I've argued before that I don't think Sarah Palin really wants to be president, regardless of the desires of her most ardent supporters. She doesn't appear to enjoy the actual process of governing. When she resigned the governorship of Alaska, she didn't even stick out her term as most retiring governors, like Tim Pawlenty, do. She quit and left as soon as she could. As Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe explore in their biography, Sarah from Alaska, Palin is extremely thin-skinned when it comes to media criticism. She's already a magnet for harsh scrutiny by reporters, and she must know that the tendency to critique her every move would intensify dramatically should she seek the highest office in the land. From what I've gleaned about Palin, both on the campaign trail and beyond, that would be a nightmare for her.
The thing Palin does enjoy about politics is the spotlight. She blossoms under the kleig lights at rallies and conventions. She revels in the adoring fans, the rope lines, the signatures. And she certainly likes having a platform for her opinions, albeit one she controls, which is probably why she seems so fond of her Facebook page and Twitter feed. Palin's temperament is just better suited to celebrity than governing. Being a celebrity has one other draw for Palin: it's lucrative. I presume that's important for a family of modest means with a special-needs child to care for, not to mention a grandchild and the possibility of college for a couple of other kids. That's why today's scoop from The Hollywood Reporter isn't a surprise:
Sarah Palin is getting closer to having her own reality show. A&E Networks and Discovery Communications want to acquire Palin's project, which focuses on the ex-governor giving a guided tour of her native Alaska—visiting fishing boats and taking a trip to a gold mine, to cite a couple of examples. Mark Burnett is executive producer. The working title is "Sarah Palin's Alaska"....Palin is asking for $1 million- $1.5 million per episode, a hefty amount for a first-year cable series. She initially pitched the show to broadcast networks. Given the laid-back nature theme and none of the high-stakes drama that typifies broadcast reality hits, industry execs see cable as a better fit.
That Palin is pursuing this cable show in 2010 is, in my mind, another sign that she's not serious about seeking the presidency in 2012. Why? Because 2010 is an election year, and committed contenders, including potential 2012 rivals Romney and Pawlenty, will put in the hard yards to raise money for congressional midterms. That way, they can build good will within the GOP and have a few favors to call on in 2012. Andrew Romano has pointed out that Palin's shown little interest in pitching in to help low-profile but important GOP candidates.
But Palinites, don't lose hope entirely. Keep in mind that she's only 46. That means in 2016 she'll be only 52, which is still relatively young in presidential years. And considering that John McCain made his bid at age 72, there's plenty of time for Sarah to take her shot.