By Ryan Henson
To some she represents everything America should stand for: patriotism, hard work, and good common sense. For others, her very being embodies everything America ought not to be: reactionary, unadaptable, uncompromising. Sarah Palin is small town mayor, turned state governor, turned political superstar. Savior of the silent majority, in the eyes of her supporters, ringleader of the anti-consensus eccentrics, to her many detractors. Whatever she is, Sarah Palin should run for President in 2012.
At the time of writing no heavyweight Republican looks likely to pose a serious threat to Barack Obama’s re-election hopes. Okay so Mike Huckabee looks friendly enough; sounds like a safe pair of hands, but, let’s be honest, would Americans be willing to trade in Obama for an overweight preacher with none of the former’s star quality? Harsh, but if we’re honest: fair. Similarly Mitt Romney, whilst he might look the part; middle-aged, great suits, tall, handsome etc. Does he really have the oratorical flair or the rags-to-riches back story of the man currently inhabiting the White House?
America’s presidential elections are the envy of the world – events which help to renew the greatness of the democratic system. If Sarah Palin chooses not to run, America’s choice in 2012 will come down to this: a charismatic and proven Democrat against a mediocre, never likely to succeed, nonentity Republican. In other words, America’s choice will be no choice at all.
Sure, Republican voters will still vote Republican. Democrats will still vote Democrat. The swing voters however, that great mass of people who decide the outcome of elections, are more likely to stick with Obama if his opponent can’t match him with the three features all good American Presidents have so much of: vision, charisma, and conviction. Disagree with her as you choose, but you can not deny Sarah Palin lacks those three attributes. At the very least she possesses them in far greater quantities than any of her current would-be Republican rivals.
This doesn’t mean Palin deserves to become President. After all, President Obama has, from the perspective of a neutral, not made too bad a job of his first term. He campaigned on a platform which promised universal healthcare and the promotion of liberal values. As far as I can see he’s largely delivered. In many ways the next election will be more true to Obama’s campaign slogan of 2008, than any he might choose for 2012. If Obama is re-elected, the healthcare debate will surely be settled for good. Change really will have come to America. That’s why it’s so important for Republicans that Sarah Palin decides to run.
The success of the Tea Party movement proves there is a loud, and strong conservatism still active in the United States. They deserve a candidate who can match Obama for charisma, vision, and conviction. Sure, Sarah Palin may destroy herself before she even gets out of the Primaries, but she should, for the sake of providing a better democratic choice, give running for the Presidency a go, regardless.
2012 should build on the drama, excitement and choice which characterized the election of 2008. As Tunisia, Egypt, and (God willing) Libya, all emerge from beneath the tyranny of dictatorship, what better way for America to showcase the greatness of its democracy, than by offering the American people a choice between the conservatism of Sarah Palin, and the Liberalism of Barack Obama.
Some will say that Sarah Palin is too divisive, too angry. To those people, I say this: if she really is unfit, unready, and unsafe to be given the keys to the White House, what better way for those weaknesses to be exposed than by her running for the most powerful job in the world, which brings with it the sort of media scrutiny capable of revealing all potential flaws in an instant.
President Obama’s re-election is not yet inevitable. Liberalism has yet to overturn forty years of conservative dominated politics. The Right needs a charismatic candidate with conviction enough to challenge the incumbent. Palin may not appeal to all but she is brilliant at articulating the values of those she does represent.
President Obama will be a formidable candidate come 2012. He deserves an opponent who can match him for oratory and charisma, prepared to fight tooth and nail for the presidency. There is at present just one person who matches the criteria: Sarah Palin.