My mother, normally sound of mind, waylaid me about a month back, while I was enjoying dinner at her house with my wife and daughter.
"Sarah Palin just might come back," she said, or something to that effect.
I nearly choked on my corned beef.
I made sure we were talking about the same Sarah Palin. It was confirmed.
It wasn't April Fool's Day. A "Candid Camera" crew didn't burst in. Mom wasn't, that I knew of, running a fever.
Mom's no more Republican than I am, which is about as un-Republican as the Clintons. So this wasn't some partisan pipe dream. She just thinks that ole Sarah has a legitimate chance to rise from the ashes of her failed VP bid in 2008 and land on top of the GOP ticket in 2012.
Well, I tell ya---it would be a first.
In U.S. political history, failed VP nominees don't end up being president material. The closest you can come is Bob Dole, who ran with Jerry Ford in 1976 and, 20 years later, was ill-equipped to run against Bill Clinton's re-election campaign.
Key words: 20, years, and later.
To come back four years after losing at the bottom of the ticket, only to emerge as the party nominee, is pretty much unprecedented. I don't count Walter Mondale/1980-84 because Walter was a sitting VP who lost with Jimmy Carter in 1980 before turning around and being stomped by Ronald Reagan four years later.
But Sarah Palin is sure acting and talking like someone who's got her four eyes on the 2012 prize.
She won't win---I was very adamant about that with dear old mom at dinner---because she's too polarizing and too intellectually challenged. But Mom's point---at least I think it was---was that Sarah is vivacious, determined, and indeed well-liked by a fairly decent sampling of the population.
And she's been pretty much at the forefront when it comes to the political right criticizing President Obama.
Palin penned a rather formidable---the cynic in me wonders if it was ghostwritten---plea to Obama to boycott Copenhagen's Climate Change Conference because of controversy surrounding some hacked e-mails, which she alleges compromises the credibility of scientists who researched global warming. I was actually impressed with how she presented her argument, which you can read here.
But something still tells me that if the Republicans are going to put all of their eggs into the Sarah Palin basket, then it will be a catastrophic move for a party already looked at as being too rigid and conservative and polarizing.
Palin's aspirations seem presidential, though. I give her credit for one thing: she's trying to portray herself as more than just "that nutty woman from Alaska." Palin is trying to broaden her brush and her mind. She's giving herself a crash course on international politics and foreign policy. At home, Palin is quick to move to the front of the line when it comes to domestic bones of contention.
The woman is trying, I'll give her that.
But the odds---and history---are against her. Of course, that never stopped anyone before, did it?
Like Eugene McCarthy once said: "It's a whole lot easier to run for president than it is to stop."