From Mona Charen, a conservative columnist I’ve always found to be an utterly clueless dolt in the past. But she’s nailed Palin perfectly:
“After the 2008 campaign revealed her weaknesses on substance, Palin was advised by those who admire her natural gifts to bone up on policy and devote herself to governing Alaska successfully. Instead, she quit her job as governor after two and a half years, published a book (another is due next week), and seemed to chase money and empty celebrity. Now, rather than being able to highlight the accomplishments of Sarah Palin’s Alaska, we get “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” another cheesy entrant in the reality show genre. She’d so much rather be out dog sledding than in some “dull political office,” she tells the audience. File that… She compares herself to Reagan. But Reagan didn’t mud wrestle with the press. Palin seems consumed and obsessed by it, as her rapid Twitter finger attests, and thus encourages the sniping. She should be presiding over meetings on oil and gas leases in the North Slope, or devising alternatives to Obamacare. Every public spat with Dave Letterman or Politico, or the “lamestream media,” or God help us, Levi Johnston, diminishes her.”
But the fact is that Palin is doing exactly what she want to do. If she really wanted to be president, she would have followed that advice. She would have gone away for a year and engaged in serious public policy study. Then she would have reemerged with a major speech on foreign policy at, say, the Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute. She would have started writing op-eds on counter terrorism policy and monetary policy, all designed to diffuse those critics who doubted her understanding of complex issues. And then she would have been a serious contender in 2012.
But she didn’t do that because she doesn’t want to be president. She is being exactly what she wants to be, a celebrity without any actual job. That’s the path to gobs of money and the kind of fame most prized in today’s reality TV world. And that’s what she really wanted in the first place. That makes her a serious contender for the Republican nomination in 2012 and a colossal joke in the general election.