On Bill O’Reilly’s show last night, Charles Krauthammer observed that it would be senseless for Sarah Palin to run for president at the moment—precisely because it could ruin her opportunity to run a successful political campaign in the future.
“I think it would make no sense for her to run,” said Krauthammer. “I think her chances of winning the nomination are small, the chances of her winning the general election are probably nil, I think for the same reasons you [O’Reilly] articulated, 60 percent negatives, that’s almost impossible to overcome.”
However, he compared her problem to the obstacles that Hillary Clinton faced earlier in her career. “[I]t isn’t as if that is forever. Hillary Clinton had very high negatives at many points in her career, but over time, they tend to soften,” Krauthammer said. “[Palin] has a future. Why would you jeopardize it by running now and losing?”
Although there are obvious differences between the ways the two were introduced to the nation and the way the media treated them, the comparison is an interesting one and Palin would be smart to follow her strategy. Clinton overcame her low negatives through hard work, both in the Senate and later at the State Department. Palin hasn’t shown that she’s willing to put in this sort of effort yet, and she hasn’t taken on any serious political role since resigning as governor of Alaska. Unlike Clinton, Palin has the charisma, intuition, and media savvy necessary to make her an extraordinary political leader. It remains to be seen, however, whether she is willing to be anything other than a celebrity politician playing to one segment of the electorate.