What's next for Sarah Palin?

The continued controversy surrounding Sarah Palin and the intrigue she invites

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What’s Next for Sarah Palin?

The continued controversy surrounding Sarah Palin and the intrigue she invites

-Myrna Blyth

What’s next for Sarah Palin? Since her surprise announcement last week, the Alaska governor has certainly kept them guessing. Political commentator and even fans of the former “Miss Wasilla” are trying to understand what made her quit her job so abruptly. They are also trying to figure out her mysterious plans for the future.

Sarah, herself, has offered only a few clues. But, in typical feisty fashion, she has defended herself and her decision on Facebook blasting “the mainstream media” and “the politics of personal destruction.” She has also taken to Twitter, tweeting to her followers: “Critics are spinning, so hang in there as they feed false info on the right decision made as I enter last yr in office to not run again….”

In another tweet, she noted “See letter from my attorney on baseless allegations of past 24hrs @ http://tinyurl.com/l4ct5n.” That’s because her attorney has sent out a letter which refutes a story that has been circulated by some bloggers, who have been perpetually critical of Sarah Palin, about why she has left office.

“Several unscrupulous people have asserted false and defamatory allegations that the ‘real’ reasons for Governor Palin’s resignation stem from an alleged criminal investigation pertaining to the construction of the Wasilla Sports Complex,” the attorney Thomas Van Flein wrote. “This canard was first floated by Democrat operatives in September 2008 during the national campaign and followed up by sympathetic Democratic writers. It was easily rebutted then as one of many fabrications about Sarah Palin.” Van Flein also warned, “The Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law.”

Even as she may be trying to step out of the public eye, Sarah has once again stepped into the kind of controversy that has surrounded her ever since she first came to national attention less than a year ago. On that early September night at the Republican convention, she gave a polished, witty, dynamic speech that made her an instant political star and the favorite of a solid core of the Republican Party. For the first time on the public stage, there was a woman in politics with whom millions of conservative American women, especially, could empathize.

But just as Sarah sparkled in the early days of the campaign, she later fizzled, especially when she had to deal with some sophisticated members of the press. She wasn’t helped by being so easily mocked on Saturday Night Live by Tina Fey, over the cost of her campaign wardrobe, and by the nasty infighting between John McCain’s staff and her own.

And there was the problem of Bristol Palin, her unmarried, pregnant teenage daughter. Not an easy problem to handle for any mother, especially one who had also just given birth to her own disabled child. Not an easy problem to handle for any politician running for a national office.

So has Sarah Palin been battered by the media more than any other candidate, as her supporters maintain? Probably. Did she seem less able to handle the onslaught than other savvy politicians, as her critics believe? Probably. After all this turmoil, is it really any wonder that when she asked her own family about stepping down their answer was a resounding: “Four yes’s and one hell yes!”

So what should Sarah Palin do next? My bet is that she will begin by writing the book for which she got her big advance and promote it so it will be next year’s big best seller. She also may show up those in the media, who have consistently sneered at her, by becoming just as big a media star. Don’t you bet, that at the very least, she will be a Fox commentator by September? And who knows? After that there could be an afternoon talk show like Oprah’s. Wouldn’t she have considerable influence talking to American women daily? And she could certainly make a lot of money for her family that way.

Unlike a lot of women media personalities, Sarah can not only talk the talk but has walked the walk with millions watching. And it has been a tough, complicated, challenging, controversial walk. Some times she has been terrific. Some times she has been terrible. Just like most women. Maybe that is why so many women who applauded her Convention speech and flocked to her campaign rallies still find Sarah Palin, no matter what she does, so intriguing.

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