Palin and Trump: together at last.
Sarah Palin and Donald Trump met yesterday evening in Manhattan for a tête-à-tête at Trump’s apartment, followed by a family dinner in Times Square. Trump described the rendezvous as apolitical. “She didn’t ask me for that. She came up as friends,” he insisted. Still, it had all the markings of staged political spectacle. They rode in a stretch limo to eat pizza in Times Square—perhaps the most conspicuous dining experience one can attain.
And when Palin took questions from the inevitable reporters, her answers smacked of policy: “What do we have in common? Our love for this country, a desire to see our economy put back on the right track. To have a balanced trade arrangement with other countries across this world so Americans can have our jobs, our industries, our manufacturing again. And exploiting responsibly our natural resources. We can do that again if we make good decisions,” she said.
So there they were, two certifiable reality TV stars, one recently having abandoned a run at president and one widely watched for signs of resurgence after months in political remission, looking for all the world like a candidate courting a running mate.
Palin/ Trump make something of the GOP’s odd couple. Trump, scion of a developing empire, lives in a 45,000 square foot Manhattan apartment with a stretch limo at his beck and call. Palin, a self-made woman, champions her down-home wilderness roots and hunting skills. Her reality show even featured Palin, handkerchief around her forehead, rifle slung across her back like Rambo, on the hunt for caribou. A far cry from The Donald’s boardroom “You’re fired” parlance.
With the field of credible GOP candidates for 2012 still empty and Obama having already officially kicked off fundraising season, many have speculated Palin would reassert herself and take a shot at a presidential run. Her bus tour and Monday’s ride on the the back of a Harley Davidson would suggest she’s doing just that.
However, the GOP’s big challenge in 2012 is that it has two types of candidates: those with experience (Mitt Romney) and those with charisma (Sarah Palin). It even has candidates with neither (Tim Pawlenty), but it doesn’t have any candidates with both.
By casting her lot in with The Donald, Palin is likely betting that her abandoned governorship gives her the requisite resume experience, and that The Donald’s fame and charisma—as well as his leftover relevance with those still hooked on Birtherism—will give her the edge she needs. In reality, Palin is her own edge. What she needs—and needs desperately—in a running mate is experience. Unfortunately for her there appears to be a deficit of credible experience among GOP candidates.
To invoke a reality TV metaphor, the primary process is a bit like “Survivor,” which Palin acknowledged yesterday after her meeting with Trump: “We both agree that competition is good and the more folks in that primary, the better.” For Palin, however, teaming up with The Donald is probably a bad alliance.