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The Past and Future Of Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin burst onto the national political scene last year as John McCain's vice-presidential candidate. But since she rose to prominence it's been a sometimes bumpy road for the Alaskan governor. In an article for Vanity Fair, Todd S. Purdum examines what went wrong with the 2008 campaign and what the future holds for the "sexiest and riskiest brand in the Republican Party."

Although McCain and his aides stood by Palin during the campaign, the honeymoon was over soon after she was picked. Aides began calling her a "diva" and a "whack job," according to the story. Some even referred to her as "Little Shop of Horrors." When asked in April who he thought were prominent leaders in the GOP, Palin failed to make McCain's cut, although he said in November that he didn't blame her for losing the election.

Palin's lack of national experience, her unnerving ambition, and signs of her erratic nature should have been spotted by McCain in Palin's vetting process, Purdum asserts.

Purdum writes that Palin regarded Alaska as the "microcosm" of the United States despite the fact that " Alaskans of every age and station, of every race and political stripe, unself-consciously refer to every other place on earth with a single word: Outside."

During the McCain campaign, the article alleges, Palin told staffers that she and her husband had not had any type of insurance during the early years of their marriage. But a quick check with Todd Palin revealed that they had catastrophic insurance, which Palin quickly said didn't count.

"This sort of slipperiness," Purdum writes, "about both what the truth was and whether the truth even mattered…persisted on questions great and small."

Yet after two hours with her, McCain had decided on his vice presidential pick.

Palin's unwillingness to prepare for interviews caused frustration within the McCain camp, according to the story.

"By late September, when the time came to coach Palin for her second major interview, this time with Katie Couric, there were severe tensions between Palin and the campaign," writes Purdum.

Even with a committed Palin and a team preparing for days, her debate with Vice President Joe Biden was only deemed "adequate."

The massive national spotlight may have cost Palin her future at home. According to the article, 80 percent of Alaskans favored Palin last year, but only 55 percent have a positive opinion of the governor after the election.

There is speculation, Purdum wrotes, that she will not run for re-election next year, opting instead to run for Senate. (A spokeswoman for Palin told Purdum that she has no intention of challenging the incumbent senator Lisa Murkowski.)

Palin is likely also considering a 2012 presidential bid.

"Palin has shown herself to have remarkable gut instincts about raw politics, and she has seen openings where others did not," writes Purdum. "And she has the good fortune to have traction within a political party that is bereft of strong leadership, and whose rank and file often demands qualities other than knowledge, experience, and an understanding that facts are, as John Adams said, stubborn things."

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