NOTE: GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN WILL BE ON THE COVER OF VOGUE MAGAZINE IN FEBRUARY. VOGUE MAY HAVE MORE SENSE THAN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.
For many months, I've been one of a group on the Internet advocating that the Republican presidential nominee, whomever he turns out to be, choose Gov. Sarah Heath Palin of Alaska as his running mate. When Adam Brickley started the "Draft Palin" Movement, he, I, and another guy were the three known members of the group. Since then, a lot more people -- some of them national figures -- have joined the growing crowd.
A few months ago, I separated myself (slightly) from the Draft Palin for VP effort and started my own one-man band -- one dedicated to getting Sarah the presidential nomination in either 2012 or 2016. I started wondering -- and, among Palinites this is something of a heresy -- whether it would be a good idea for her to seek the vice-presidency.
Behind my (slight) change in views on the best scenario from Sarah was a growing belief that no Republican nominee can win the presidency in 2008. In a previous column I mentioned The Economist's note that registered Democrats now outnumber registered Republicans by 50% to 35%. I also observed that the Democratic nominees have raised an amazing 70% more cash than their Republican counterparts. A similar fundraising imbalance exists with the two congressional committees.
For Sarah Palin, the question is if it would advance her career to run as the vice-presidential nominee on a losing ticket. Yes, it would do wonders for her name recognition, and the world would get a better sense of what an outstanding human being she is.
On the other hand, vice-presidential nominees on tickets that lose big tend to disappear quickly. Consider Barry Goldwater's running mate in 1964 -- Bill Miller of Lockport, New York -- a man who might have been vaporized after his losing effort. Or consider John Edwards (Kerry, 2004), a man who believes he's a serious candidate for President but will be forevermore the guy who got the $400 hair cut. And whatever happened to Joe Lieberman (Gore, 2000)? Or Dan Quayle (Bush, 1988, 1992)? Or Jack Kemp (Dole, 1996)? Running for V-P on the wrong ticket can be a real career-stopper.
Sarah, it may be that the best thing which could ever happen to you is NOT to be on ticket in 2008. However, I'm still predicting that -- eventually -- they will need to reserve a spot for you on Mt. Rushmore.