In a matter of two months, Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin went from seemingly unknown to one of the country’s biggest celebrities. From mayor of a small town of less than 9,000 people to vice presidential candidate, the political roller coaster has come to a stop with the new President-elect Barack Obama.
So what’s next for Sarah Palin?
Well, it’s back to work. Palin has two years left on her term as Alaska’s governor. But, everything is different now for the “hockey mom.” Will she run for re-election as governor of Alaska once her term ends in 2010? Or will she have bigger plans on her mind like running for president in 2012?
As far off as it might seem, Palin has already generated a lot of support. According to the Rasmussen Reports telephone survey, 64 percent of Republicans want Palin to represent the GOP as its candidate in 2012. Whatever Sarah Palin decides to do, there is a lot that can be learned from this past election. For one, the word “maverick” has taken on a completely new meaning.
Palin was forced to overcome a considerable amount of adversity in this election and the challenges ahead might be even more difficult. Here are the three most important things for Palin over the next few years:
Handling the Media
This was the first test of Palin and a failing grade might be appropriate. Palin excelled in prepared speeches like her knockout performance at the Republican National Convention but struggled in other settings like the disastrous Katie Couric interview. Palin was heavily criticized for not directly answering questions during that interview, essentially avoiding questions. In addition, Palin was scrutinized for her hiatus from the media following the RNC and prior to the ABC interview with Charles Gibson.
So what will Palin need to do differently?
Simply put, Palin will need to use this experience as a stepping stone. Before her vice presidential nomination, her previous experience was very limited. As a new unknown national figure to the country, she was immediately thrown under immense scrutiny. The American people were eager to find out just who Sarah Palin was.
That said, was the media a little bit too harsh on Palin? Sure. But this will be an ongoing challenge for Palin, especially if she were to run for a top position in 2012.
Relations in Washington
Politics are typically dirty, and this year was no exception. A lot of shots were taken by both parties at one another. Palin was no outsider of the political crossfire, questioning the patriotism of Obama and saying he hung out with terrorists. Now with Obama elected as the next commander-in-chief, has Palin crippled her relationships with Democratic elected officials in Washington?
Although this should not be an issue considering both parties understand the nature of running campaigns, it is certainly interesting. Palin’s detractors were not only with Democrats, but also some within her own party. It is going to be important for her to build strong relationships within, as well as outside of her party.
Experience in Politics
Similar to her experience, or lack thereof, with the media, she will need to continue to put in her time as Alaskan governor and bolster her resume. Besides, this country does not elect a president with limited experience in Washington, right?
In light of the national poll suggesting Republicans will be pumping a lot of money over the next two years into Palin as their 2012 candidate, she cannot forget about Alaska. Putting Alaska on the backburner for an ulterior motive can only be detrimental to the reputation of Sarah Palin. For example, in this past election’s primaries Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney left his state for 219 days, which might have been responsible for his decline in support.
Sarah Palin took the country by surprise in August. Next time around, the country will be ready for her. And hopefully for Palin, she will be ready for them.