Conservative NY Times columnist Ross Douthat writes that both Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin chose celebrity over proving serious political intentions after rising to prominence in campaign 2008. To their political detriment.
For Palin, the serious path required at least serving out her term as governor before returning to the national stage. For Huckabee, it could have involved anything from starting a think tank to running for the Senate in 2010. For both, it would have meant wedding their political identity to ideas as well as attitudes.
So far, they’ve chosen celebrity instead. Huckabee spent the last year hamming it up on a weekly talk show, and the last month hawking a book of inspirational Christmas stories. As for Palin — well, you probably know what she’s been up to lately.
Nobody should begrudge them their choices. Think tanks are a snooze; Senate races are a grind. Signing autographs for your adoring fans is more fun than rounding up budget votes in Juneau.
But they were the wrong moves if either wanted to become president someday. Huckabee’s gabfest is a weekly reaffirmation of the rap that he’s too lightweight for the Oval Office. Palin has sealed her identity as a culture-war lightning rod: