The announcement that Sarah Palin would not be running for President did not come as a surprise to her once cordial and fellow Alaskans. While shocking to many of her lower 48 supporters, Palin’s political decline in the eyes of her Last Frontier friends has gradually come on since her announcement to become Senator John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 Presidential Primary. Since then, the “publicity” she has brought to Alaska has been seen as an unwelcome intrusion. From her TLC television show (which many of us winced through as it showed “everyday” encounters with grizzly bears, and Palin cooking cheese hot dogs while speaking radical politics), her exposure shed the wrong light on our beloved state. Now, when our travels take us to the exotic world of the continental US, the first question out of the astonished ignoramus is no longer “Do you own a pet polar bear?” but “Do you know Sarah Palin?!”
Our state has become synonymous with the “Going Rogue” rising star and while people at least know Alaska is a part of the United States now, the only thing Palin has really accomplished for our state is an increase in media muckrakers invading our schools and towns for any piece of dirt. It got so bad in 2008 that many people just had to start making up “facts” about Palin while they hastily rolled up their windows against the pouncing reporter– her secret affair that hurt Todd, the true identity of her baby, the poignant passion of lovers Bristol and Levi Johnston. Her personal life and exploits have been the “talk of the town” for far too long. So Palin’s recent announcement only sparks a “here we go again” from her home state. Meanwhile other loyal supporters seem to be truly hurt. On a support website for Palin, conservatives4palin.com, a man identified as Mark Dormann wrote, “Sarah I feel betrayed. You are the one we are waiting for. No one else will reform America. … you have broken my heart :(.” And that was only one of many sporting the same sentiments. At this point, one can only wonder what Palin could be thinking. It is one thing to run a race and lose, but quite another to never start. When she abandoned the governorship for the national limelight, she lost her home support. And now that she has abandoned the hopes and support of her conservative base in the lower 48, Palin seems to be on a repeated track of alienating those her success relies on. Her blast of fame has dwindled into a faded star, and unless she comes up with another ploy to keep her name in the game, that light may be extinguished.
Many conjectures around the country right now say this is not true. They say that she will be great outside of public office; that she can do more there; that her time has just begun. But a monument under construction cannot be finished without its scaffolding, and Palin has effectively began to topple hers. With the Wall Street protests, a heated Presidential Primary on the horizon sans Palin, and a new season of “Dancing with the Stars,” there will be no more reality television, no more “People magazine” snow machine snapshots, and a greatly reduced band of followers for Palin.
Her effect on politics thus far has been tremendous; much like when one throws a boulder into a pond. But eventually, the ripples die out, and Palin’s name, while lightly etched in history, will go down as a crazed fad next to plaid disco pants and Go-Go boots.