I am surely far from the only person to think that if Palin’s next move is a Playboy spread — and surely they’ve called to offer her millions, because they always try — I can forgive her for abandoning her post as Alaska guv and thereby perhaps convincing people she could never tough it out as president. (Being the lead actress in Transformers movies also appears to require only looking good and enjoying being around the military, so if Megan Fox bails out on the next one to do Shakespeare plays or something…)
One thing my girlfriend, Helen Rittelmeyer, and my mother, Margaret Seavey, have in common, by the way, is still being fond of Palin, which crossed my mind after the Rittelmeyer family reunion yesterday. My mother, hardly a right-winger or political junkie, agrees completely with the pro-Palin line that she’s better off stepping down than fending off all the nuisance lawsuits thrown at her. By contrast, I’m inclined to think facing nuisance lawsuits doubles your responsibility to tough it out so that similar tactics, if they are indeed illegitimate, are not deemed effective and repeated on future officeholders.
I think my parents tend to be a good political barometer, though, if not of election victors per se at least of a big swath of mainstream American sentiment (they weren’t much into politics until suddenly deciding they liked this Ross Perot fellow in 1992, for instance). So Mom’s continued — perhaps even increased — Palinism may mean I can’t count Palin out yet. But you can’t become president by making less than a plurality of the voters like you, so it may merely mean she’s got a shot at being the GOP candidate — and will then lose the general election.
I don’t think she’s awful, the way most of her critics do. But would it hurt to aim even higher?