At the Corner, Kevin Williamson claims that
Palin would be a much better RNC chairman than presidential candidate or freelance kingmaker. She’d raise tons of money and help recruit good candidates, i.e., she’d excel at doing the things Steele should have been doing instead of appointing himself Republican pundit-at-large.
A Chairman Palin would help set the right tone for the Republican party without having to get herself entangled in the minutiae of policy-development, which has not been her forte. Sure, she’d be polarizing, but so is Barack Obama, and these are polarized times. And it’s one thing to have a polarizing party chairman, another to have a polarizing candidate.
I disagree. Here’s why. Even if you like Palin — especially if you like Palin — it should be evident that the Power of Sarah is dampened, not amplified, by the obligations of office. Public office, party office, no matter: here is a woman whose ability to influence public opinion, command fundraising, and electrify Republican politics depends almost entirely on her ability to choose independently when, how, and indeed whether to speak and act. The speeches and deeds that are the province of party chairpersons are inimical to Palin’s style and substance.
The position of RNC Chair demands a disposition and an education that Sarah Palin does not possess and does not wish to learn. This is fine — few children will ever want to be Ken Mehlman when they grow up. There is a lot to hate about life as a party chair, and the job will go down in history as a gig that only the Macker could love. But the brute reality is clear: the next RNC Chair must perform, on command and on television, the full spectrum of on-message tricks, not just ringing platitudes but, turning on a dime, an encyclopedic host of policy details. The next RNC Chair must reek of competence the way Bill Clinton reeks of confidence.
Sarah Palin would be a much better party chair than Michael Steele, in the sense that a shot of tequila would be a better meal than a Chicken McNugget. But there is no need for that desperate calculus, and there is no time for confusion. Sarah Palin belongs exactly where she is. Installing her as Chair would be a discredit to the GOP and to Palin herself, a misbegotten attempt to solve the wrong problem with the wrong person.