If I hear one more person yammer on about Sarah Palin being positioned perfectly for a 2012 presidential bid, I’m going to scream. It’s not going to happen for a couple of reasons.
First, there is no historical precedent. Being the losing VP didn’t help John Edwards or Joe Lieberman. It didn’t help Jack Kemp, or Bentsen, or Ferraro, or Mondale. You have to go back to 1920 and FDR before you can find a failed VP candidate who later became president. I think the reason why this is so was best articulated by General George Patton: “America loves a winner. America will not tolerate a loser.” A losing VP is a double loser. They are a loser in the obvious sense but also because they didn’t win top billing on the ticket in the first place.
Second, Palin is, quite simply, a loon (no disrespect intended to the same-named water fowl). The more people discovered about Palin, the higher her negatives became. The only people who really like her are folks of similar buffoonery and those who are ideologically blinded. The GOP managed to keep her reasonably well sequestered in the closing weeks offering public appearances in front of sympathetic crowds. If she does somehow manage to get the party nod in 2012, she will not be able to hide. People will learn all about her past statements that humans and dinosaurs were contemporaneous, her probable belief in witchcraft, and her separationist husband. These things might play well to segments of the evangelically afflicted base, but they won’t stand in the general election. She’ll be another Tancredo, maybe a Huckabee if she’s lucky.
I certainly don’t think we’ve seen the last of Palin, but she has some serious work to do to even elevate her up to the status of “not entirely worthless” in the eyes of the general public.