And boy, do I like it that way. Some may think she is destined to be the next big thing in the Republican Party, but I’m skeptical. It’s pretty clear that her mode of politics was resoundingly rejected by the American public, much to John McCain’s chagrin. After all, when he brought her on board to re-energize his base and bring over independents, she flat-out failed. Not at energizing his Christian conservative base; as a delightfully groomed embodiment of all they hold dear, she did that extremely well. But she alienated and even repulsed independents and moderate Democrats. Many were insulted by the notion put forward by the McCain campaign that she was ready for prime time. After a mandate such as the one given to Barack Obama, how is Governor Palin’s singular brand of divisiveness going to become more attractive 4 years from now?
A larger question is whether there will be redemption for John McCain. He followed up a horrible campaign with a moving, eloquent concession speech that reminded us of what was likeable about him in the first place. If only he had remained true to his old persona during his campaign, the one that had won him friends and grudging admirers on both sides of the aisle, who knows how the election would have turned out.
But he did not. McCain either allowed himself to be manipulated by his advisers or showed his own true colors – neither option being an appealing one. He is still the senior senator from Arizona, and there is no reason to believe that will change any time soon. He can still enjoy his power, even if he has to endure ribbing about his choice of VP, and maybe even anger that he did so much to help the Republicans lose. Or, as is more likely, the Republicans can write the loss off to a nation so dissatisfied with George Bush that they were only going to elect a Democrat this time no matter who the Republicans ran against them. And John McCain can resume his role of tetchy old troublemaker until he dies in office.
In the meantime, the Democrats have some serious fixin’ to do.