It’s the middle of August and we’re in the dog days of a political summer, when the Republican contenders for president are scrambling to figure out how to unseat Obama in 2012. The exaggerated importance placed on last weekend’s Ames Straw Poll isn’t a surprise. Michele Bachmann probably won’t be our next president, but the intense need for some sort of political news in our nonstop 24-hour cycle is to be expected. What should not be expected, however, is that six months away from the New Hampshire primary in January, the media is still spending a considerable amount of time obsessing over Sarah Palin, a woman who may or may not even be interested in a run for the White House.
She’s more than happy to stay in the spotlight, as she teases and distracts the media from the other politicians who have announced their candidacy and are actively campaigning. Her recent stop at the Iowa State Fair may have been one of her most egregious moves yet. This is coming after her “coincidental” appearance in New Hampshire just miles away from Mitt Romney, on the day he told supporters he was entering the race. As I watched on TV the nest of reporters and groupies surround Palin at the Iowa State Fair, I couldn’t help but sit back and wonder if she’s become the ultimate party crasher for the Republican Party.
To be completely honest, I don’t believe that Palin has any intention of actually running for president. Granted, trying to predict Sarah Palin’s next move is like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. Candidates who are serious about running for president flirt and tease up to a point, but they don’t normally star in a reality show while making such deliberations. In fact, the Palin road show is more like a Mark Burnett production, where she doesn’t inform the media where she’s going, ends up in random places of historical importance with her children, and continues to act as if journalists are to blame for wondering what she’s doing there. Piper Palin even quipped earlier this month to the press, “Thanks for ruining our vacation.”
The only bus tours to political events I ever went on with my father were when he was running for president. Why else would you be touring the nation in a bus? Well, there is one other reason: it’s one hell of a great distraction if you aren’t running for president. We all know that Sarah Palin loves attention. I think it’s quite obvious at this point that Sarah Palin is starting to feel threatened that there are new Republican darlings in town and that the media stronghold she once monopolized is clearly loosening. I think what we are seeing this summer is Palin in panic mode—and let’s face it, she should be panicking. It’s a new election cycle, and there are new kids in town that could very well start stepping on her Palin brand.
I know Palin hasn’t asked for my advice, and I assume the likelihood of that ever happening in my lifetime is probably about the same as the likelihood of hell freezing over. That being said, my advice to Sarah Palin would be, continue to hold the position as the leader and the symbol of right-wing America that you are, continue making boat loads of cash, and stop acting so threatened that the media might forget you. If you are in fact seriously considering running for president, you have reached the eleventh hour and the clock is ticking. Fish or cut bait, Sarah. Either put your hat in the ring and show America what you want to do with our country, or step back and let other politicians whose time has come have their moment. God knows, you have had yours.
In the meantime, you are traveling to the Iowa State Fair and then acting surprised when a hurricane of reporters jump you (I literally read numerous Twitter feeds of journalists live tweet their attempt to chase you down at the fair). When ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper tried to ask you some questions, you said you were “going to meet a heifer first.” Let’s get real here, you weren’t just there to enjoy the fair and the fried butter. And reporters, you aren’t doing yourselves any favors either. She says jump, you still say how high. She jerks you around because you let yourselves be jerked around, and it’s embarrassing for other politicians and for journalists.
Much of Sarah Palin’s allure seems to fade by each passing talking point of Michele Bachmann’s that goes viral. And with each passing day, Sarah Palin looks more and more like a confused woman who can’t decide which way to go. The last thing our country needs right now is a president who can’t make up her mind or make tough decisions. As Americans, we live in perilous times and what we need is real leadership. Republicans really have a chance to win the White House in 2012. We don’t need to be distracted by Sarah Palin’s attention-seeking antics anymore, unless of course she actually decides to stop flirting and finally make a move to announce her candidacy. Until then, the rest of the country is trying to decide between the candidates who are actually running.