She is the Dan Quayle of her time – a political lightweight who was plucked from relative obscurity to be the fresh face of the Republican Party, only to become a laughing stock instead. Quayle couldn’t spell, couldn’t articulate a cohesive vision of the United States, and couldn’t answer his critics, including Lloyd Bentsen, who famously ridiculed Quayle for likening himself to John F. Kennedy. By contrast, Sarah Palin had it easy during her vice-presidential debate with Joe Biden, but viewers could still see – just as they saw today – that Palin lacks the gravitas to be president of the United States of America.
Not since Richard Nixon said “I’m not a crook” at a 1973 press conference has a politician uttered such disingenuous pablum. “I am doing,” Palin said, “what’s best for Alaska.” What’s best for Palin is that she leave office – for whatever reason that Palin is hiding.
The last year has shown she’s more valuable as a speaker and a pop-culture phenomenon than an elected official who’s required to oversee America’s northernmost state. Palin can make millions in speaking fees and TV contracts, maybe even get her own program a la “The Daily Show” or “Late Show With David Letterman,” where she interviews nightly guests and offers opinions on the news. Even Democrats might accept Palin in this capacity, where she would join Mike Huckabee as a politician-turned-television host.
The line between politics and entertainment is an ever blurry one. Arnold Scharzenegger and Jesse Ventura proved that voters will accept entertainers with little or no governmental experience. Wherever Palin ends up, she will be financially set. The soon-to-be former governor will never be in the same intellectual league as the former Illinois senator she once ridiculed so readily on the campaign trail, but Palin is in Barack Obama’s company where it counts for many Americans: She has name recognition and a physical attractiveness. She was born with the latter trait, and – thanks to John McCain – she has the former trait. Today’s press conference reconfirmed that fact.