By Emily Geiger
Looks like Sarah Palin has herself a new gig. She’s going to be a regular commentator on Fox News and will be hosting some specials on the cable news network.
I find this to be a fascinating, and probably very good move for Palin. First, it keeps her face in front of the American public, especially the GOP base, which we all know is her bread and butter.
Second, it allows her to sharpen her extemporaneous speaking skills and practice the art of communication via television, which is all important in politics these days.
Palin would be smart to use this opportunity for those purposes. Her role model in this venture should be Mike Huckabee, her fellow Fox News politician-turned-television-personality. I was flipping through the channels a few weeks ago, and I came across Huckabee’s show. The segment he was doing was called something like, “Ask Mike Anything,” and consisted of Democratic strategists throwing everything they had at Huckabee in an effort to challenge him and trip him up in any way possible.
My reaction to that was, “Wow, that’s terrific debate prep.” If he does ever run for office again, that experience will serve him well. Now Palin will have similar opportunities to hone her skills.
Which leads to the obvious question: does Palin’s multi-year TV deal with Fox News mean she’s not running for president in 2012?
I think the answer to that question is, maybe… or maybe not. She’s not going to be hosting a regular nightly or even weekly TV show like Huckabee does. Her deal seems more similar to the arrangement Newt Gingrich has with the network. Depending on the specifics of her contract, she might be able to get out of it and run for office if she so chooses.
However, I think the timing of this agreement probably means a 2012 Palin presidential run is unlikely. If she truly were interested in running, she would be ramping up her campaign right now, not her television career.
But, 2016 or 2020 is a whole other ballgame. Spending a few years immersed in the political research and debate it takes to be a good TV analyst would serve a future candidate well.
And the free face time with a few million people every night wouldn’t hurt either.
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