THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Regardless of the election results this time around, Sarah Palin will be back in four years, and there's a good chance she'll be the Republican presidential nominee. Palin has become "America's Sweetheart" in the eyes of most Conservatives in the Republican Party, and her popularity has even surpassed the 2008 "rock star" image of Senator Barack Obama.
If Senator McCain wins the election, there is a strong likelihood he will not serve more than one term. He's already indicated that he will most likely not seek reelection. That would automatically make Vice President Sarah Palin the preferred Republican nominee, putting her up against Senator Hillary Clinton as the most likely Democrat nominee. So if McCain wins in 2008, the likely scenario would be Palin verses Clinton in the 2012 election.
If Senator McCain looses the election, four years of a very liberal Obama presidency would likely poise the Republicans to take back the Whitehouse. The 2012 contest would be Palin verses Obama in a head-to-head battle. By that time, Obama will have lost most of his "rock star" popularity status. He'll have to run solely on the issues, which he doesn't do well to begin with, and he'll have four years of failed liberal policies as baggage to carry with him. Of the five most likely contenders for the Republican nomination would be former Governor Mitt Romney, former Governor Mike Huckabee, former Governor Jeb Bush, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Palin's biggest competition would likely come from Jindal, but she would probably beat him handily due to her overwhelming popularity and secure the Republican Party nomination. Among two possible Republican tickets, we might see Palin/Jindal or Palin/Huckabee. As these two men are the closest to her political ideology. Of course a lot of that depends on how well they do in the primary season.
Palin offers the Republican Party more than just some good conservative values. Republicans have not had a terribly popular candidate since Ronald Reagan. Granted, Palin is no Reagan, but she does present the party with something it hasn't had since the Reagan Era - that would be "rock star" popularity. Governor Sarah Palin is not the perfect Social-Conservative, nor is she the perfect Fiscal-Conservative. She has flaws in both ideologies, but so did Ronald Reagan. The trick to winning the nomination, and securing victory in the election, would seem to have nothing to do with how well one masters the ideologies of either philosophy. The Republican Party has flushed many candidates who scored perfectly in either or both. Rather, the trick seems to be scoring "well enough" among both Fiscal and Social Conservatives, while at the same time riding an overwhelming wave of popularity to excite the moderates in the party and consequently draw a few votes from moderate Democrats too. That was the Reagan formula, and it seemed to work quite well for the eight years it was employed.
A Palin presidency would certainly bring new life to the Pro-Life movement, and Palin's support of it would be aggressive to be sure. For Palin it's not just about political ideology - it's a way of life - and she's proved it with the birth of her Down Syndrome son. The issue of same-sex "marriage" is already a lost cause based on the U.S. Constitution. As it stands right now, the "full faith and credit" clause will mandate that gay marriage be recognized in all 50 states regardless of state law. There only needs to be a federal court ruling on the matter, and we can expect that sometime between 2008 and 2012. Even the most conservative Supreme Court (if one existed) would have no choice but to rule in favor of same-sex marriage thanks to the "full faith and credit" clause in the U.S. Constitution. The only solution that would fix this problem would be the "Federal Marriage Amendment," but that would do nothing to stop same-sex civil unions. Many conservative politicians, including Sarah Palin, have recognized that nothing can be done to stop the legal institution of gay civil-unions. So to deflect homosexuals away from legal marriage, they have come out in support of this. Sadly, this is one area of conservative values Palin does not score too well in, however, we may soon find viable opposition to gay civil-unions an impossibility in the near future. Palin may be simply playing her cards well for the next decade. As for school-choice, she supports parental rights but not vouchers. Government can support parental rights in education choice without having to use vouchers for private schools, and it can do it with tax credits, or education reimbursement checks sent directly to parents.
Palin's viability for 2012 may be determined largely by how well she's absorbed personal attacks, sexism and mockery without letting it effect her public demeanor. This is a Reagan quality. Ever since the mainstream press was able to destroy Vice President Daniel Quale with media mockery, they've used it as an effective tool to unnerve rising stars in the Republican Party. They tried this unsuccessfully with Ronald Reagan, and that earned him the title of "the Teflon president." Palin seems to be able to handle her detractors in a similar way.
Whatever happens this November, the next four years will be interesting to watch. Clearly the United States is in decline, and an Obama presidency will only accelerate that, putting Palin in a perfect position to steal his crown in 2012. While on the other hand, Palin has already distinguished herself enough from McCain, to ensure that even if he wins, she'll make a formidable candidate to oppose Hillary Clinton in 2012. Either way the beauty queen turned governor from Alaska is here to stay, and she may be the Republican Party's best hope for the future.