GOP Goes Rogue With Palin

Anticipation is building for former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin’s memoir, “Going Rogue: An American Life.” For the constantly shrinking minority that actually believes she is a viable candidate for president in 2012, Palin’s choice of title for her memoir may seem unsettling.

Merriam-Webster defines a “rogue” as “a dishonest or worthless person,” with the flattering addition that a rogue person exhibits “a usually inferior biological variation.” By the way, those choice words only apply to rogue the noun. Rogue the adjective denotes a “misleading” and “corrupt” person.

So far, all we know about the tell-all memoir is that it was originally scheduled for a spring 2010 release. Somehow, the book has been moved up to a date only a few months after Palin’s initial book deal with HarperCollins in May. I’ll give Sarah the benefit of the doubt and assume the ghostwriter only contributed 90 percent of the material.

Meanwhile, a recent opinion poll revealed that of every ten Americans, only three find Sarah Palin to be a qualified for the office of President. These polls reveal an unsettling truth about America: Thirty percent of us are flat-out wrong about Sarah Palin.

I have absolutely nothing to say about Palin’s actual positions on the issues. Voters can make their own decisions about whether or not they agree with her. My comments transcend political boundaries, party lines and ideologies. Put simply, whether you are a Republican, a Democrat, or anything else, the concept of Sarah Palin anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue should scare you.

Let’s backtrack to last year’s election, when the name Sarah Palin was first heard outside of Alaska. In retrospect, it’s clear that John McCain chose Palin as his running mate for three basic reasons. First and foremost, she was there to energize the base of the GOP — the religious right that, quite frankly, can’t stand McCain. Secondly, she was there because she was a woman. She was McCain’s response to the diversity of the Democratic candidates. Lastly, Sarah Palin was there because she was a regular person in every sense of the term. Americans were supposed to be able to relate to her in ways they couldn’t relate to a 71-year-old war veteran.

It is also clear that in the end, Palin may have cost McCain the election. After running an entire campaign on the value of his experience over Obama’s apparent lack thereof, he chose the governor of a national park to complete his ticket.

Immediately, speculation ran rampant that Palin, the former runner-up for Miss Alaska 1984, would be running for president in 2012. The rumors continue to spread.

Let me be clear about something: I don’t think Sarah Palin is a bad person. I’m sure she is a pleasant person to be around… unless you happen to be a wolf near her approaching helicopter. Sarah Palin is probably great at being a completely normal person. I just think she would be an absolute disaster as president.

Every time she opens her mouth in public, it becomes obvious that she does not have a clear grasp of reality. Her better speeches usually consist of feeble attempts to piece together half-truths. The rest of the time, she spreads flat-out lies. After eight years of George W. Bush, the last thing we need is a leader that is even less coherent in representing America to the rest of the world.

When you compare her qualifications, experience, ability to speak and understanding of the issues to that of President Obama, it is clear that she is no match for him in a general election. It is also clear, for that matter, that she is no match for any of the likely Republican candidates.

This is why I don’t understand conservatives who support her candidacy. I’m fine with people admiring Palin, even if I don’t agree that she should be admired; but shouldn’t conservatives at least be able to admit that there are Republicans that are more qualified and ready for office than her? Even if you agree with her on the issues, don’t you think the Republican Party would be better off running someone who holds the same positions AND can talk to the press without embarrassing the American educational system? And even more fundamentally, wouldn’t you rather have the GOP run a candidate that actually has a shot at winning?

Sarah Palin isn’t just the wrong person to nominate for President; she is bad for the Republican Party in general. They’re never going to get back in power by backing candidates like her that only appeal to the average Joe six-pack. They need an intelligent, well-spoken, energizing figure to lead them back. In post-Bush America, the electorate is not going to give people that sound like idiots the time of day. Forget the general election — if Palin runs for president, a wise GOP wouldn’t even let her out of the primaries.

Charles Hicks is a third-year religious studies major. He can be reached at cbhicks@uci.edu.