Victor/Victoria Davis Hanson:
Conventional wisdom suggests that short-term the Palin decision was unwise— e.g., "quitter," unpredictable, sulking, etc.
In other words, it doesn't matter that much what critics say, but — should she pursue politics — only what she does with her newfound time, especially if she travels widely, studies foreign policy, and helps galvanize the party base.
In the long run, she can lecture, earn a good income through speaking, develop a coterie of advisers and supporters, take care of her family, not have the constant political warring on all flanks, and invest time in reflecting and studying issues, visit the country, meet leaders, etc. She's not looking at 2012; but in eight years by 2016 she will be far more savvy, still young, and far more experienced. It matters not all that the Left writes her off as daffy, since they were going to do that whatever she did; the key is whether she convinces conservatives in eight year of travel and reflection that she's a charismatic Margaret Thatcher type heavyweight.
Kathryn "Prime of Miss Jean" Lopez:
Rather than just be a celebrity, this could be a real opportunity for her to show us her stuff — what's important to her, what she wants people to know about her, why we should pay attention to her, why we should consider her for the highest office in the land (after already gone with the cool dude with little national electoral experience — though in his case it was little experience, period). To get people to know her for something more than being Sarah!Steve Hayward:
I wouldn't be shocked though, if Palin on the National Scene, Act II, starts out low key, with some downtime. She needs to figure out what her voice is, where and how she can shine, and, most importantly, how she and her family can survive it and even flourish in the brutal world of politics. There's no question she has a gift. Now's the time to figure out how to be prudent with it.
This could be, as Bill Kristol suggests, part of a risky but shrewd long game, not for a run in 2012, but way off in 2016 or 2020. Some folks have mentioned Nixon, rehabilitating himself in the 1960s, and skipping the 1964 election. She may have the self-awareness that she's taken big hits below the waterline, and that her best course is the patient rebuilding of her political life over a decade rather than the next two election cycles. Now she'll have the time to read and study and cultivate wider portfolio as Jonah and others have suggested. But even if she wants to run in 2012, it is certainly the case that it is hard to be a player on the national stage while being governor of Alaska since it is so remote, even in the jet age. (It take longer to get to Alaska than Europe from the east coast and midwest.) If so, she should say this openly. Make a virtue out of it.
Then, too, I wonder, and am slightly hopeful in fact, that she is indeed doing this for authentic family reasons. Political life is hell on decent family life. I have a hard time thinking of a single politician, at any level, who has a happy family life. Kids are usually a mess; non-messed up kids are the rare exception. Whenever I talk to someone about whether to run for any office, that's the first and last aspect I bring up. You shouldn't do it until your kids are grown or off to college is my opinion. This might really be a case of where she has reckoned the cost to her family of near-term political ambition, and chosen her family. Good for her if so.
Other members of the corner are less confident but still see Palin's move as advantageous to her eventually. They pay very little attention to rumors of ethics investigations and seem perfectly happy to accept any reason Palin gives them, no matter how illogical or rambling. Any leader will do for an authoritarian, and Palin can be easily replaced with somebody--anybody--else. Palin might be even more useful as a martyr than as an actual candidate. Mark Steyn:
Then suddenly you get the call from Washington. You know it'll mean Secret Service, and speechwriters, and minders vetting your wardrobe. But nobody said it would mean a mainstream network comedy host doing statutory rape gags about your 14-year old daughter. You've got a special-needs kid and a son in Iraq and a daughter who's given you your first grandchild in less than ideal circumstances. That would be enough for most of us. But the special-needs kid and the daughter and most everyone else you love are a national joke, and the PC enforcers are entirely cool with it.
Most of those who sneer at Sarah Palin have no desire to live her life. But why not try to - what's the word? - "empathize"? If you like Wasilla and hunting and snowmachining and moose stew and politics, is the last worth giving up everything else in the hopes that one day David Letterman and Maureen Dowd might decide Trig and Bristol and the rest are sufficiently non-risible to enable you to prosper in their world? And, putting aside the odds, would you really like to be the person you'd have to turn into under that scenario?
Poor, poor Palin, forced to parade her pregnant daughter and special-needs baby before the public as instant, photographic proof of her fundamentalist bona fides. How could the public do that to her? She's a victim, just as they are all victims, under constant attack by society. Helpless and weak, needing guns and police and armies to save them from the bad men who live in the shadows.
Frightened children, who would do or say anything to keep lying their comfortable, soothing lies.