Sarah Palin in Demand
Sarah Palin is a big star now.
Oprah wants her, and so do Letterman and Leno. Fresh from her political defeat, Sarah Palin is juggling offers to write books, appear in films and sit on dozens of interview couches at a rate that would be astonishing for most Hollywood stars, let alone a first-term governor.
The failed Republican vice presidential candidate crunched state budget numbers this week in her 17th-floor office as tumbling oil prices hit Alaska’s revenues. Meanwhile, her staff fielded television requests seeking the 44-year-old Palin for late-night banter and Sunday morning Washington policy. Agents, including those from the William Morris Agency, have come knocking. There’s even been an offer to host a TV show.
“Tomorrow, Governor Palin could do an interview with any news media on the planet,” said her spokesman, Bill McAllister. “Tomorrow, she could probably sign any one of a dozen book deals. She could start talking to people about a documentary or a movie on her life. That’s the level we are at here.” “Barbara Walters called me. George Stephanopoulos called me,” McAllister said. “I’ve had multiple conversations with producers for Oprah, Letterman, Leno and ‘The Daily Show.'”
Palin has sent unmistakable signals she is open to running for president in 2012, but to advance her political ambitions she must stay in the public eye in the lower 48 states. As with any celebrity, there is the risk of overexposure. At the same time, she’ll be under pressure to attend to governing her home state, which is thousands of miles from the rest of the nation.
“She has to deal with the perception that she bobbled her debut,” said Claremont McKenna College political scientist John Pitney. “She needs to stay home for a while. If she wants a future in national politics, her No. 1 job is doing a good job as governor.”
I’m inclined to agree. She’s already got name recognition in spades; the problem is the perception that she’s not ready for prime time. Of course, it’s going to be mighty hard to “do a good job” at this point, given that the job has become tremendously harder now that oil is back to $50 a barrel.