McCain-Palin: The Sequel

Seeing my father reunited with Sarah Palin this weekend reminded voters of what might have been and presented an energizing glimpse of the future of conservative politics.

My father formally kicked off his Senate reelection seat this weekend, and once again Sarah Palin was by his side. Although I did make it home, unfortunately I couldn’t get back in time for the rally in Tucson because of a previously scheduled speech in Washington. Soon after I landed, I was immediately swept back into to the 2008 campaign fever, which for the most part feels like a lifetime ago. Fresh off the rally in Tucson, where Gov. Palin endorsed my father for his Senate run, I had some time to talk to one of his veteran staffers. The direct quote from one of my old friends from the campaign was, “It was like the last 18 months didn’t even happen. It was weird to see them together again.” Another member of the 2008 team uploaded a picture from the rally onto Facebook with the tagline “flashback,” followed by comments from fellow campaign alums.

One of my old friends from the campaign said, “It was like the last 18 months didn’t even happen. It was weird to see them together again.”

The political reunion of my father and Sarah Palin has allowed the public and pundits to project whatever it is they want to see in this pair. If you are nostalgic for the glory days of the 2008 election, then seeing the Republican ticket together again is a glimpse of what could have been and a reminder of the power that occurs when two political stars stand on stage together. To this day, there is no denying that Palin’s wattage continues to increase—witness her new reality-TV show—and I have no doubt this will get more intense as we head to the midterm elections.

On the other hand, if you are pro-Obama, then seeing McCain-Palin onstage again also reminds you of what could have been and allows you to gloat about how much better off we are now. Reporting on this weekend’s rally, Gawker quipped: “ Wormhole Opens in Arizona, Offers Chilling Glimpse of Alternate Reality.”

For me, I respect and appreciate Sarah Palin’s involvement with my father’s reelection campaign—especially because he is running against a Tea Party candidate. The former Alaska governor is an icon of that movement and she still chose to endorse my father. Much like my father’s campaign workers, I experienced a weird disconnect this weekend, thinking that so many things have changed in the past 18 months and then again so many things have not.

On one hand, the two are still as iconic as they ever were, and the media is still just as obsessed with nitpicking and reading into every inane detail of their relationship. (Typically, the Internet exploded with trenchant commentary about the leather jacket Palin wore.)

I just don’t remember this weird fascination over the relationship between Al Gore and Joe Lieberman or John Kerry and John Edwards. And at this point, it’s hard to imagine a time in which there won’t be a media firestorm whenever my father and Sarah Palin get together.

On the other hand, I wonder whether this obsession with McCain-Palin: The Sequel says more about the current administration and the Democrats’ holding power in Washington. When audiences saw the 2008 ticket reunited this weekend, they were once again energized by a 30-year veteran of the Senate and a relative newcomer to the national stage, a woman who represents the future of conservative politics to many. I think people got excited because in my father and Sarah Palin they see the best of both Republican worlds.

And they still love what they see.

Meghan McCain is a columnist for The Daily Beast. Originally from Phoenix, she graduated from Columbia University in 2007. She is a New York Times bestselling children's author, previously wrote for Newsweek magazine, and created the Web site