republican Party, the G.O.P. Grand Old Party….it just doesn’t seem to fit. Old, maybe, but hardly grand these days. I continue to call it that because it’s shorter, easier to type, and if you pronounce the acronym in your head when you read it, it’s amusing. Gop. The party has given me and many others such heartburn over the last eight years, that if thinking “gop” when we read G.O.P. brings a smile, then so be it. They owe us.

I’ve been watching the Sarah Palin “Victory Tour” with much amusement. Never has a failed Vice Presidential candidate with such high negative ratings done so little for so many for so LONG after they should have been home licking their wounds.

In the great piece by Frank Rich in yesterday’s New York Times, he notes:

Palin’s manic post-election publicity tour, which may yet propel her and “the first dude” to “Dancing With the Stars,” is almost a parody of the McCain ad likening Obama to Paris and Britney. Anyone who says so is promptly called out for sexism by the P.C. police of the newly “feminist” G.O.P.

At the risk of being so reviled, let me point out that in the marathon of Palin interviews last week, the single most revealing exchange had nothing to do with her wardrobe or the “jerks” , as she called them, around McCain. It came instead when Wolf Blitzer of CNN asked for some substance by inviting her to suggest “one or two ideas” that Republicans might have to offer. “Well, a lot of Republican governors have really good ideas for our nation,” she responded, without specifying anything except that “it’s all about free enterprise and respecting equality.” Well, yes, but surely there’s some actual new initiative worth mentioning, Blitzer followed up. “Gah!” replied the G.O.P.’s future. “Nothing specific right now!”

The good news for Democrats is a post-election Gallup poll finding that while only 45 percent of Americans want to see Palin have a national political future (and 52 percent of Americans do not), 76 percent of Republicans say bring her on.

And in the mean time, those other GOPers (goppers?) in government are having second thoughts about Ms. Palin. There were grumblings and mumblings from the Republican Governors’ Conference, whining that Palin was getting all the media attention and she didn’t actually say anything. The eye-rolling and squirming in chairs was palpable.

Newt Gingrich yesterday denied that Palin would be the new standard bearer going in to 2012. Instead, after saying with a straight face that Palin was “wonderfully intelligent”, he went on to explain that there would most likely be 20 or 30 representatives that would carry the sedan chair filled with GOP ideals through the desert and into the future.

Sunday, after the Alaskan governor completed an intense week of media appearances despite her ticket’s decisive defeat, Gingrich was trying to play her down some.

“I think that she will be a significant player,” Gingrich says, “But she is going to be one of 20 or 30 signficant players. She’s not going to be the party’s de facto leader.”

Gingrich’s incomplete list of potential party leaders may be somewhat inflated. But it is interesting that the former House member agrees with many GOP backers that the desperately needed new leadership will come from the ranks of the 21 surviving Republican governors that have produced two of the last three GOP presidents.

Gingrich added: “She’s going to be a much bigger story in the short run. But, I think, as she goes back to being governor and as she works in Alaska, you’re going to see a group of governors emerge, not just Sarah Palin.”

While the dilution begins, I’m thinking Sarah Palin may not be the GOP’s best friend, she may be the Democrats’.