Is Sarah Palin the answer for defeated Republicans?
After a historic rebuke at the polls, the Republican Party is staggering into an uncertain tomorrow with the White House and Congress in Democratic hands, no certain leader in sight and its membership divided over what it means to be a Republican.
Ever since her selection as John McCain's running mate in late August, Palin, the 44-year-old Alaska governor, was the star of the GOP ticket, though views of her vary wildly across the political spectrum.
Palin could be one of many people competing to influence Republican ideas in the post-Bush era, maybe even as the party's leader.
“Conservatives are still looking for Mr. Right. And maybe Mr. Right turns out to be Ms. Right,” said Bill Whalen, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution.
She has done little to discourage speculation — begun even as McCain's campaign faded — that she could return to the ballot four years from now.
In her hometown of Wasilla in the Anchorage suburbs, “Palin 2012” T-shirts are already for sale.
When she returned to Alaska on Wednesday night, she was greeted at the Anchorage airport by chants of “2012! 2012!” Asked by reporters if she might run for president, Palin said, “We'll see what happens then.”