The Palin movement isn’t retreating, it’s reloading
I’ve been a Palinista for going on four years now, starting back in 2007 when I anonymously launched a little website called “Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President.” That site represented the first concrete, public expression of support for Governor Palin’s leadership outside Alaska, and whatever influence you think it did or didn’t have, it’s certainly made my life interesting in the intervening years. It got me on national TV a few times, helped me establish my new life here in D.C., and introduced me to some amazing new friends. It’s also gotten me yelled at by some of my closest friends, cost me job opportunities, and ostracized me from large portions of the Republican Party — especially considering that I live and work around Capitol Hill, where being an out-and-proud Palin supporter is roughly equivalent to walking around with a “Kick Me” sign taped to your back (and that’s just among the conservatives). So, naturally, no one wanted to see a Palin presidential campaign more than me — not only for the good of the country, but also for the chance to avenge every ad hominem insult, sneer of contempt, and dehumanizing cultural slur that I’ve endured simply for defending Gov. Palin’s humanity, let alone her politics.
But at the end of the day, it was not to be — at least not this year. And in a weird way, that might be a good thing emotionally for people like me (and there are a lot of us) who have been so ill-treated by many in the GOP that we wanted raw catharsis as much as we wanted victory. However, anyone who thinks Gov. Palin or any of us “cultists” are going to go away has another thing coming — in fact, a reinvigorated Palin movement is already coalescing. The people who would have been the core supporters of a Palin campaign are now the biggest and most powerful bloc of free agents in the 2012 primary, and I’m practically salivating at the idea of watching the establishment candidates trek up to Wasilla to genuflect and beg for an endorsement. Every last one of them.
Here’s hoping that Sarah has the chutzpah to drag a few of them out on the water for uncomfortable “photo-ops” involving fishing boats and large amounts of live salmon (I’m looking at you, Governor Romney).
As for the rest of us, we are more than happy to throw our weight around. We’re not in the mood to kiss and make up with the party bosses, and no one can afford to take us for granted. If you thought we were going to make your life hell as a campaign, wait until you see what we can do as a pressure group. We’ve already got a huge presence on the Web thanks to Conservatives4Palin and the rest of the Palin bloggers, and we now have a big grassroots network as well thanks to the hard work of Organize4Palin. Do you really think we’re not going to use all of that cool stuff?
It’s also important to remember that Sarah Palin has at least a quarter century left in her political life. She’ll be the same age in 2036 that John McCain was in 2008 — so nobody is going to be dropping the idea of “President Palin” for quite some time. In the meantime, she has more than enough skill and support to engage in any number of ventures. We may well be referring to her as “Secretary Palin” in the near future — whether she’s tackling government’s biggest bureaucracy as President Cain’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, charging toward energy independence as President Romney’s energy secretary, or finally bringing some sense to environmental policy as President Perry’s EPA director.
Of course, while any one of those jobs would fit her skill set, none of them are necessarily worthy of a public figure of her stature, and none of them provide the freedom to go after a Republican president when needed. So, we might instead see the launch of “The Sarah Palin Show” on national talk radio, a campaign against Senator Mark Begich in 2014, or the opening of the “Palin Institute for Public Policy.” The possibilities really are endless, and there will be many, many of us backing her up along the way.
I’ve never been so proud to be a Palinista, and I am very much looking forward to the future. Governor, whatever you do next, count me in.
Adam Brickley was the founder of the website “Draft Sarah Sarah Palin for Vice President” (palinforvp.blogspot.com). He has contributed to Race42012.com and The Weekly Standard’s blog, and is a contributor at Conservatives4Palin.com.