Categorized | Commentary/Editorial

The Next Chapter: Following the Maverick

Guest Submission by Daniel Chioco

An era just ended.  This is what many Palinistas and Conservatives throughout the nation must be thinking.

But that’s just the beginning.  At the end of every chapter, there’s always a page turn.  There’s always another day, another era that picks up where the last one took off.  And hopefully this next chapter still includes Sarah.  She made it clear this evening that she intends to stay involved in the political arena.  Remember, her "doom" has been predicted countless times.  Many are claiming that her decision negatively impacts her influence.

I say they’re wrong.

Sarah is still young.  And so is her family.  She ruled out 2012.  But she didn’t rule out a presidential run as a whole.  We love to compare her to Reagan, yet we overlook the fact that Reagan was on the national scene for YEARS before running for the presidency.

Now, I hate to speculate, especially since speculation is what caused the hurt among many of Palin’s deepest supporters.  But could it be that Sarah is indeed looking at the large picture?  We’ve always called her a maverick and unconventional, yet many of us are freaking out when she doesn’t do what we expected her to do!  And we call ourselves her biggest supporters?!  There are many holes in the story, and we may never know the whole story.  But if you truly love Sarah like you proclaim to, then you should stand by her decision no matter what.  For instance, many were baffled by her decision to resign as Governor, yet that allowed her to plant the seeds for the Tea Party movement and grow the tidal wave in the 2010 midterm elections.

We should continue to follow her onward, especially as it is clear she wants to remain relevant.  True warriors (that’s you, Palinistas!) fight to the last man.

Like I said, I shouldn’t speculate, but here’s some food for thought.  I want to prove that it’s not all doom and gloom from this point forward.  Here are a few things to consider as possibilities in Palin’s future that I’m sure she’s considered:

1.  The Palin’s relocated to Arizona.  Many speculated this was for a Presidential run.  But could it be for a Senate run in 2012?  To boost her credentials and fight back against the meme that she is a "quitter"?  Should she become a Senator, she could easily use this new era to fix deeply rooted misconceptions, which would be easier to show with actions than with words.  Should she choose to run for president in a later election, she will have countered widespread misconceptions thanks to Senatorial experience.  It’s easier to change faulty misconceptions in an entire term than in a single election cycle.

2.  Palin’s chances of winning could actually improve if she waits for later elections.  I know this is counter-intuitive, but think of it this way.  We all know that the media has a very strong anti-Palin bias.  Now that she has become "irrelevant" since she is not running, could is be that the media takes a break on her?  They will no longer view her as a threat, so they won’t hound her like they have been the last 3 years.  They will have thought they won.  In the long term, the lack of a media fervently beating up on her helps repair Palin’s image, helps Palin build alliances within the media, and makes the media less reluctant to attack should she ever enter the spotlight again.

3.  Does history repeat itself?  Governor Palin resigned because of the frivolous ethics complaints and political gridlock in Alaska after her return from the 2008 election.  This gridlock occurred not because Palin was controversial, but because the media coverage of her was controversial.  Could it be that Palin realized that because she is such a "hot," "controversial" topic right now that if she were elected, then DC would experience a similar gridlock?  If my point #2 is correct, then if the media fascination with Palin dies, so does her controversial stature since the media is what makes her controversial.  While the "polarizing" effect she has now might have gridlocked DC had Palin won 2012, in a few years she may no longer drive liberals crazy and could work bipartisan with them like she used to – mainly because the media will have lost interest in stirring controversy around her every move.

4.  Did her family’s age affect the decision? Last night Palin cited her family as a large contributor to her decision.  This fits nicely into my theory (let me stress the word "theory") that perhaps she is eying a run in another election cycle.  Since her family has many young ones, waiting a few years until they mature would be better for their emotional and physical safety as well as the demands of not only the campaign trail, but political life.  It would also give her the time to focus on governing instead of her having to split it between governing and parenting.

I’m not saying Palin will run at all during her lifetime.  But what I am saying is that while we don’t have the full picture, we shouldn’t undermine the judgement of someone we trust.  There are many unanswered questions, but I doubt Palin would go through the trouble of a documentary to repair her record, a bus tour, and hiring a political team and foreign policy adviser if she simply meant to be a cheerleader.

Last night she never once said she would be a cheerleader.  Instead, she specifically said she would help craft strategies to help the Conservative movement and elect the right people into office.  Those are the words and actions of not only a true leader, but the maverick we all fell in love with in 2008.

These last three years we have all claimed to believe in what Sarah stands for.  If we truly believe in that, we know that this movement is not about just one person and that it will continue with or without her.  However, she still wishes to be a leader.  Why should we abandon her just because she didn’t do what we expected?  We always knew she was unconventional.  Where her banner leads, her legions of followers should rally to champion her cause.

We are sailing into uncharted territory in the Palin world, so now more than ever should we look to her for leadership and insight.

Daniel Chioco is a 22-year-old conservative. You can follow him on Twitter @theGOPalliance.

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