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Column: Palin's Plotting To Stay In Political Limelight

This story was written by Chelsea Fiddyment,


A few hotly-contested races have yet to be resolved following Election Day, including, perhaps surprisingly, Alaska's Senate showdown between Ted Stevens and Mark Begich. This may not sound like a big deal to some, but if you were waiting with baited breath for Sarah Palin to crawl back under the rock of obscurity from whence she came, listen up: Don't sigh in relief just yet.

Despite all statements to the contrary prior to her selection as McCain's VP, Palin may not be interested in just serving as the governor of Alaska anymore. The GOP found exactly what it wanted in Palin: a devout social conservative with an externally female appearance (I cannot believe that Palin represents or fights for women in this country). Though her handlers in this campaign found her perhaps a little too outwardly caustic or unwilling to stick to campaign rhetoric, there is plenty of time to reprogram her before she is put back into action in a presidential race. Now that they have her, the Republicans are not going to let her go.

In a radio interview with Rush Limbaugh, Palin said in response to a statement about her heavy open criticism of the Obama campaign, "I've got nothing to lose in this." And she's right. She has been catapulted onto the national stage even though McCain lost, and after giving her a taste of fame, the party seems comfortable with continuing to entertain her delusions of grandeur. Tina Fey's "Palin 2012" jokes may not be so far from the truth.

But you have to learn to walk before you can run, right? Well, that's where Palin's friend Ted Stevens comes in.

Stevens, who just barely led Alaska's polls Wednesday, is in a little bit of legal trouble. In October, the senator was convicted of seven federal corruption charges because he filed false statements on Senate ethics reforms. If he wins, he would be the first convicted felon to be re-elected to the U.S. Senate. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has already quashed this would-be first, saying that it would never be allowed to begin with, but also pressing the reality of Stevens's having to face an ethics committee investigation followed by expulsion, regardless of his ability to appeal.

So, should he retain his Senate seat, one of two things will happen: Stevens can step down from his position, or he will be expelled from it. And it's a realistic possibility that Sarah Palin will be waiting in the wings to appoint herself in his place. After all, ethics are not an obstacle for her, as she has already demonstrated. Maybe she and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich can appoint themselves together, in solidarity.

Even if she's not willing to weather the legal storm that would surely follow a self-selection to the Senate, Palin could easily use her newfound popularity and $150,000 wardrobe to campaign her way into the spot during a special election. I wonder if she would get taxpayers to foot the bill for flying her kids back and forth to D.C. with her.

Besides, now that she's taken the time to publicly shame her pregnant daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law by pushing them into the spotlight with her, who could possibly want to hear the end of it (hint: every discerning person in the United States)?

So, are we looking at an extended stay in the national political scene forPalin? You betcha, and likely not just for 2012, despite what SNL has to say about it. Assuming Obama runs for re-election in four years, Palin stands a better chance if she decides to run in eight, especially if she "mavericks" her way into Congress. By 2018, voters will probably consider Hillary Clinton too old for the Oval Office in the same way they responded to John McCain's substantial age. Can we count on some up-and-coming, liberal-minded female titan to stand up and truly represent not only women, bt the entirety of our nation? If so, she better start now.

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