Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Senator Palin? Yes, you read that right...

Now that the smoke from the burning wreckage of the GOP ticket has started to clear, Sarah Palin, in addition to serving members of the media moose chili and moose hot dogs, is mulling over how best to keep giving me material to write about her.

Senator Ted Stevens appears to be the very best way, it would seem.

The embattled Sen. Ted Stevens is still in a tight race for his seat against Democratic Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. Stevens was convicted of seven federal corruption charges in October for filing false statements on Senate ethics forms.

Some have speculated that if Stevens wins, he would be expelled from the Senate, meaning there would be a special election in which Palin could run.

Palin told CNN that at this point, she wouldn't declare whether she would or wouldn't consider a run.

So, let me see if I have this right? Stevens wins. Gets chucked from the Senate. A special race is held. Palin runs for the vacant Senate seat and wins. And thus thrusts herself right back into the national spotlight.

Honestly, Sarah should perhaps be careful what she wishes for here. She has just finished blaming her party's leadership for the loss of the McCain ticket last week - throwing under the bus many people who are going back to work on the Senate floor. Her credentials and knowledge on very basic and important issues are sketchy at best . Perhaps the best thing that could happen to her is to slink back to Anchorage, start getting tutored in the finer points by the Karl Rove Extreme Political Makeover team, and be ready to pop up on the national stage again a little while down the road, wounds healed and leaner, meaner and more polished.

If Sarah, fresh off this defeat, reports to the Senate for active duty without having smoothed her rougher political edges, it could end up being a terrible decision for her as someone with an eye towards a big future in the GOP party. She is, by all accounts, not someone who will reach across the aisle, and in a Democrat-dominated Senate, she runs a very big risk of finding herself alone on an island of extremism, watching more moderate colleagues like, for example, her former running-mate John McCain work closely with Senate Dems. Add to the mix that the Senate is the traditional home of the "Washington insiders" that she has spent so many weeks disparaging, and I'm not sure she's going to find a ton of helping hands. The remaining Republicans in government have far too much to lose and to protect at this point. I sincerely doubt they will want to align themselves with such a potentially polarizing and inexperienced figure.

The Senate floor is a place of vigorous debate by intelligent and experienced politicians - masters of saying one thing, doing another and protecting their own backsides expertly. There is an old saying that if you don't know who the sucker at the table is after twenty minutes in a poker game, you're the sucker. I have a sneaking suspicion that when put into the Senate shark tank, "Senator" Palin would find quite quickly that she is the sucker. In short: she simply is not ready.

I, for one, would like to see it happen. My feeling is that the sooner we get used to the idea of Senator Palin, the better the odds we will never have to get used to the idea of President Palin.

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