The Washington Post

Sarah Palin crashes Iowa

There’s this great scene in the camp classic “Valley of the Dolls.” Neely O’Hara, a cantankerous Broadway and Hollywood star whose past antics led to fame that sucks the oxygen out of a room, arrives uninvited at a party being thrown for legendary Broadway star Helen Lawson. “Who invited her,” asks a gentleman next to Lawson. “Nobody,” says another as the crowd applauds O’Hara’s unexpected arrival. Take a look. While the entire clip is a hoot, you only need to watch the first minute.

This scene came to mind when I read that Sarah Palin was taking her tour bus out of mothballs to roll up on the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines this week, much to the consternation of the Republican candidates for president hoping to make a splash in Saturday’s straw poll, no doubt. Think of the four in that “Valley of the Dolls” scene as Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Ron Paul.

Palin told her supporters via e-mail that her “One Nation Tour” bus would descend upon the Hawkeye State. The part of her missive that elicited side-eyes from me was this. “The heartland is perfect territory for more of the One Nation Tour as we put forth efforts to revitalize the fundamental restoration of America by highlighting our nation’s heart, history, and founding principles,” Palin wrote.

What, pray tell, are “efforts to revitalize the fundamental restoration of America”? Did I somehow miss her detailed plan to pay off the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt and create jobs for the growing ranks of the unemployed? Americans want solutions to the worst economy in their lifetimes. They are hungry for leaders who have the courage to present realistic plans to turn things around. But if some of those Americans are looking to Palin for said solutions, they are bound to starve.

Remember, no matter what she says or does, Palin is not running for president. The half-term governor of Alaska parlayed her 2008 vice presidential nomination into a bankroll-busting career as a best-selling author and reality-television star who is accountable to no one but herself for what she says and does. As a star, Palin is terrific. She’s a natural talent. And she is well aware of and comfortable in exercising her ability to steal other people’s spotlight. That she would give up that kind of power for the confines of the campaign trail is unfathomable.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.


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