What Becky Sharp, the heroine of Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, was to social climbing in Victorian England, Sarah Palin has been to political climbing in post-9/11 America. So it’s only appropriate that Todd Purdum’s Vanity Fair take-down has ushered in her stunning demarche from office.
Is she running for president in 2012? Is Mike Huckabee? They are the two Republicans who showed a genuine ability to stir the party’s social values base in 2008–first Mike, then Sarah. Both came to the role as obscure gubernatorial figures with bona fide evangelical origins. Both became celebrities, capable of making some real money on the media circuit.
What has Huckabee done since the campaign? He’s been spending his time on the circuit, and using his PAC and blog to support Republican candidates for office. So far as can be told from her rambling announcement yesterday, Palin is advancing in that direction. She will be supporting “those who would protect freedom and equality…and life.” She’s got the book contract and will no doubt be raking in the speaking fees. Someone’s got to be the candidate of the social conservative masses, and if the cards fall right, then she’ll be there. If not, she’ll be makin’ her way in the world.