By A. B. Stoddard - 07/08/09 05:05 PM EDT
But if she has it in her head that she can run for president, then Palin needs to go after the seat of Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) or Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — how else can she convince anywhere near a majority of the electorate that she is remotely prepared for the hardest job in the world? Speeches to friendly audiences won’t get her there, and neither will all the briefings under the sun about the economy and foreign policy that Palin’s GOP consiglieri have been helping to arrange.
A job in Congress couldn’t guarantee Palin’s readiness for the job of president, but it sure would help her learn what she doesn’t know now. After two and a half years as governor, Palin has quit a term that earned fair to poor reviews from Alaska Republicans and Democrats alike. Last year, when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) plucked Palin from obscurity, Palin said she accepted the challenge because she had “confidence in that readiness and that knowing you can’t blink.” If Palin wants to go all the way, she will need more than that.
Once she is freed from her gubernatorial constraints and is mulling her options, Palin should take time in between all that Tweeting to read up on some inspiring working mothers in Congress, like Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.).
Wasserman Schultz was elected to Florida’s State Legislature at age 26. Last year she tackled breast cancer in secrecy as she worked doggedly in the Democratic leadership, cared for her young children (who were unaware of her condition) and campaigned for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.
Emerson lost her husband Bill to cancer in 1996, and was elected to his seat, where she has served seven terms while raising their two daughters and stepchildren and fostering bipartisanship in the House through the Center Aisle Caucus and member retreats.
Emerson and Wasserman Schultz aren’t planning to run for president — that we know of — but they are each “the fighter” that Palin has described herself to be. More importantly, Wasserman Schultz and Emerson have put in the hard work Palin has not to become steeped in the substantive issues. These are the kind of women who might actually, finally break the glass ceiling and make it to the White House.
Palin is clearly looking to take the road less traveled. This week, she romped through the morning news shows in her waders, leaving the door wide open for a presidential run in interviews she conducted while fishing with her family. She even posited that as president she would be protected from the kind of frivolous legal challenges that caused her to quit her job early.
“I think on a national level, your department of law there in the White House would look at some of the things that we’ve been charged with and automatically throw them out,” Palin said with trademark confidence.
If Palin indeed has presidential plans, it sounds like it’s time to get cracking. We’re going to need a little more “confidence in that readiness.”
Stoddard is an associate editor of The Hill.