Since Sarah Palin's Wasilla press conference on July 3 it seems you can't turn on the TV without seeing some commentator or pundit talking about the risk she's taking or harping on the hazards she now faces or listing the potential liabilities of Palin's symbolic in nature, Independence Day decision to bail from her post as Governor of Alaska.
Someone please tell me: what's the big gamble?
Let's see: she might write a book, make millions and raise even more money for the GOP? She could end up giving killer speeches on issues of national importance that bring the house down and command the attention of a national media that currently is something only the Democrat in the White House can do? Or wait -- she might actually run for the White House and er, um, lose? (That worked out horribly for Hillary, Secretary of State, "18 million cracks" Clinton, Nobel Prize winner/filmmaker Al Gore, and icon Ronald Reagan, to name a few).
I'm especially amuse by those who attack her for abandoning her office -- surely not a novel idea in politics. If leaving a position for a "higher calling" articulates the definition of reckless abandonment, most of the Obama administration is worthy of similar blame, including the president himself. Even more amusing are those who allege Palin is running away from the incessant personal assaults. This is a woman who decided not to abort a child she was told would likely have Down Syndrome, hardly what I'd call someone who retreats over impending adversity. Mothers of special needs children are the epitome of portraits in courage. I should know, I was raised by one.
So why is stepping down such a volatile venture?
Win, lose or draw, Palin is, and likely will remain, a wildly popular figure in the Republican Party and the conservative movement -- a movement that currently lacks a leader and is devoid of direction (besides "the opposite of whatever the tall guy with the teleprompter is saying").
Despite the Obama administration's many stumbles and impending economic implosion, no Republican has managed to emerge as the conductor of the constituency. The old guard of the party is over. So over. Whether Palin decides to become the conservative version of Oprah, a best-selling author, the country's first female president (or all of the above) she is the next generation, the new guard, and the GOP's MVP.
From a messaging standpoint Palin is perfect. She is also the only one who can reasonably argue that she hasn't been part of either the Republican or Democratic web of Washington politics. No bailouts, big spending, or Buenos Aires lust romps.
Her fundraising potential is potent. Her support is solid from the right. She is poised to fill a leadership vacuum and there is no better time than now, when Obama's numbers (especially with Independents) are at the precipice of plunging. The iron is scalding hot and Palin, ever the shrewd politician, knows exactly when to strike.
Remind me, where's her "exposure" again? The country took a risk on a well-scripted, super- smooth, inexperienced, Ivy League fancy lad junior senator from Illinois. Since taking office he'ss quadrupled the deficit, conceded our liabilities abroad, shoved us to the brink of a crippled, European-style nanny state, all the while increasing the unemployment numbers to the cusp of double digits. See, the plainspoken, big-haired, conservative hockey mom who uses hokey animal analogies doesn't seem like such a bad bet after all.
We don't know precisely how Palin's wager will play out, but we do know that she pulled the political ripcord to advance her career as a Republican rock star, move conservatism forward, and harness her power to propel the problematic Grand Old Party back to greatness. Now that's a bailout I can get behind.
Andrea Tantaros is a conservative commentator and columnist. Her commentary can be found on www.andreatantaros.com. Follow her on Twitter: @AndreaTantaros.